Thursday, September 14, 2006

It should be a firing offense... reprint a Kyōdō news bulletin without a disclaimer.

Yes, yes, Kyōdō (Everybody owns us; nobody controls us!) and its already tenuous relationship with the truth have gone through another rough patch.

Japan eyes sending troops to Lebanon: report

Japan is considering sending its ground troops to Lebanon to provide logistical support as U.N. peacekeepers, Kyodo News reported Thursday, citing government sources.

The envisioned move comes after a cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israeli troops in southern Lebanon went into effect Aug. 14 following an earlier passage of a U.N. resolution that urges an end to hostilities between the two parties, it said.

The report goes on to describe recent mass sightings of flying pigs, demonic ice skating competitions and ethical consumer lending company debt collection practices.

Oh, hold your horses, Lily--somethin's wrong with the Kyōdō report, it seems.

Japan denies reports that it will send troops
Associated Press

Japanese officials have denied reports saying that the country plans to send troops to Lebanon.

The Kyodo News agency had previously reported that the Japanese government was studying a plan to provide logistical support for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon monitoring the cease-fire between Israel and Hizbullah, citing unnamed government officials.

The Kyodo report said it remained uncertain whether Japan would approve the deployment given strong concerns over possible recurrence of fighting in southern Lebanon.

The final decision is expected to be left to the new Japanese government, which will be launched later this month after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi steps down, Kyodo said.

Government officials denied a Lebanon mission was in the works.

"We are not considering a dispatch as reported," said Natsuko Sakata, a Foreign Ministry official in charge of Japan's peacekeeping operations.
Oh, shucky darn.

Guess we will just have to chalk it up to incompetence...again.

1 comment:

Jun Okumura said...

That's not nice, Shisaku. Besides, Kyodo Tsushin knows perfectly well what it’s doing. When it says “unnamed government officials”, it means it. There are dozens of government officials in MOFA alone at any time having a hand in potential peacekeeping operations, and it would be irresponsible for at least some of them not to “consider” the situation in Lebanon, if only because the political appointees - five Diet members, not counting the minister, are currently serving the Japanese people at MOFA – and reporters are going to come around asking..

As for the consider/not-consider discrepancy, I haven’t seen the original Japanese report, but I can say with confidence that 検討する undertakes a significant step forward into the operative (while leaving more than ample opportunities to pull your toe back if the crocodile snaps too close for comfort) when the term is used by a government official in a public statement.

It is, of course, obvious that the situation in Lebanon is tenuous to say the least, and it is just as obvious that Italy is not going to use its troops to surround the Japanese troops so that the latter can go about digging wells and repairing bridges for the South Lebanese.

Why then, did the Kyodo report (presumably) did not go into these details and qualifications? There should be several reasons that would have nothing to do with flying pigs and little green men and little with incompetence. Here’s two that I can think of that are quite significant:

Performance rating:: I would be surprised if Kyodo did not rate its reporters according to the number of filed reports actually reprinted by its customers.. On the other hand, an outright retraction would go quite a ways to facilitate a reporter’s quest in his search for a long-term assignment to Kyodo’s equivalent of Siberia. This creates a strong incentive to use the available facts and present them in the most attractive manner possible, to be “truthy”, I believe the current buzzword is.

Time constraints: A domestic reporter in Japan, and newswire reporters in general do not enjoy the foreign correspondent’s luxury of acting as virtual feature writers. They build Corollas, not DeLoreans. Thus, time constraints demand that they file as soon as they can when they have a snippet of information.

Blame the reporters for jazzing it up, or the public for settling for cheap, instant gratification. But I don’t think incompetence played a big part in this particular instance. I’m mostly guessing and extrapolating with the media end, but I’m fairly confident about the other of this business; I’ve been there, done some of that.

Best regards
O Famoso Sr. Ed.