Tracks of politics; Masato Shimizu, journalist


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At last, we are having the Shugi-in (House of Representatives) election.  Dissolve of Parliament by Minister Koizumi of the time, named “Yusei (Ministry of Post and Telecommunications)” dissolve, and the following Shugi-in election which ended up with the sweeping victory of Jimin-to (Liberal Demographic Party) seems just like yesterday.  But after this, Koizumi, Abe, Fukuda, and Aso respectively became Prime Minister for one year each, which I assume was somewhat a “strange” period of time perhaps to many people.

There are many unclear elements in the background of politics like this, unknown truths hidden behind, but here lies the mission of journalists.

Mr. Masato Shimizu of Nikkei published for us the “documentary record” of the process and record of Kantei initiatives led by PM Koizumi, activities of Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (Keizai Zaisei Shimon Kaigi), and the drama of 3 PMs taking turns after Koizumi.  Now the record is a “series of 3 books”.

I read through the first book and was very impressed.  Shortly after, he wrote another two books in very timely topics.  I am very pleased about it.

“Kantei initiatives-revolution of Junichiro Koizumi (Kantei syudo – Koizumi Jyunichiro no Kakumei)” (2005)
“Commentaries on the war on Economy and Finance (Keizai Zaisei Senki)” (2007)
“Misstep of the Prime Minister (Shusyo no Satetsu”) (April, 2009)

They are records based on careful coverings by Mr. Shimizu on the national politics of Japan ? what happened, who did what, when, how and what are their meanings and impacts.

It is always the case that newspapers, televisions, or magazines-because of the limits they are imposed of time and space-are not sufficient to make us fully understand about the politics of Japan.  Besides, it takes great effort or almost impossible to try to access to these reports or articles later on.

For this very reason, it is so important and valuable for us Japanese citizens to have a journalist, active in that time, publish a timely book on what happened based on his/her coverage in spite of the very busy life they lead.  It will be a good record, too.  The “Afterword” of his third book illustrates very well the difficulty Mr. Shimizu encountered in catching up with such rapidly changing circumstances.

In newspapers and other medias, journalists cover, study, and write articles on his/her own focused fields (but probably most of their works do not appear on the pages due to editing policies the desks have based on the priorities of the news etc.) but I would say in most cases one article is not enough to cover the issue simply because of the transient nature of newspapers, its limited spaces.  Of course, there are weekly and monthly magazines, series on newspapers too.  And quite a volume of articles are now readable on internet.  But still, I would say that it is quite meaningful to have those information gathered, edited, added and published as a non-fiction.

Are we capable of making an open minded journalism?  This is an issue of consciousness and ethics of organization ? of media relations, journalism.

Media is a huge power that bears tremendous responsibility to the society.  I am weary and tired of our old, never changing “kisha club”, too.  There is no hope if institutions continue to be rigid, or journalists keep on behaving like salary earners.  Remember that the whole world is watching.  Excuses good for Japanese only will not persuade them.