Friday, November 11, 2011

Rumble at the Yomiuri Giants and Most (But Definitely Not All) of the Media Goes Bananas

…It’s about time, so why not reboot here…

You know that anyone who's looking for proof of Japanese media bias need only look at the Yomiuri sports pages and how they basically serve as the baseball powerhouse Yomiuri Giants’ fanzine. (Actually, I welcome media bias because it takes less time to go through them when you more or less know where they are coming from. They also give you media-driven baselines from which to make guesses at how public opinion will be trending, particularly on those rare moments—say, Kim Jong Il's admissions regarding the abductees—when Yomiuri and Asahi angles converge.) Well today, there was an incredible diatribe released by the representative/GM of the Yomiuri Giants (a former Yomiuri reporter proving that not all amakudari’s are necessarily handpuppets), who, if his lengthy statement (full text starts here is to be believed, apparently refused a bribe from powermonger and all-around meddler Tsuneo Watanabe in the form of more power and a promise of eventual elevation to CEO in exchange for going along with Watanabe's lies—not the rep/GMs words, but there’s no other way to put it—around his attempt to overturn Giants personnel decisions to which he had already given consent.

The late afternoon-early evening news broadcasts all appear to be featuring the story prominently—all, that is, except Nippon TV. I’ll give you one guess which media group owns Nippon TV.

But what am I doing watching TV when the rest of the Japanese world is working? Actually, this is relevant to my line of work, as it should spell the end of Watanabe's role as political fixer—anything fixer, really. If Ichiro Ozawa had held any hope that Watanabe could reprise anything like his 2007 role as go-between for an aborted deal between Ozawa and then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda for a Grand Coalition, it’s gone now. This diminishes the LDP's old guard as well, since Ozawa was their most familiar and likeminded interlocutor. An era is passing, and this incident is part of it.

Let’s see what if literally anything tomorrow’s Yomiuri has to say about this.

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