JAPAN: Facebook Comment Sparks Controversy

Controversy over a proposed high-speed railway, known as the Linear Chuo Shikansen, has erupted after the head of Nara prefecture’s general affairs department posted a scandalous comment on Facebook earlier this month. According to the Mainichi Daily News, Japan’s highly-respected second leading daily, the official, whose identity hasn’t been disclosed, urged the citizens to boycott the Sankei Shimbun, a local paper from Kyoto. His Facebook comment criticized that paper for reporting on the Kyoto Prefectural Government’s decision to review the possibility of having a station for the proposed railway built in Kyoto instead of Nara, as was originally planned.

That made many of the good people of Nara furious, and, reflecting that outrage, the prefecture official claimed that Kyoto had essentially “declared war” on Nara.

According to The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s largest circulation daily, the official said he made the comment to “avoid the misunderstanding that Nara and Kyoto were competing on equal footing” but admitted he was out of line. However, he had previously defended the comment in an interview with the Mainichi Daily News, explaining that “(commenting on Facebook) is just like talking with your friend at a cafe.” Right – if in the café there are at least thousands and thousands of friends.

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 Mainichi Daily News




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