Voices
in
Japan

poll

The U.S. Embassy is reportedly reluctant to give NHK an interview with U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy because of controversial remarks about Japanese wartime history made by NHK governor Naoki Hyaku

40 Comments

The U.S. Embassy is reportedly reluctant to give NHK an interview with U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy because of controversial remarks about Japanese wartime history made by NHK governor Naoki Hyakuta. Do you agree with the embassy's stance?

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
Login to comment

Abe's appointment of Hyakuta -- a writer of fiction who is totally unqualified for such a position -- and his right-wing fellow travelers is just the first in a number of steps planned to transform NHK into a state propaganda organ, like the Domei news agency of yore. And then on top of that, they have the effrontery to charge people money for their own brainwashing??? Disgusting and dismaying. Kennedy should not just exclude them from interviews, but from press conferences as well.

27 ( +30 / -3 )

There can be no trust that they wouldn't distort her comments in edit, so she's doing the smart thing.

20 ( +24 / -4 )

You have revisionist, far right insane nationalist crazies filling up the NHK post.

Here's some of the things that they've said

1) denied the Nanking massacre and comfort women and said that the US just made that up to excuse the atomic bombings.

2) glorified a right wing nationalist who committed suicide to protest, and said the the Emperor is actually a living god.

3) "if the government says "right", then we can't say "left"."

So not only yes, but HELL YES.

19 ( +28 / -9 )

I would look at this from the prospective of protecting US interests. Kennedy is a political lightweight who was assigned a seemingly cushy position she wasn't qualified for from her political cronies in the White House. She's already shown she's rather incapable of tact, and allowing an interview with NHK will probably put her in a position to bobble some questions she's not ready to answer. I think this is, more than anything, a great excuse to keep Kennedy out of spotlight.

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

Since NHK has proven recently that it is a propaganda mechanism, I think she had better not fall into their trap. Perhaps a more respected journalistic body in Japan or internationally would be a better forum.

19 ( +22 / -3 )

Reluctance is not enough. The U.S. should put NHK on a blacklist.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

What is her job?

If she is serious about her job of presenting US positions to the Japanese, NHK is the channel.

The interviews with commercial TV stations like NTV, TBS, Fuji and Asahi would quickly change into gossip.

-17 ( +4 / -20 )

Ridiculous. If she is of the view that Japan and its institutions are lurching to the right or in denial about the past she should make a formal complaint or get out, not refuse an interview with the national broafdcaster because of the views expressed by some of its senior management.

-13 ( +5 / -17 )

I think it's smart, although I can understand both sides of this one. International diplomacy is a tricky issue that requires a delicate balance. Japan is an important ally for the U.S., and they count on them for support in matters of greater importance than this that they don't want to risk. So, how to make a statement that you think your partner is WAY off on certain issues? I think this is a fair idea.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

NHK is descending into the rightwing sewers. That's no place for an ambassador of a democratic country.

16 ( +22 / -6 )

Ridiculous. If she is of the view that Japan and its institutions are lurching to the right or in denial about the past she should make a formal complaint or get out, not refuse an interview with the national broadcaster because of the views expressed by some of its senior management.

Quite. An act of cowardice by the representative of the most powerful nation on earth.

-10 ( +3 / -14 )

Denying the sex slave camps, and denying the Nanking massacre is similar to denying the Holocaust. Would those calling Kennedy/ US cowardly say the same if the US ambassador refused to interview at a German natnl broadcaster that was denying the holocaust?

I also agree that there is no trust how NHK will portray/ edit the prposed interview. Further, Asia is in a delicate situation all around, and the US has to take into account other countries' sensibilities.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Well a big HELL yes!

The yanks are sending a message to abe etc that they need to get their %%$# together, if this keeps up I expect more of this from US, Japan needs to pay attention as they are currently doing a great deal of damage to their country mORE than the usual amount

13 ( +14 / -1 )

The best way to handle the NHK problem is to dump the TV and stop paying the license fee.

To be honest, 90% of Japanese TV is a load of crap.

NHK is only marginally better.

Why bother to watch it?

The "news" is depressing and the "experts" are do-less librarians masquerading as "men of learning."

14 ( +15 / -1 )

You can say what you want about Kennedy but she's right to not talk to NHK. There is no point in giving them the credibility. And who knows how they would edit an interview to twist it to support their twisted POV.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Yes... but not for what NHK peeps said or not. For that, people should stop paying the NHK tax. I don't see the need for Embassy staff to be on a TV show, on any channel. Their job is to give press confs when something happens and they have to communicate officially. Actually if she goes to political shows or such, that becomes intervention in Japanese national politics. And if she goes to some entertainment show, that's ridiculous.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ridiculous. If she is of the view that Japan and its institutions are lurching to the right or in denial about the past she should make a formal complaint or get out, not refuse an interview with the national broafdcaster because of the views expressed by some of its senior management.

Disagree completely. Since she and the emabassy have no way of knowing how her remarks will be edited, she is better off staying away from NHK.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

It would seem a good opportunity to give the stupid rightists an ear full of what they deserve. But maybe Washington doesn't think she can handle it, considering some of her recent light weight comments, and will only say more embarrassing stuff. It is better for her to stay in a hole and protect the mystique.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm glad the embassy will have nothing to do with NHK, hopefully for a while. These right-wing nut jobs who deny Nanjin and think that the sex slaves were not forced need to be put out to pasture. The problem is they are powerful and still in high positions and can at least indirectly influence the rest of the ignorant public, including students who know little or nothing about this period of history. It's no wonder China and Korea are up in arms over this. If this were Germans denying the Halocaust they would not only lose their jobs but be criminally prosecuted.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"U.S. Embassy is reportedly reluctant to give NHK an interview with U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy""

The author of this statement insinuates that Ambassador Kennedy needs "permission" from the Embassy to give interviews with the Japanese press. In fact the Ambassador is at liberty to speak with any news agency. The issue here is that NHK believes it is entitled to an interview – and its feathers are ruffled by rejection. What disturbs NHK bureaucrats and appointees most is the prospect of being upstaged if anyone else publishes an interview before they do.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

NHK is now the Fox news of Japan. Totally worthless. Abe abused the NHK his first go round at PM with his self-serving NK kidnapping propaganda. What has come of that? Nothing. Kennedy is right to not have anything to do with NHK. It is a total waste of time. She can access Japanese media in other ways without having to deal with right wing nuts. We do not have a TV and as a result I am better informed that anyone listening to or watching NHK.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

horizon360Feb. 18, 2014 - 09:39AM JST

The issue here is that NHK believes it is entitled to an interview

How did you get this idea?

How is she going to win this game? The tenure of an NHK board member is 3 years. The tenure of US ambassador to Japan is 3 to 4 years. Is she going to give up TV interviews during her tenure? By opening this policy to public, she has put herself in a difficult position. She could have done so secretly.

jerseyboyFeb. 18, 2014 - 04:24AM JST

Since she and the emabassy have no way of knowing how her remarks will be edited

It is too naive to believe interviewees have no say in editing.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

If the President can do interviews with OUR right-wing propaganda mouthpiece, I see no reason why our ambassador can't do one with Japan's.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I like various programs of NHK and I don't care whether Americans give an interview or not.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Have any of these denials of war crimes, etc actually been transmitted by NHK, or is it just what's been reported elsewhere? Are the presenters wearing kimonos or closed collar jackets with white gloves and peaked caps, espousing the rhetoric of the black vans?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

It is too naive to believe interviewees have no say in editing.

Nonsense. Celebs maybe, U.S. political appointees, no. That would be stepping all over "freedom of the press", and she and the U.S. government would be crucified for that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are other news organizations in Japan, there is no need to interact with NHK.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Zurch

You obviously have not watched much FOX...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

NHK - propoganda machine to the masses. Can't believe I pay for this sh*t.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There's one unsettling aspect of NHK's existance that I just can't get past. If it's "Japanese law" to pay for NHK service, then why do they have a bunch of nutjobs running around collecting money.

If you have a federal law to collect money for public broadcasting, then why not make it what it should be: a tax.

That way you don't pay some jerk to go around begging for money in every prefecture of Japan. The cost savings of just including it in income tax would be insane. I feel like a lot of the 24,000 yen they want per year for satellite customers goes to the guy who has to go to each house 3 or more times to try to get you to pay them.

It's like a welfare loophole that allows annoying people to get a job inspecting homes for televisions. I don't trust the process one bet.... and that's before we even start talking about broadcasting

3 ( +4 / -1 )

NHK should be sold to Rupert Murdoch. Then it will turn huge profits and viewers will be off the hook as far as any obligation to pass the hat and contribute to its revenues.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Do you agree with the embassy's stance?"

The U.S. Embassy has no official verifiable "stance" regarding any news organizations seeking an interview with Ambassador Kennedy. Rumors to the contrary are just speculation grounded in hearsay. Diplomatic history is replete with cases of interviews granted at the pleasure of an ambassador rather than in direct response to demands by prominent media. Of course this frequently insults the pride of establishment players who are left to vent editorially.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Dont waste her time with a ridiculous interview from a joke of an organization

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The U.S. Embassy is reportedly reluctant to give NHK an interview with U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy because of controversial remarks about Japanese wartime history made by NHK governor Naoki Hyakuta. Do you agree with the embassy's stance?

Reportedly? So is this their true position? Or is there another reason? Should I agree/disagree on reportedly?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I agree with the action for two reasons. First, it sends a message whch the Japanese can understand, second, Caroline Kennedy has almost no professional or diplomatic experience, so she is not likely to be able to answer any substantive questions.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Whatever happened to engagement? You have an opportunity to make a point directly to the Japanese people about the idiot's remarks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@John Occupythemoon Daly Those were my thoughts exactly. Ambassador Kennedy has no government experience (she does have a smidgen of political experience—helping out in Obama's election campaign). She has said she wants to get into politics and, referring to her lack of experience, has said "there are many ways into public life and public service" (like being appointed because you helped in the election campaign of the sitting president—not an unusual qualification for people being appointed to ambassadorships). She was approved by unanimous consent of the US senate. Even given the political nature of such assignments, and hers in particular, it says something about the confidence that senators had in approving her that there was not even one dissent.

However, by her own admission she is green and referring to her lack of experience has said she, "will have to work twice as hard as anyone else." She has, however, given early hints that she may be prone to tripping over her tongue. She has tweeted her personal views on the killing of dolphins in Taiji which would have been fine if she were still writing for Rolling Stone, but as ambassador one of the things she's going to have to "work twice as hard as anyone else" at is keeping her personal views under her hat and if the US has policy on a particular issue such as dolphin killing to make such views known through the proper channels.

So, it seems reasonable that the embassy would think it wise keep the ambassador on a short leash. Ambassador Kennedy had said at her confirmation that she would focus on trade, military ties, and student exchange. Good places to start (hmm... student exchange?). No telling at this point what sort of ambassador she will make, but easy as she goes seems a good policy at this point.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They should give the interview and allow her to give an honest answer. If the Japanese find those answers offensive she can always claim to be speaking as an 'individual'. Just as when politicians visit Yasukuni as 'individuals' and deny comfort women as 'individuals' it's apparently the preferred get-out-of-jail-free card in Japan. She should use it to her advantage...as an 'individual'.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Throughout history Japan has a habit of trying to bury it's head in the sand. There are still many people in a position of importance in terms of Japan's future that wish to continue this trend. This is not just something that older generations indulge in. In fact many people from such age groups are the ones who are astonished at the gullibility of the younger generations who are perpetuating this unfortunate aspect of Japanese culture. Pull your rubber necks out of the sand, acknowledge, accept and move forward. Do your country a favour instead of proving to the rest of the world that it will never come to terms with reality.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"because of controversial remarks about Japanese wartime history made by NHK governor Naoki Hyakuta"???!

Isn't the US Embassy questioning a series of blunders and outrageous censorship at NHK?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites