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  • Japanese, Foreign Media Diverge

    As Japan’s nuclear crisis deepens, a gulf has developed in the way in which the foreign and Japanese media are covering the unfolding drama.

    Upstart: Global Business

    As Japan’s nuclear crisis deepens, a gulf has developed in the way in which the foreign and Japanese media are covering the unfolding drama.

    The disparity has led to a stark difference in public perceptions of the gravity of the situation: Many Japanese are going about their daily lives and routines as normal. In sharp contrast, many foreigners have left after being deluged with phone calls from relatives pleading them to leave Japan after watching and reading media reports in their home country.

    “Japan Nuke Disaster PANIC” screamed the headline of the New York Daily News on March 16. On Friday in the U.S., Time Warner Inc.’s CNN was continuing its round-the-clock coverage of Japanese nuclear concerns on “The Situation Room,” flashing the line “Shifting Winds, Rising Danger: Risk of Radiation Blowback at Japan Plant.” The Sun, a London-based tabloid, titled an article: “Nightmare warning to Brits as Nuke Crisis Continues: Get Out of Tokyo Now”. In contrast, the tentative front page of Yomiuri Newspaper’—the largest daily in Japan—on March 16 read: “Damage to reactor number 3’s containment vessel?”(The Sun is owned by News Corp., as is The Wall Street Journal.)

    Contributing to the perception gap is the difficulty translating certain nuclear terms that have different meanings in Japanese and English. Top Japanese government spokesman Yukio Edano kept using the Japanese word “yo-yu,” in reference to the fuel rods in nuclear reactors, which means the rods are melting. However, many journalists translated this term as “meltdown”, which has much different implications and stirs up strong emotions. Mr. Edano, later clarified that the situation the plant faced was “quite different from what’s generally described as a meltdown” in English.

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    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703512404576209043550725356.html?mod=WSJ_business_LeftSecondHighlights

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