Stable Income From The Prefecture To Nagasaki Shimbun (7)
2023.07.11 11:39 Nanami Nakagawa
Nagasaki Shimbun reporter Koichi Doshita, who was in charge of Nagasaki prefectural government, revealed in an article about Governor Hodo Nakamura’s retirement that he wanted to “support” the Governor.
In fact, Doshita wrote an article defending the prefecture in its response to the bullying-suicide case of Hayato Fukuura. At the governor’s press conference, he intimidated Kyodo News reporter Yoichi Ishikawa, who asked about his views as the head of the prefecture, saying, “It will be a problem for the press club.”
However, Doshita was not the only one who was close to the prefecture. The Nagasaki Shimbun itself had a strong stake in the prefecture.
This is what Ishikawa pointed out in the book published by Bungeishunju, “The Sanctuary of Bullying: A Complete Record of Parents Who Challenged the Darkness of Catholic School.”
On November 14, 2022, Shuhei Masunaga, the head of legal affairs at Kyodo News, who was conducting a hearing on Ishikawa, found it problematic that his book pointed out the relationship between the prefecture and the Nagasaki Shimbun.
“Because they are receiving a large amount of money”
In his book, Ishikawa noted that there were about 900 payment histories from Nagasaki Prefecture to the Nagasaki Shimbun in the fiscal year of 2021, and wrote:
“I don’t know why the Nagasaki Shimbun took the attitude of following the prefecture about Hayato’s case. However, the general public doesn’t know the details of the internal workings of the newspaper. Because they are receiving a large amount of money, if they don’t pursue scandals with a stern attitude, their readers may think, ‘They’re reading the sponsor’s face.’ If this is the case, the Nagasaki Shimbun may disappoint its readers even more.”
“If the content criticizes a party with interest, mass media companies may try to ignore it without hesitation.”
Masunaga put these descriptions on the table during the hearing with Ishikawa.
“You wrote, ‘If the content criticizes a party with interest, mass media companies may try to ignore it.’ Direct expressions are very cleverly avoided, but when you read this sentence, it seems to say, ‘Because the Nagasaki Shimbun receives payment from the prefecture, certain things may not be in the paper to protect the prefecture, and that’s why everyone should know it.”
Although Masunaga tries to blame Ishikawa, he understands the gist of what Ishikawa wrote in the book.
It is true that the Nagasaki Shimbun did not write an article criticizing the prefecture’s response to Hayato’s bullying suicide incident. In his book, Ishikawa pointed out that there was a stake in the prefecture behind this.
Advertising fee from prefecture exceeds 240 million yen in 6 years
Ishikawa’s book only mentions the number of payments made to the Nagasaki Shimbun by the prefecture in fiscal 2021. What about the previous years? I looked up the advertisement fees from 2017 to 2022, the year Hayato committed suicide.
FY2017 59 payments 30,533,666 yen
FY2018 48 payments 25,541,194 yen
FY2019 52 payments 23,431,405 yen
FY2020 68 payments 58,958,641 yen
FY2021 71 payments 57,552,476 yen
FY2022 66 payments 46,447,000 yen
The total for the six years is 364 payments worth 242,457,389 yen. From advertising expenses alone, the Nagasaki Shimbun earns a steady income from the prefecture every year. It was mainly paid to publicize the policies of the prefecture.
The management of the Nagasaki Shimbun, like newspapers in other prefectures, is in a difficult situation. Stable income from the prefecture is valuable. How to build a good relationship with the prefecture must be an important issue. Hidehiko Tokunaga, the president of the Nagasaki Shimbun, emphasizes on his company’s website in his president’s greeting that he has launched an information paper “NR” on universities, companies, and job hunting in cooperation with the prefecture.
“Rural areas are becoming more and more impoverished due to population decline. Nagasaki Prefecture in particular is experiencing a severe outflow of population, and there are many issues such as securing work places and maintaining the local community. In September 2017, in cooperation with Nagasaki Prefecture and others, we launched an information magazine, ‘NR,’ which provides information on attractive universities, junior colleges, companies, etc. NR received the highest award in the new issue category of the “Nippon Town Magazine Free Paper Award” for its unprecedented efforts to deliver to every student in high school, technical college, university, and junior college in the prefecture. We will continue to develop and provide attractive content that meets the needs of the times and continue our efforts as a core company in Nagasaki Prefecture’s information industry.”
Nagasaki Shimbun President Hidehiko Tokunaga (From the Nagasaki Shimbun official website)
To be continued.
(Originally published in Japanese on May 26, 2023. Translation by Mana Shibata.)Adults in the Student Suicide Case: All articles