Media has a critical role in Sino-Japan relationship

Senior Chinese and Japanese media professionals aired their views on select topics during a two-day forum in Shanghai on Monday and Tuesday.

The forum was organized by the Information Office of the State Council and the executive commission for the media forum. About 40 media representatives from China and Japan participated. Dong Yunhu, minister of the Publicity Department of the CPC Shanghai Committee, and Zhang Ye, director of the International Liaison Office of the Information Office of the State Council, addressed the forum when it opened on Monday.

The forum this year, the 12th, focused on topics including media cooperation in furthering Sino-Japan ties, challenges and opportunities peculiar to an ageing society, science and technological innovation and talent cultivation, and the media’s role in helping young people from the two countries understand each other better.

The participants also visited Shanghai Jiao Tong University for a display showcasing technological innovations by the students. Japanese participants also paid a site visit to Jiading District to learn about scientific and technological innovation.

Peace and development

Addressing the forum, Ren Qian, deputy editor-in-chief of China Radio International, said responsible media should, acting from consideration of the general interests, regard peace and development as keynote in their reports. They should also focus on reports reflecting Sino-Japanese friendship. This could be facilitated by a greater exchange of journalists, and more attention to covering topics of interest to young people.

Aya Igarashi, editorial writer from The Yomiuri Shimbun, also cited the importance of the media in deepening mutual understanding. Akihiro Mikoda, executive commentator of the News Commentators Bureau of the General Broadcasting Administration of NHK, said media should not only report when some unusual event happens, but can also play a role in the absence of such events, for instance, by reporting the situation of elderly care in China, Chinese couples’ willingness to have a second child in the wake of the changed family planning policy, and similar daily life occurrences. Reports of daily life help strengthen the perception that the Chinese are people no different from Japanese.

Chai Lu from the CCTV said CCTV had covered a great deal of Japan-related events, including the good order during the recent earthquakes, and the “suicide corps” during the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. But during the five years since 2012, Sino-Japan relations have been short of satisfactory, with both the number of Japanese tourists and trade with Japan declining. The key is how media professionals should conduct themselves, so the relationship between China and Japan can improve.

Tomisaka Satoshi, professor at the Institute of World Studies, Takushoku University, who attended the forum for the 9th time this year, said journalists are responsible for the current bilateral relations. While Japanese media operates at the dictum of market principles, media professionals should not act without a sense of conscience.

Wang Xiaohui, editor in chief of china.org.cn, also drew attention to the importance of objective reporting, and motivation, adding more attention should be paid to young people and new media, as more and more young people now rely on smartphones for information.

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