[From April Issue 2010]
Aides to DPJ Secretary-General OZAWA Ichiro were arrested for their parts in the fund management scandal that was widely reported throughout Japan’s mass media. Hiragana Times CIA interviewed Japan expert Victor TRUMAN, author of “Who Has the Real Power in Japan?” about the true nature of what happened.
CIA: What do you think about the opinion polls in which more than 70% of Japanese agree that Mr. Ozawa should resign as the Secretary-General?
Author: Mr. Ozawa was not indicted, his secretaries denied the charges against them and the real trial hasn’t even started yet. However, a citizens’ group did bring the case to the attention of the prosecutor’s office, alleging his involvement. And because the public learned its information through the media and are not fully aware of the truth, it is very dangerous for them to hold such views.
CIA: Are you suggesting the media’s information was unreliable?
Author: The mass media reported on the prosecutor’s intentions. It was impossible for the media to know beforehand the exact date of Mr. Ozawa’s hearing, and that he would not be indicted, without leaked information from the prosecutors. I feel that it’s unfair to survey public opinion just after the incident occurred, especially accompanied by inflammative reporting, and then believe that it is people’s true opinion. This is a kind of public lynching without hard evidence.
CIA: So you are saying the mass media’s reports are unfair?
Author: The “mass media” is a really “private media” after all. They surely report with a bias. It will become more obvious when you see what they write about Toyota’s recall. There will hardly be any negative press about Toyota, which is one of their biggest advertisers.
CIA: Why do you think the prosecutor and the mass media are targeting Mr. Ozawa?
Author: The JDP won the last election touting administrative reform, so I guess they were afraid of losing some power. Regular mass media is also losing its influence in the Internet age. Last year Internet-based ad revenue surpassed newspaper ad revenues. So maybe condemning powerful politicians is their best option in maintaining power.
CIA: The mass media often say Mr. Ozawa’s resignation will depend on public opinion, what do you think?
Author: Most people are non-political and are easily influenced by media reports, acting just like herded sheep. Remember, Japanese people once believed the media’s biased reports in support of war. Where did they get their information from? From what real evidence did people support the war? In fact, people, who themselves are influenced by the media, can change the course of a country, affecting the lives of all its citizens.
One Comment from CIA
The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is trying hard to recover its favorable public opinion. Mr. Ozawa, why don’t you sell all your property that was mentioned by the media? Prime Minister Hatoyama, why don’t you get a bigger allowance from your super-rich mother? Then, the DPJ could use that extra money to buy advertisements in the mass media, just like Toyota, and reintroduce their clean political policies. The money-loving media will most certainly change their attitude because after all, both the values of politicians and the media are the same – Money Talks!
* CIA（Cynically Insulting Agency ／皮肉冗談局）