Mass demonstrations against China’s efforts to annex Japanese-held territory and the government’s anaemic response to their threats have been completely ignored by traditional media even as they set the Japanese Internet afire – the only video to surface has been from protest organisers and attendees themselves, and can be inspected below.
The government and opposition political parties apparently consider kowtowing to China a more pressing priority than avoiding feeding the support of Japan’s more xenophobic political elements by making them the only available outlet for the majority’s evident disgust for the appeasement of China – a dubious decision if ever there were one.
Meanwhile the Japanese media still have not made a single report on the protests – apparently reporting the labour union march of the week in Paris is more important (with over 30 articles) than a (by Japanese standards) major series of marches in the nation’s capital and major cities, which has currently generated 2 Japanese language articles, ironically enough by CNN and AFP.
The silence has highlighted a increasingly conspicuous gap between Japan’s old media, TV and newspapers which are tightly controlled by big business and enjoy an extremely cosy relationship with the political establishment through the “press club” system, and its new media, concentrated on the likes of 2ch, Mixi, NicoNico and a variety of independent or international online news sources.
With its hold over these traditional media, and by extension public opinion, rapidly being eroded in favour of online media, Japan’s political class may yet be in for a rude awakening – although with the nation’s huge voting block of baby-boomers and the elderly still captivated by old media, and with online political campaigning effectively banned by a series of election campaign regulations slanted in favour of traditional media, it may yet be able to hold on for some time.