“Anonymous Examination Committee” (11)
2023.07.29 11:42 Nanami Nakagawa
On December 6, 2022, Kyodo News launched an examination committee for the work of reporter Yoichi Ishikawa. On that day, Chiba Bureau Chief Ichiro Masamura sent an email to Ishikawa.
Ishikawa’s book was published by Bungeishunju on November 10th. After interviewing Ishikawa twice, Kyodo News established an examination committee in less than a month.
What is Kyodo News rushing for? What exactly is an examination committee? Ishikawa didn’t quite understand.
From left: Chiba Bureau Chief Ichiro Masamura, General Affairs Bureau Chief Takehiko Egashira, Legal and Intellectual Property Office Chief Masao Ishigame = From Kyodo News Company Newsletter “Kyodo News No.863” (September 25, 2020) obtained by Tansa
Who is on this examination committee?
In an email to Ishikawa, Masamura explained the examination committee as follows:
“Internal regulations stipulate that the examination committee will investigate the progress of the problem and the facts and review the responsibility and the conditions that should be considered.”
But this is not a sufficient explanation. It is unclear what the “problems” will be and what the results of the examination will be used for.
What is suspicious in the first place is that even the person in charge and the members of the examination committee are not even indicated.
Ishikawa emailed Masamura and asked him what article in the internal regulations was the basis for the establishment of the examination committee and the names and titles of the person in charge of the committee and all the members of the committee.
The examination committee responded, with Masamura as the point of contact. It was written that its formation was based on “Article 72 of the Employment Regulations for Employees and the Regulations of the Examination Committee,” yet the chairman’s and all committee members’ names and positions were replied as follows:
“We don’t disclose them as usual.”
How is it possible to treat Ishikawa, the subject of the examination, as if he were a suspect, while the interrogating side would not reveal their names? Ishikawa looked up the regulations.
The regulations stated the members of a committee chaired by the general affairs director.
Director of General Affairs
Head of the concerned Bureau/Center
Deputy Director of the concerned Bureau/Center
Human Resources Manager
Person responsible for the matter
According to the regulations, the chairman of the committee would be Takehiko Egashira, Chief of the General Affairs Bureau.
This would include Ichiro Masamura, the head of the Chiba Bureau, and Masao Ishigame, the head of the Legal and Intellectual Property Office who was in charge of the second hearing.
“I want to create a workplace where young people can have dreams.”
What kind of person is the executive of Kyodo News, who remains anonymous and uses the authority of the organization?
Based on the Kyodo News company newsletter I obtained, I researched Egashira, head of the General Affairs Bureau, Masamura, head of the Chiba Bureau, and Ishigame, head of the Legal and Intellectual Property Office.
Egashira, chief of the General Affairs Bureau, worked as the director of Science and the head of the Publication Department, then at the General Affairs Department and became the manager of the Nagoya branch. In the September 25, 2020 issue of the company newsletter, he explained the importance of member companies such as local newspapers when he assumed the position of Nagoya branch manager.
When I was told about this transfer, I felt uneasy that my sense of being strongly aware of the news gathering and editing sites, member companies, and subscribing companies was weakening. I have not been in the bureau office for 13 years. This is going to be the first time I work for the Nagoya bureau office as well as the jurisdiction. It’s not enough to say, “Brace yourself.”
When he left Nagoya and took up the post of Chief of General Affairs, he emphasized his closeness with member companies (company newsletter April 25, 2022 issue).
When I was unable to dispose of household belongings while away from home, an employee of a member company took over and saved me. It will be used by that employee’s child who will start working for the first time and begin living alone. There is good circulation here. It was an unexpected move for me, but moving in the spring isn’t so bad either.
Ichiro Masamura joined Kyodo News in 1992. He was transferred from another company. After reaching the retirement age, he was appointed as the current Chiba Bureau Chief. There was an episode when he decided to join Kyodo News in the business newsletter (December 25, 2020 issue) that he wrote after he retired. He appeared to have been a dedicated reporter when he was younger.
In the spring of 1992, when I was in my ninth year as a newspaper reporter, I took an entrance exam for Kyodo News. Interview by several managers. The interviewer sitting in the middle crossed his legs and asked a question with a condescending expression. “So what did you write?” It hit me. Reporters with arrogant attitudes tend to do poorly. Is this person really the manager? “Not much,” I replied, muttering to myself.
I called my former boss who took care of me during my time at the branch office and consulted with him. My ex-boss said, “Go to Kyodo. Try it.” I made up my mind with those words. The final interview was with executives and directors. I copied a few articles I had written, handed them out to interviewers, and tried my best to appeal to them with a smile. The HR manager sitting on the far right was disgusted.
28 years later. There were many times when I asked myself whether I should have changed jobs. But it’s not the company’s fault that things don’t go as planned. If anything, it is simply because I lack ability and effort. I would like to thank Kyodo News for teaching me this lesson.
Masao Ishigame joined the company in 1984. His first post was in Fukui. After that, he was in charge of prosecution in the Social Affairs Department, and became the head of the Sendai branch. In September 2021, in the company newsletter (September 24, 2021 issue) that he wrote when he reached retirement age, he looked back on his fulfilling journalistic life and said that he would entrust the next to a younger generation.
I could still hear the announcement in the station, “Fukui, Fukui” when I arrived at Fukui Station, where I was first assigned. My Journalist life began from here where there was no acquaintance.
I worked in the Social Affairs Department for seven years in the court’s tiny, windowless press room. When I was in charge of the prosecution, I was pressed by the Tokyo Sagawa Express case and the corruption of general contractors and often lost the lead to other reporters. Nonetheless, I believe such events helped me to build determination.
I was busy with several transfers, but I was fortunate to have wonderful coworkers and an enjoyable workplace culture. If you asked me if I’d be a reporter again, I’d respond, “Probably by process of elimination.” For the time being, I’d like to keep working on creating a workplace where young people may pursue their dreams.
To be continued.
(Originally published in Japanese on June 1, 2023. Translation by Mana Shibata.)Adults in the Student Suicide Case: All articles