No. 1’s primary focus should be on stories that directly concern and are of interest to journalists – we’re a press club, after all.The article shows how much ill-informed foreign correspondents in Japan are. The article describes the fuss on the WaiWai column as follows.
For example, in this month’s issue, we’re running a fascinating story by Gavin Blair about the Byzantine machinations surrounding the Mainichi Shimbun’s closure of the WaiWai Web site.
By June, Mainichi had issued an apology, removed all the archived stories, asked search engines to do the same, and promised to punish those involved.I don't think this is a correct description on the fuss about the WaiWai column. The initial apology from Mainichi issued on June 25 did not mention that the WaiWai column contained wrong information, although it was what many Japanese demanded. The apology from Mainichi stated,
Still, the protesters were not satisfied, bombarding companies that advertised with the Mainichi with demands to withdraw their sponsorship and calling for further punishment of its editors and Connell.
Some of the articles in the "WaiWai" column carried in the Mainichi Daily News, the English Web site of the Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd., were inappropriate and made many people uncomfortable. (...)What many Japanese demanded of Mainichi was to clarify to the foreign readers that the WaiWai column contained wrong information about Japan, as I wrote previously. However, Mainichi's initial apology only stated that the WaiWai column contained "inappropriate" articles. It did not explain how the articles were "inappropriate". In addition, the apology could be taken by foreign readers as a statement suggesting that the articles contained correct information on Japanese society and social behavior, since it stated: "WaiWai was meant to introduce aspects of Japanese society and social behavior by quoting magazines and other print media published in Japan". The apology as a whole suggested that the only reason that Mainichi deleted the articles was that they were "vulgar". This apology indicated that Mainichi did not understand what in the WaiWai column made many Japanese upset. In addition, although the Mainichi announced punitive measures for people who had been responsible for the publication of the WaiWai articles, the Digital Media Division President was promoted the head of the Mainichi Shimbun Corporation on June 25, despite the fact that he had been the most responsible person for the WaiWai issue. Thus, the fuss continued until Mainichi issued more comprehensive apology on July 20.
WaiWai was meant to introduce aspects of Japanese society and social behavior by quoting magazines and other print media published in Japan. In late May, we received criticism saying the content was vulgar. The Mainichi Daily News Editorial Department deemed that some of the articles had inappropriate content and deleted those articles.
After delivering misinformation on the fuss, the article in the Number 1 Shimbun suddenly changes the topic to a minor group who made a demonstration in front of the Mainichi's headquarters.
The Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai - Citizens' Group against Special Rights for Zainichi (Japan-born Koreans) – organized a demonstration in front of the Mainichi's headquarters on July 2 after WaiWai had been purged and punishments announced.Several days before the demonstration, the Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (Zaitokukai) announced on various boards at 2-channel that they will demonstrate in front of the Mainichi's headquarters. However, majority of 2-channelers who had been criticizing Mainichi responded to the call by warning other readers that attending the demonstration by the Zaitokukai would be perceived by other people as if the anti-Mainichi movement was organized by the particular organization. Many 2-channelers advised other readers not to attend the demonstration. Thus the demonstration on July 2 was a very small one. The attempt to attribute the anti-WaiWai movement to that minor group is just a delusive attempt to create the "Byzantine machinations" from nothing.
The author of the article seems to be fond of the WaiWai column featuring a tale of fishermen. He wrote,
It would be a shame to say goodbye to WaiWai without recalling at least one of its infamous stories in a little more detail. One, which combined the elements of humor, debauchery and a total lack of credibility, was the tale of fishermen having their way with various creatures of the ocean. Originally told by comedian Taro Makeburu, a former fisherman, to a Jitsuwa Knuckles columnist, it contained some of the following pearls: (...)A small tidbit. The comedian mentioned in this article was not Taro Makeburu (負古 太郎) but Furutaro Make (負 古太郎). Furutaro Make was a member of the comedian group, Takeshi Gundan, lead by Takeshi Kitano. His name is a parody of a Japanese actor Shintaro Katsu (勝 新太郎). The kanji for "winning (katsu, 勝)" and "new (shin, 新)" in the Shintaro Katsu's name is changed into kanji of opposite meanings, "losing (make, 負)" and "old (furu, 古)", respectively, in the Make Furutaro's name. Just by seeing his name in the beginning of that article, Japanese can know that a bunch of jokes will follow in the article, but the authors of the WaiWai column and the Foreign Correspondents' Club's article had neither knowledge on the Takeshi Gundan's comedian nor ablility to investigate that background.
This WaiWai article fortunately contained a joke about moray that even foregin people could doubt the credibility of the article. Apparently that is the reason the Foreign Correspondents' Club's article mentioned that particular WaiWai article. However, can readers with little knowledge on Japan and Japanese people judge that the story on the bestiality restaurant is a fiction when he/she read it? The Foreign Correspondents' Club's article that intentionally avoided to mention problematic articles looks to be a desperate attempt to cover up the harmful nature of the WaiWai column.
As a minor note, the Foreign Correspondents' Club's article provided in the end a link to transcripts of WaiWai articles that is violating Japanese copyright laws; The Foreign Correspondents' Club, as an organization, seems to be trying to encourage and promote the violation of the laws. It's sad that this kind of people are working as foreign correspondents in this country.