Nov 12, 2017
Some major concerns over the level of press freedom in Japan have emerged in recent years. In fact, Reporters Without Borders listed Japan as 72nd in the world (last among G-7 members) in its World Press Freedom Index.
In some ways, I agree with the criticisms of Japanese press, but I've also seen firsthand how the Japanese government openly affords press information that the U.S. government would never give away without at least a FOIA request. Whatever the case may be, the relationship between the government and the press is different from other leading nations in the world, so I suppose it would be easy to argue one way or the other.
Me? I'm going to stay out of the fray and enjoy things like this:
The "Bunker Shot Incident" (banka shotto jiken) was the name the media gave to the moment when Prime Minister Abe misjudged his exit from the bunker during his round of golf with President Trump last week. He misjudged it so badly, in fact, that he rolled back into the sand (for some of you Star Wars geeks out there, I had a flashback to Return of the Jedi!). Fortunately for Abe, I guess, President Trump was ahead and didn't notice. Unfortunately, there was at least one camera rolling.
Is this newsworthy? Not really. Did it really need to be termed an "incident?" Absolutely not. Did the Japanese media bring it to my attention? Yes, and I love them for it!
I'll leave the debates over press freedom to others. In the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy the fact that Japanese media is free to hype up such an embarrassing (and hilarious) moment for a world leader.
Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.
Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).