Monday, June 9, 2008

What if the Australian prime minister came and nobody noticed?

Is there a news blackout on Prime Minister Rudd's visit to Japan?

He made a speech on climate change in Kyoto and visited Hiroshima on Monday, and neither Yomiuri nor Asahi have articles online about his activities.

It's possible that they have articles in the print edition that aren't online, but if that's the case, why did neither newspaper feel that it was worth posting articles online?

Australians can talk about the dangers of neglecting uneasy Japan, but perhaps they should be more worried about being neglected by Japan. Or perhaps it's silly to have a discussion about who's neglecting whom and recognize that over the long term Australia and Japan will have a sound relationship on the basis of deepening their bilateral ties and moderating the behavior of the US and China, the region's first-tier powers.


Scott said...

Well, we're not the USA....

A Google News search does turn up a few articles in both publications:

Google News: ラッド + source: 朝日新聞

Google News: ラッド + source: 読売新聞

Janne Morén said...

One possible reason: these kind of visits invariably largely generate celebrity fluff pieces, and fluff pieces about people that don't generally appeal to the kind of readers that like such pieces: "visiting politician tours cultural site; small girl offers flower bouquet". The meaty news, about treaties, agreements and so on, tend to come before or after the actual visit.

So it is quite possible that these pieces generate very few hits online. And few hits means less advertising income (both directly and from their effect on the overall site ranking). This kind of reporting may in other words not pay its own way online and so newspaper sites avoid posting them if something better is available.

Anonymous said...

What if Korea went crazy and you didn't notice? We all know Rudd's in the bag for the Chinese. You simply must make some sort of comment about the recent, hysterical, and still growing crisis regarding beef imports. It's become at least a regional issue with implications and similarities to Japan's situation quite clear. Have the Japanese press not discussed it yet?

Tobias Harris said...


The point I was making was addressed to the Australian press, which is obsessed with this debate over whether Rudd snubbed the Japanese, whether the Japanese actually felt snubbed, etc.

Korea might be next door, but it might as well be on another planet as far as my expertise is concerned. I have no particular insight to offer into what's happening there.

As for the regional implications, Lee will likely find his hands tied henceforth — if he survives, that is — which is unfortunate given that his ascension presented a real opportunity for a rapprochement between Tokyo and Seoul.


Methinks that you attribute too much rationality to the newspaper companies in the choices they make about online content.

I wasn't looking for substantial articles, just a mention, a puff piece that could easily have been written before he arrived.

Janne Morén said...

My thought was that the online sites - as opposed to the print edition - does offer near-realtime, article-level feedback on what triggers the fancy of its readers - including aggregators like Google news. This feedback has already been credited with the decline of witty-but-opaque headlines in favour of a more straight-laced and informative style. I would be very surprised if the choice of subject mixes was not being similarly tuned by the editors today.

Janne Morén said...

Addendum: I took a look, and as it turns out, Yomiuri English edition does have a piece on it:

About as informative as could be expected; again, I'm not surprised if other papers decide to forgo it.

Anonymous said...

The news of Rudd's press conference was aired on NHK news at 23:30 and on NHK BS news at O:00AM and 1:00AM.

Part of the reason for this treatment is

1)There were other big news this week including killing in Akihabara,Kitajima's SPEEDO swim wear fiasco and censure motion in diet.

2)The tour started from Hiroshima and not Tokyo.Crucial mistakes.

Usually when foreign leader meets Japanese politicians it will be covered by the politics guys,however Rudd started his tour by making speeches in Kyoto and political department became reluctant to send their people after Rudd in the times of political upheaval in the diet.So all the news were covered by the local bureau people,thus become the news of lower priority in the prime time news,office politics,that is.But unavoidable.

Some J-medias send Sydney based correspondents tour along with Rudd.But Sydney is no place for heavy weight reporters to be even in the International news department. of which itself is a light weight department to the editors.

3)Rudd's agenda in Japan was more domestic oritented.(Kyoto Protocol,FTA,New Asian order)
He talked what his people wanted to hear and not what Japanese wanted.

Neil Duckett said...

I think between the Japanese prime ministers shaky position and the Akihabara incident on the weekend there hasn't been much room for it ..... that and no-one here's really interested in him ... or the iPhone, where's all the press on that?!