Yoichi Shimatsu: Japanese News Media Pierce Government Censorship

One of the most disgusting features of our "Western news media" is the FACT that they are ready, willing, and able to work for the government, and not for us, their unfortunate citizens. The Japanese media is much more honest, like Yoichi Shimatsu, who writes: While grieving for the dead from the Tohoku quake disaster, we should also praise our colleagues in the Japanese print and television news media who have hammered at and punctured the steel curtain of official secrecy. Thanks to the unflinching reportage and persistence of Japanese reporters, editors and news reporters, Prime Minister Naoto Kan has started to realize that panic is "NOT" caused by disclosing the hard facts, but arises from public distrust of half-truths and attempts at cover-up. Following the decision on the second day of the crisis to vet regulatory agency reports to the media, the government yesterday has shifted to quickly conveying the facts to the world: As it turns out, nuclear-power company TEPCO was holding back information from regulatory officials, as disclosed in this morning's editio of Yomiuri Shimbun. "Although the explosion was being covered on TV networks, it wasn't reported to the Prime Minister's Office for about an hour. What's going on here?" Kan reportedly rebuked TEPCO senior officials and employees after he hastily visited TEPCO's headquarters in Tokyo, early Tuesday. Kan reportedly told them: "You're the only ones (to deal with this problem). Retreating (from the power plant's problems) is simply not an option. Be ready for anything. If you pull out now, that'll be the end of TEPCO, period." Now this sounds more like the proper application of Article 15 of the Constitution, which demands accountability from public servants. The government has forced TEPCO to join a new Nuclear Headquarters, or N-HQ, that will run a nonstop planning, monitoring and response operation for damaged nuclear facilities and provide timely information to the press. With the veil of censorship being lifted, this Monitor can become more occasional. News coverage is to be found at the English-language websites of these Japanese newspapers: The Japan Times, Yomiuri Daily and Daily Mainichi.

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