Adults in the Student Suicide Case

“Don’t Defend The Local Government, Merely Because It’s An Important Customer”(21)

2023.09.18 13:39 Nanami Nakagawa

In his book “The Sanctuary of Bullying,” Kyodo News reporter Yoichi Ishikawa points out that Nagasaki Prefecture is a major advertiser for the Nagasaki Shimbun. Regarding the Nagasaki Shimbun, which defends the prefecture, he wrote, “their readers may think, ‘they’re reading the sponsor’s face.”

For Kyodo News, which has set up an examination committee, this indication is ”defamation of the Nagasaki Shimbun” and is an important material in pursuing Ishikawa.

However, as Nagasaki Shimbun subscribers for 25 years, Hayato Fukuura’s mother, Saori, and father, Daisuke, feel that the Nagasaki Shimbun surmises the prefecture’s benefits. They stated their reasoning in the written opinion they provided to the examination committee.

Nagasaki Shimbun Headquaters (Photo by Nanami Nakagawa on June 9, 2023)

“We may as well get a general grasp of the information that local authorities are trying to spread by reading the Nagasaki Shimbun.”

What Ishikawa indicated in his book is the fact that the Nagasaki Shimbun receives stable income from the prefecture every year. Ishikawa noted that there were about 900 payment records from Nagasaki Prefecture to the Nagasaki Shimbun in fiscal year of 2021, and wrote:

“I don’t know why the Nagasaki Shimbun took the attitude of following the prefecture about Hayato’s suicide 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 an interest, mass media companies may try to ignore it without hesitation.”

Saori and Daisuke thought, “That’s exactly right,” as readers who have subscribed to the Nagasaki Shimbun for 25 years. Saori wrote this in her opinion letter.

I still wonder why the Nagasaki Shimbun was the only media outlet that dared to publish an article defending the prefecture and whether there was a need to keep pace with the prefecture.


Local government advertisements, such as those from the prefecture and cities, are frequently featured in the Nagasaki Shimbun. As readers of the Nagasaki Shimbun, we may as well get a general grasp of the information that local authorities in the prefecture are trying to spread by reading the Nagasaki Shimbun.


It goes without saying that advertising costs money, even for local governments, and anyone can easily understand that the Nagasaki Shimbun has large sums of money in transactions with prefectures and municipalities.


As it is written in the book, the amount spent by the prefecture on companies, schools, and other organizations is public money, therefore, the general public can easily look this up.  Furthermore, given that the governor holds regular press conferences, I believe that the local administration provides a wealth of information to the media. Of course, there are paid ones, such as introducing projects promoted by the local government (for example, tourism campaigns and U-turn promotion for students). The local government is a significant client for the Nagasaki Shimbun.

The reason to avoid the Nagasaki Shimbun

Saori also touched on the circumstances in 2019 when she decided to depend on the media about Hayato’s case. Saori and Daisuke were paying attention to advertisements on the Nagasaki Shimbun.

Come to think of it, this wasn’t the first time I felt distrustful of the Nagasaki Shimbun. In February 2019, my son’s suicide due to bullying was reported for the first time, and this was because we, the bereaved family, provided information to the Nishinippon Shimbun.


There was a reason why we deliberately avoided the local Nagasaki newspaper. At that time, as readers of the Nagasaki Shimbun, we frequently noticed large advertisements for Kaisei Gakuen High School in the paper. This was because there was a fear that even if we provided information to the Nagasaki Shimbun, since Kaisei Gakuen was a customer, information that was disadvantageous to the customer might be suppressed.


(partially omitted)


Thus, we decided to contact the Nishinippon Shimbun, which seemed to have no connection to Kaisei.

“One person’s life is at stake.”

Saori personally reviewed the history of payments from the prefecture to the Nagasaki Shimbun after the Nagasaki Shimbun published an article protecting the prefecture. It was just as Ishikawa had mentioned.

“From Mr. Ishikawa’s book, I learned that the prefecture is a large customer of the Nagasaki Shimbun. As expected, the prefecture and the Nagasaki Shimbun have a great relationship.”

In her opinion letter, Saori questioned the role of the Nagasaki Shimbun as a news organization.

I don’t think it’s acceptable for the press to defend the stance of a local government in any way, merely because it’s an important customer. Moreover, this is especially true in cases where the importance of one person’s life is at stake.


Unfortunately, the response taken by the Nagasaki Shimbun felt to us, the bereaved family, as nothing more than an attempt to defend the prefecture’s stance.

To be continued.

(Originally published in Japanese on June 15, 2023. Translation by Mana Shibata.)

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