In an effort to inform the international media on Japan’s stance on its territorial disputes with China and Korea, the Japanese Foreign Ministry is planning to invite more than 100 U.S. and European journalists stationed in China and South Korea to visit Japan early next year. The ministry says that it will be taking the journalists to Okinawa Prefecture, which controls and administers the Senkaku Islands – disputed by China and Taiwan. It will also invite the media to Shimane Prefecture, which is claiming the Korean-controlled Dokdo Islands as the Takeshima Islands.
It seems that the government feels a need to counter China’s aggressive actions in the region, resulting in many U.S. and European news organizations relocating to China from Japan. The planned 10-day junket trips will also have a time when reporters would be able to interview Japanese experts and their takes on the disputes, as well as local people who live in the area where the disputes are happening. The ministry earmarked 200 million yen (nearly US$2 million) for the project in the extra budget for fiscal 2013.
“We will be able to see a high investment effect through this project by winning U.S. and European reporters over to our side,” a ministry official said. This is a bold move by the Japanese Foreign Ministry, and we agree that there is value in informing the international press about the merits of Japan’s claims. However, we doubt that they will be turned to “Japan’s side” just because of these trips. There still needs to be wise action coming from the central government regarding these issues, including coming to the negotiation table with strong arguments – not just prideful statements. The movement of the press in the region is displayed in these numbers – as in 1997, there were 295 foreign media outfits who had branch offices in Tokyo, compared to the 209 foreign media companies in Japan this year. Beijing has seen a jump in the foreign media companies in the city this year, hosting 385 branch offices compared to the 210 in 2004.
[via Global Post]