[From May Issue 2013]
Except for major events, the Japanese media doesn’t report much foreign news. That being said, there are almost daily reports about the USA, China and Korea – countries that have a great deal of influence on Japanese affairs. In the case of North Korea – which by developing nuclear power and launching missiles, in addition to having kidnapped Japanese citizens, poses a threat to Japan – any time there is any kind of incident, it’s given coverage.
The Japanese media only reports about Russia when a new development in territorial disputes takes place. This phenomenon not only occurs in Japan, but is typical of the media in other nations too. The media is apt to only cover news that directly affects its audience.
Headline domestic news is generally about politics and economics, but, unless it’s election time, people do not show much interest. Looking at it from a different point of view, it might be said that though Japan has its problems, it’s mostly politically stable and serious crises do not happen on a daily basis. However, in recent years, social problems such as the increase of temporary labor, the pension crisis, the declining birthrate and the aging population, are reported on daily.
Since Japan has a low crime rate compared to other countries, murder cases and other crimes receive a lot of coverage. Recently, the problem of bullying is often covered. Sports reports are popular, and, as well as being in the news, there are also sports programs on TV. There are many specialist sports newspapers.
There are many entertainment programs on TV including comedy, gourmet, travel and music programs. Nowadays these are an indispensable part of the information the media provides.
Japanese are, for the most part, racially homogenous, so media reports are only in Japanese (some broadcasts are available in English and there are some English newspapers). Therefore newspapers cover stories nationwide and key TV stations report news from all parts of Japan. As a result, almost all Japanese people share the same information.
Japan has five national newspapers: Asahi, Yomiuri, Mainichi, Sankei and Nikkei. Nikkei specializes in economic news. There are three types of TV broadcasting: terrestrial digital broadcasting, satellite broadcasting and paid satellite broadcasting. There are several private major TV stations besides the nationalized NHK station.
NHK TV has four channels: terrestrial, terrestrial education, BS and BS premium. Major TV stations have ties with newspapers (Nippon TV with Yomiuri, TBS with Mainichi, Fuji TV with Sankei, TV Asahi with Asahi and TV Tokyo with Nikkei).
Because it is a medium that can be enjoyed while working, radio stations are still supported by listeners, such as drivers. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, its value has been reassessed.