Here’s this week’s Media Mix, which is about that infamous Tokyo MXTV program, “News Joshi,” and its Jan. 2 segment slamming the anti-helipad protests in Okinawa. At the end of the piece I mentioned Yukihiro Hasegawa, the emcee of the show who is also a deputy editorial writer at the liberal-leaning Tokyo Shimbun, even though Hasegawa’s own sentiments tend to scan rightward. At the time I wrote the column, several media commentators had complained of Hasegawa’s complicity in the program’s pushing of false information, including two people writing in Tokyo Shimbun itself. (Jiro Yamaguchi’s column didn’t mention Hasegawa by name, but it was obvious who he was talking about.) On Friday, the newspaper itself ran an editorial despairing of Hasegawa’s participation in the broadcast, but as of this morning Hasegawa himself has still not responded to any of the complaints.
It’s hard to understand why a journalist as experienced as Hasegawa would lend his name to something as obviously flawed as “News Joshi,” regardless of his political and ideological preferences, but an article in the online journal Litera–which, by the way, was the first media to go in depth on the “News Joshi” segment–helps shed some light on Hasegawa’s career choices. Apparently, his background is in financial writing, and ten years ago or so he became quite tight with bureaucrats in the Ministry of Finance. His main position has always been pro-consumption tax. He wrote a famous article advocating it be set at 25 percent, which made him even more popular in the MoF, which, in turn, made him popular among LDP stalwarts in general. His gig at Tokyo Shimbun, which wasn’t always the beacon of leftist rigor it is now, was always that–a gig, meaning he went in to do his work, mainly putting into written form the opinions of others, and he did it well enough that he was able to keep it as a job. And in Japanese media, as in most Japanese corporate situations, title and position are everything, and Hasegawa has been able to spin that title into other lucrative endeavors, including “News Joshi,” which gives him an opportunity to show off his face and his biting wit on the air. In Litera’s view, “News Joshi” is not a betrayal of his professional principles because he doesn’t really have any. He wants to be famous and will achieve notoriety by any means necessary.