さらに自殺？ 責任？ もう意味が分からない。海外では記者の事前登録制によって保安性は高められているうえ、政府首脳などVIPの記者会見への出席はベテラン記者に限られている。どこの誰が自殺するのかぜひとも教えて欲しい。
New Leaders in Japan Seek to End Cozy Ties to Press Clubshttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/21/world/asia/21japan.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=Furuta&st=cse
Article Tools Sponsored By
By MARTIN FACKLER
Published: November 20, 2009
TOKYO ― Twice a week, Japan’s new minister of financial services is forced to hold two back-to-back news conferences: one for the members of Japan’s exclusive press clubs, the second for other journalists.
He does so because the press club members refused his proposal to open the conferences to nonmembers. Even though the agency provides the rooms for the meetings, the press club demanded that the minister, Shizuka Kamei, hold the second conference in a different room.
Japan’s new government is challenging one of the nation’s most powerful interest groups, the press clubs, a century-old, cartel-like arrangement in which reporters from major news media outlets are stationed inside government offices and enjoy close, constant access to officials. The system has long been criticized as antidemocratic by both foreign and Japanese analysts, who charge that it has produced a relatively spineless press that feels more accountable to its official sources than to the public. In their apparent reluctance to criticize the government, the critics say, the news media fail to serve as an effective check on authority.
The assault on the exclusive access the press clubs’ members have long enjoyed is part of the new government’s drive to end the news media’s cozy ties with authorities, and particularly with Tokyo’s powerful central ministries. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, whose Democratic Party won a landmark election victory in late August over the long-governing Liberal Democratic Party, promises a “grand cleanup of postwar governance.”
Takaaki Hattori, a professor of media studies at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, said: “The postwar system was all about mutual back-scratching among insiders, including the big media. The change of government could finally bring real journalism, and real democracy.”
But the changes will not come without a fight, as the standoff at the Financial Services Agency shows.
“Japan’s news media are closed,” Mr. Kamei complained recently to the outside journalists. “They think they are the only real journalists, but they are wrong.”
On a recent morning, the contrast between the two news conferences was stark. At the first, for press club members, about 45 mostly male reporters in suits sat in rows of desks like students at a lecture, raising their hands to ask detailed questions about financial policy. Mr. Kamei, who sat on a podium in front of a blue-gray curtain, gave curt answers and even reprimanded reporters for their coverage.
The second was held immediately afterward in Mr. Kamei’s wood-paneled office, where he chatted at length and joked while lounging in a big leather chair. An assistant provided coffee to about 25 Japanese and foreign journalists, including several women and tie-less men, some carrying bicycle helmets. They circled around the minister to ask broad questions on issues from Japan’s aging society to postal reform to his clash with the establishment news media.
While the first news conference was held behind closed doors, the second was posted live on a Web site. To show his displeasure with having to hold two meetings, Mr. Kamei sometimes cuts the first news conference short to spend more time at the second.
Yasumi Iwakami, a freelance magazine and online writer, said Mr. Kamei had to move cautiously for fear of provoking negative coverage from the major news media, which Mr. Iwakami half-jokingly called the fourth side of postwar Japan’s “iron triangle” of Liberal Democrats, bureaucrats and big corporations.
So far, he said, the major news outlets have devoted little or no coverage to the press club fight. “This is Japan’s glasnost,” Mr. Iwakami said, referring to the lifting of censorship under the reform policies of Mikhail S. Gorbachev in the final years of the Soviet Union.
During his career, Mr. Iwakami, 50, said he had repeatedly been blocked from entering news conferences by press club journalists.
He said the two groups of journalists rarely met at the Financial Services Agency, which holds the back-to-back news conferences on different floors. But during an emergency news conference a few weeks ago that both sides attended, he said the press club journalists ignored the outsiders, refusing to answer their greetings or even look at them.
The agency’s press club is based in the nearby Finance Ministry, though it also has its own room of cubicles in the agency. On a recent afternoon, reporters napped on threadbare couches or typed stories at narrow rows of wooden desks while a young female employee of the ministry copied documents for them.
Shinji Furuta, a reporter for the daily newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, who recently held the rotating chief secretary position of the club, said that it was not as closed as it seemed. Even before the change in government, he said, it allowed nonmembers to attend news conferences as observers on a case-by-case basis, and even allowed them to ask questions, something other press clubs still prevent such observers from doing.
He also noted that the club had opened up slightly in the past decade by allowing the big American and British financial news agencies to join. But he said the press club wanted to ensure that people posing as journalists did not get in and disrupt proceedings.
“What if someone tried to commit suicide or burn themselves to death at a press conference? Who would take responsibility for that?” Mr. Furuta asked.
Tetsuo Jimbo, the founder of an online media company, Video News Network, praised the new government’s efforts. But he said most news conferences remained closed to outside journalists like himself. He noted that the Democrats had opened the proceedings at only four ministries and major agencies, and had failed to fulfill a campaign promise to open the prime minister’s news conferences.
“The Democrats are fighting vested interests that have been in place since the time of their grandfathers,” Mr. Jimbo said.
Still, there is a widespread feeling here that the press clubs must eventually change. Many younger Japanese journalists at major newspapers say they are unhappy with the system. Government officials also said that the old arrangements would be hard to maintain, since Japan finally appeared to be entering an era when power regularly changes hands between political parties.
“Opening the press conferences was easier than we thought,” said Motoyuki Yufu, director of public relations at the Financial Services Agency. “At some point, this had to happen.”