Commercial mass media's role in describing Koizumi as champion of reform

Commercial mass media in the recent Upper House election played a significant role in creating a "whirlwind" in favor of Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro as a champion of reform. The media campaign also contributed to creating an illusion that he is not responsible for the failure of Liberal Democratic Party politics. Following are excerpts from an Akahata interview with Sekiguchi Takao, Akahata editor in chief, which was reported on August 21:

From the LDP presidential election to the House of Councilors election, front pages of major newspapers were filled with reports favorable to Koizumi.

The day after the LDP presidential election, former vice prime minister Gotoda Masaharu in a meeting with executives of major newspapers advised them to rethink their Koizumi reports. "I am concerned about some media organizations helping rightist moves," he added.

But Gotoda's advice apparently didn't work and the media's "craze" for Koizumi continued.

Newspapers and TV were instrumental during election period, I think, for providing the people with rich material on which to make their judgment on how the "Koizumi reform" would affect the economy and their livelihood. No proof was available that such efforts were made by the media. They instead just parrotted what Koizumi promised to U.S. President George W. Bush on writing off bad loans held by Japan's major banks.

Media coverage of the Upper House election was devoted to urging the people to choose between "reform" and an "economic recovery," thus helping to conceal the real aims of the "Koizumi reform," which is to achieve a society thoroughly governed by the "law of the jungle."

Only Akahata pointed out that small- and medium-sized enterprises, which account for 99 percent of Japan's corporations, will be hit hardest. (end)