FCCJ Luncheon Speech


FCCJ Luncheon Speech

In the world of Japanese journalism, Takichi Nishiyama is unquestionably a legend, but he is a controversial legend, at least until recently, and I am sure you will learn why today.

He is the central figure in the so-called Nishiyama Takichi Incident, which is sometimes referred as Foreign Ministry Breach of Confidence Incident or Okinawa Secret Pact Incident, depending on how you want to look at it.

In the incident, Mr. Nishiyama, as a Mainichi Shimbun reporter, exposed a serious betrayal of the government to its people at the time of a historical juncture when Okinawa was returned to Japan from the military occupation by the United States in 1972. But the controversy over how he obtained information completely changed the story.

Mr. Nishiyama was born in 1931 in Yamaguchi prefecture. After graduating from Keio University with a masters degree in xxx, he went on to work for Mainichi Shimbum newspaper as a reporter. He had covered Prime Minister’s residence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has won a series of prestigious journalism awards.

In 1971, Mr. Nishiyama reported that Japan had illegally channeled 4 million dollars to the United States when Okinawa was returned to Japan. The money was to be used for restoring former US military installations to their pre-occupational conditions, but then Prime Minister Eisaku Sato had repeatedly told the nation that the cost was to be shouldered by the United States.

But unlike Watergate, which forced President Nixon to step down in disgrace and made two young Washington Post reporters national heroes, the story began to take a strange turn when his source, a female foreign ministry clerk, turned herself in and claimed that she was forced to give away classified documents because Mr. Nishiyama took advantage of their extramarital affairs.

After the revelation, the government illegal fund transfer scandal somehow became a media ethics and sex scandal, at least in the public forum.

Mr. Nishiyama came under severe fire both from the government and the media, and he was convicted of illegally obtaining classified information along with his source, and was forced to quit his job.

As of today, no one has ever taken any responsibility for the alleged illegal fund transfer, nor has there been any official investigation into the matter. Prime Minister Sato went on to win a Nobel Peace Prize, mainly for realizing the peaceful reversion of Okinawa to Japan.

Mr. Nishiyama has spent his time at his home in Kita Kyushu, running a family business ever since.

But now, 35 years later, at the age of 75, he is striking back.

As the US government began to declassify diplomatic documents at 25 years, it became increasingly clear that the secret pact did exist, and Japan did secretly channel the unauthorized fund to the United States.

In 2005, he sued the Japanese government to clear his name, but the court last month turned him down. Last week, he appealed his case to the higher court and pledged to fight till the end.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present to you the legend, Mr. Takichi Nishiyama.

April 30, 2007 | コメント (1) | トラックバック (2)


[ Double Cast ] by Survivart
日時 4月21日(土)13:00〜15:00
場所 トーキョーワンダーサイト本郷
ゲスト 神保哲生(ビデオニュース・ドットコム代表)+中野真紀子(翻訳家)
内容 動画サイト「YouTube」の認知度が50%を超えた昨今、個人がメディアを駆使し情報の受け手から発信者となり、マスメディアの神話も崩れつつあるこの時代に、独自メディアを持つことの意味や可能性について話し合います。

April 21, 2007 | コメント (0) | トラックバック (0)

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