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The fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is wasting taxpayer money to contain the plague of foreign criticism is indicative of a government that has handled this more as a PR crisis than a pandemic.

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Jeff Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University Japan. An emergency economic relief package unveiled last week earmarked $22 million for the Japanese foreign ministry “to dispel negative perceptions of Japan related to infectious diseases,” and to strengthen communications about the situation in Japan — over the Internet and through its embassies.

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It sounds positively Trumpian.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Obviously,Jeff doesn’t read the comments section on JT.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The question is: How many distressed families in this pandemic, or even going back to the ongoing Fukushima fallout, could have benefitted from this money?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

One word. Tohoku.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Let's see how much of a PR crisis this is when COVID-19 really descends on this country.

Abe and friends think those shoddy, crappy little masks they're touting are going to save 'em?

Invalid CSRF

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And Japan still treats it as a PR operation and will continue to do so. All the while Japanese media continue to sing praise everyday for the government response and how great the leaders are and how well Japan is doing. No wonder so few people abide by the stay at home “urgings”

Almost everything the Japanese government report are meant to mislead the public. The information they post on MHLW website in Japanese for Japanese people contains misleading information such as the disease cannot be spread by asymptomatic people up to last week.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

22 million dollars. Let that sink in.

How many hospitals, beds, protective gowns, masks, and respirator machines can you buy and make with that?

Public relations?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

How many distressed families ...could have benefitted from this money?

Nearly 2,200 crisis-hit households (around 8,000 people) could have received over a million yen over a year, according to simple mathematics, enough to cover basic living expenses: rent/mortgage, food, energy. For shorter periods, many, many more working folks could be helped. Do you think the money is better spent on trying to improve Abe's public image instead?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A bit more context:

As Japan's coronavirus infections surge and its health care system stands on the brink of collapse, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has an added concern: its image. An emergency economic relief package unveiled last week earmarked $22 million for the foreign ministry "to dispel negative perceptions of Japan related to infectious diseases," and to strengthen communications about the situation in Japan - over the Internet and through its embassies. Artificial intelligence will also be harnessed to monitor social media and see what is being said about Japan abroad. This will give the Foreign Ministry a chance to respond to "wrong information".

"The fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is wasting taxpayer money to contain the plague of foreign criticism is indicative of a government that has handled this more as a PR crisis than a pandemic," said Jeff Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University Japan.

"It should be using AI to better deal with the outbreak than massaging foreign perceptions," he added. "Effort should focus on containing the outbreak, treating patients and helping all those whose lives have been derailed by this pandemic rather than going to war with Japan's critics."

The money would be better spent on testing or helping the people and businesses affected by COVID-19.

https://www.lmtonline.com/news/article/Japan-sets-aside-22-million-to-buff-government-s-15202218.php

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Bang on. Of course, it'll just be dismissed because the person making the statement is not Japanese. $22M simply for propaganda.... wow. How are they going to dispel THAT fact?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japan dispelling negative comments towards itself. It's unheard of! The world perpetuates this golden view of Japan, why? Because negative comments are erased.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Orwellian.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

That is Japan and it's far from surprising as they handle all things of that nature like a PR crisis. This country's politicians, talking-head celebrities, and TV shows are OBSESSED with making sure the world knows they are "great," never cause trouble, are just full of 'omotenashi', etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh Jeff......you are being way too kind here.......the way Japan has handled this is borderline criminal; including the practice of splitting families if God forbid someone needs to leave Japan due to a sick or dying relative overseas. Let's face it....as foreign residents of Japan we all now fully understand what the Japanese government is doing and how little they care for Japanese citizens and even less for us. They want "highly skilled foreign immigrants"...it will never happen, ever.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Since there is no link here, 緊急経済対策(令和2年度補正予算外務省所管分)【計1,028億円】is the document in question and can be found under https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/100042203.pdf

The part interesting for the quote:

我が国の状況や取組に関する情報発信の拡充【24億円】

感染症を巡るネガティブな対日認識を払拭するため,外務本省及び在外公館において,SNS等インターネットを通じ,我が国の状況や取組に係る情報発信を拡充。

A Japanese journalist actually mentioned an article from the Washington Post on all this in a tweet and got called an agitator, liar and more. There were also several people who dismissed everything since it was a foreign newspaper, some claiming that the foreign press is just making it up and more...

Hopefully it's just the nettouyoku again. I stopped counting after about 45 such tweets... Shooting the messenger or dismissing unwanted news is just as bad as believing everything you read.

Are any newspapers in Japan actually reporting on this? I wonder how people would react to such reports then.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kingston is right

1 ( +1 / -0 )

government has handled this more as a PR crisis than a pandemic.

right or wrong its populistic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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