On Sunday, April 8, 2017 I went to the local Family Mart convenience store in the morning to buy my daily English-language newspaper. I was angry to discover The Japan News as an insert to my Sunday paper.
The Japan News is one of the other English-language dailies in Japan. It is a re-branded version of what used to be called The Daily Yomiuri, the English-language edition of the Japanese Yomiuri shimbun. The Yomiuri shimbun-Daily Yomiuri-Japan News is an extremely conservative, almost neo-fascist paper as opposed to The Japan Times which habitually (with many more foreign, syndicated news stories) is more liberal. Reading the two papers is like peas and carrots. It's an uncomfortable revelation to see how two different newspapers report the same stories so differently.
So, I was surprised and a little pissed off this morning to find The Japan News included as a supplement with my Japan Times On Sunday. Now, the JT has measurably gone downhill in recent years. It adopted a tabloid format for its Sunday paper, which is really just a re-hash of the week's news; it cut its features and shortened its length significantly; it reduced the frequency of letters-to-the-editor as well as restricted the scope of published letters; it adopted the International New York Times (not The New York Times, but the re-branded International Herald-Tribune) as a regular weekday supplement. I don't enjoy the JT as I used to. Of course, the print edition is dying and will be scrapped sooner rather than later, and then I will have little recourse by the ridiculously shoddy reportage on the internet for my news. Our world is not improving as it advances.
The Japan News is very easy to read because it boasts an intermediate English level, easy for Japanese English readers to absorb. (English-speaking Japanese, not foreigners, are the majority customers of all the English media in Japan.) I'm pissed off that this crap is now being supplied to me without warning and without consent. I mean, if I want to read the JN I will buy it myself. It's inclusion as a JT supplement on Sundays is just another symptom of the decline of the JT, the decline of journalism and the decline of intelligence in society.
The insert did not appear in the newspaper one week later, on Sunday, April 15th, nor on Sunday 22nd, and again not on Sunday 29th. I don’t know what to make of it. Was it a one-time thing? Was the insert on Sunday 8th a mistake? Patience and more observation might be revealing.