It is no secret that the media has a great influence on society. In Japan, this is especially true, as the country has a long history of using the media to shape public opinion. According to Japon Samourai website, the way media is used in Japan, however, differs from other countries in several ways.
Japan is an exception in the world and among the countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), due to the persistent weight of the written press, despite a downward trend in circulation. This success can be explained in particular by the efficiency of a home distribution system which persists, despite the lack of manpower which is also evident in this sector.
More than 110 titles have been counted in Japan, but the five major national dailies share more than half of all circulation, counting the morning and afternoon editions. Now number one, the Yomiuri Shimbun has a print run of over 11 million copies. The Asahi Shimbun, considered more “left” on defense and international relations issues, has a circulation of 8 million, the business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun, which has become the owner of the Financial Times, has a circulation of nearly 4 million. of copies, followed by the Mainichi and the Sankei Shimbun, ranked further to the right.
But if the Japanese written press is particularly dynamic, it also has limits which explain the disaffection from which it is beginning to suffer, particularly among young people. Guaranteed by article 21 of the 1947 Constitution, freedom of the press is a reality. However, it is hampered by a phenomenon of self-censorship linked to the existence of “press clubs” (è¨˜è€…ã‚¯ãƒ©ãƒ–), which appeared at the end of the 19th century and attached to various ministries which guarantee access to information but control it. the broadcast. Breaking the implicit rules of operation of these press clubs, which assume the absence of any real questioning of the official discourse, exposes you to sanctions that can go as far as exclusion, which closes the sources of information.
Moreover, accentuating the phenomenon of “consensus”, the newspapers also control the main national television channels, limiting the vigor of the debates, including during the election period. On the other hand, while investigative journalism is not encouraged, the exploitation of scandals for political purposes is common, used by political parties and the various factions in power. The adoption of a law in 2014 punishing the disclosure of ill-defined state secrets by ten years in prison, and the adoption in June 2017 of a conspiracy law aimed at combating organized crime and violent movements make some fear an increased limitation of the room for maneuver of the “official” press.
If the readership is important, the population of readers has evolved. 90% of the population aged over fifty say they read a newspaper daily. On the other hand, this rate drops to 60% for the generation of twenties to thirties, which is still a significant figure, but shows a considerable decline. Above all, the use of the Internet has increased considerably, affecting 66.8% of the population who find less controlled information there.