Posts Tagged ‘The New York Times’

Japan-related Links of the Week: 24 April 2010

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Posted 24 Apr 2010 — by Andy in Tokyo
Category Japan, Japanese Politics, Links of the Week, News, Only in Japan, Tokyo

A run-down of some of the best Japan-related stories from this week:

After years of economic stagnation and widening income disparities, this once proudly egalitarian nation is belatedly waking up to the fact that it has a large and growing number of poor people.

Japan Tries to Face Up to Growing Poverty Problem
The New York Times (Martin Fackler)

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I was making the same amount of money as assembly line workers at auto factories.

Charm offensive: the hostess bites back
The Independent (David McNeill and Chie Matsumoto)

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Now stripped of the interest groups that supported it for so long, the LDP has failed to reinvent itself for the age of floating voters and is rapidly becoming a loose alliance of koenkai. As more politicians leave the party, it becomes harder to imagine that the LDP will ever adapt.

A New Dawn?
Observing Japan (Tobias Harris)

The Nikkei turns its back on the internet

Posted 13 Apr 2010 — by Andy in Tokyo
Category News, Only in Japan, Technology, Tokyo

There’s been much talk recently about newspaper websites setting up paywalls: both the New York Times and the Times (of London) will soon follow in the footsteps of the Wall Street Journal by charging users for access to most of their articles. Here in Japan, meanwhile, the Nikkei has gone one better (or should I say worse?): linking to any of its articles – and even its home page – now requires a written application.

The newspaper, with an estimated daily circulation of 3.1 million, is fiercely protective of its intellectual property. Subscribers currently pay a monthly fee of JPY4,000 (approx. £28) for online access, which is a mere JPY383 cheaper than a subscription to the print edition.

The Nikkei said that it implemented the new policy to prevent links coming from “inappropriate” sites, and to stop non-subscribers from viewing articles.

Have you ever heard of a website requiring a written application for linking to its home page? No, I didn’t think so, and for good reason: it’s a completely mental idea. I, for one, am intrigued to know what they mean by inappropriate sites. Perhaps someone at JapaneseMILFs.com has been trying to attract a more up-market audience by adding a bit of business news to its front page (probably titled “Stocks and C…”).

As for the non-subscribers viewing articles issue, well, I’ve never heard of such a problem before. If a non-subscriber clicks on a link to an article behind a paywall, then surely he/she simply gets directed to an “access denied” page?

In all honesty, though, this kind of backward-looking approach to putting content online isn’t surprising. The Japanese newspaper industry doesn’t really know what to do about the internet. There is a tendency to emphasise the negatives of going online (the loss of traditional print subscriptions and advertising revenue) over the positives (capturing a moneyed youth audience that gets most of its news from mobile phones and TV). This in turn influences how much money newspapers allocate to their online divisions. Some Japanese newspaper websites, for example, are appallingly designed; in fact they often look like they were last spruced-up in the late 1990s.

Until Japanese newspapers start to see serious drops in their (currently massive) circulation figures and profit margins, they will want to stay within the warm, womb-like confines of traditional paper-and-presses for as long as humanly possible.