Friday, 2 December 2005


I step out of my apartment and sniff the air. Winter has arrived. The feeling of the day is grey in that way which says “I’m not going to get warm until March!”
I walk across the carpark to a soundtrack of chirping birds. Open the door. Step into the warm office. I say “Good Morning” instead of おはようございます because last month the town mayor asked that I speak English from now on instead of Japanese. This has created interesting currents of communication in the office.
I slip my timecard into the time machine, which reads 9:16 .. I am technically one minute late. Saying good morning to 中家さん, I sit down at my desk, on which today’s edition of The Japan Times is lying as usual. The headline reads, “Slowing Atlantic Current Threatens Europe”. I immediately think I’ll have none of this scaremongering!” The article describes the movements of the Gulf Stream, but also includes phrases like “European continent could be plunged into bitter winter” and mentions "the 2004 Hollywood movie ‘The Day After Tomorrow’". Although the article says that the effects would not be as sudden as those in the movie, the mere mention of this film is surely likely to forge a link with any fear lingering in the mind of the reader. Ironically, at the very top of the page, above the words “The Japan Times” is written, “ALL THE NEWS WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR”. If this is the newspaper’s aim, then how can its editors justify the placement of an intentionally fear-instilling article mere centimeters below it? OK, maybe we have the right to know what scientific reports have been published, but to have a headline like that (which is likely to make people who read it, especially Europeans, feel somewhat threatened) at the top of the front page is blatant scaremongering.

No comments: