Is Industry Responsible for Flame Wars?

 Eating establishments have frequently been the victim of flame wars. A part-time worker at a convenience store posts a picture of himself in a cooler to Facebook, and they get flamed. That convenience store has temporarily closed. A part-time worker at a steak chain posts a picture of himself in the freezer and they get flamed. That store had to close their doors and is now looking into how to seek reparations for the damage done to their business.

 There are also cases that involve customers. At a gyoza (dumpling) shop in Kanezawa, a picture emerged on the net of a nude customer sitting at the counter. The store went out of business and is now seeking reparations. The police have arrested two people on charges of forcible obstruction of business and public indecency. Its not just a civil case; its now become a criminal case.

 Japan is a country of flame wars. It must be addressed in policy.
 How much of this problem can industry be blamed for? Because of something perpetrated by an employee, a store can be forced to close. How can reparations be made in cases like this? Also, how about cases caused by guests? How can business be held responsible?

 It might be possible for large chain stores to absorb this risk. However, the other day an employee at a privately-owned soba restaurant posted a picture of himself in the freezer and it forced the store to close. The risk is much too high for individually owned stores.

 I believe that its an overreaction to cause the closing of a store over a picture of an employee in a cooler or freezer. However, more than the attitude of business, the feelings of the consumer and net users are more important. They will not permit the existence of stores that do not reliably guarantee safety and security.

 On the other hand, as the result of a single tweet, an employee could be looking at not only being fired, but being held responsible for reparations as well. In some of the cases that I described, figures like 20 to 50 million yen have been thrown around, which is somewhat unreasonable.

 In Europe, the Right to be forgotten is being argued. Its a new way to deal with the preservation of privacy on the net. It could be time for Japan to consider such measures.

 On the other hand, if flame wars continue like this it doesnt necessarily rise to the level of privacy infringements, better yet flame crimes.

 Industry needs to be able to prevent and extinguish flames. To prevent, its important to be educated and literate. To extinguish, they must take rapid action. In all cases, measures should be taken by our Newmedia Risk Association.


Selling Japan through “Cool Japan”

 NHK has a program called Answer Questions about Cool Japan! Here are my answers.

Q. The government has started to expend energy in promoting Cool Japan. What is the real condition in the business world?

A. The content industry is 13 trillion yen. That represents 1/10th of the worldwide 160 trillion yen market, and puts us in second place after the U.S. Its centered on the Manga, anime, and game industries, but the market in Japan is showing a contractive tendency.
 Japans percentage of content exports is 5%, which is fairly low when compared to the United States 17%. The main export is anime and games, but I feel that there is the potential to export more. However, at only 3% of the GDP, the content industry can not be the center poll of the total economy. Its important to realize that the reason for supporting the content industry isnt just to support the content industry. Rather, through the enlargement of the content industry, related industries are aided. Specifically, anime can be the PR through which fashion and food are sold.

Q. Why does the government promote the Cool Japan strategy?

A. Japanese industry is changing due to the aging of the population, and the main industries of automobiles and home electronics is having a hard time. Its important to make a new industry out of Japans unique culture and promote it to the world.
 The content policy was introduced 20 years ago, but the current regime is putting unparalleled energy into it. Under the current economic policy, the content industry is meant to be used as a catalyst for the electronics, food, and tourism industries.

Q. What is the current state of Japans ability to export her culture to the world?

A. The face of Japan right now is manga, anime, and games. You wont find a child who doesnt know about Pikachu, One Piece, and Naruto. These have been exported throughout the world. There is a Japan Expo held in Paris to introduce Japanese culture. Manga and anima are especially popular. In 2000 there were 3000 attendees, but by 2012 it had grown into a 4-day event with 200,000 attendees.

Q. Is Korea used as a model, with the success of K-POP and TV Dramas?

A. The content budget in Korea has multiplied since the Kim Dae-jung administration in 1998. There are three main points. The first is concentration. They concentrated on movies and music as the pop culture genres that they would export to the world.
 The next is cooperation. The contents are tied up with the electronics and automotive industries and sold as a set. Finally there is government. They have given their full support.
 On the other hand, Japans approach has been all-around, without concentrating on certain genres. It has also not been cooperative, but rather vertically segmented. Also, the government hasnt been as supportive as the Korean government. In 10 year the content budget in Korea doubled, but during the same period it shrank in Japan.

 Seeing the results of Koreas policy, the government has decided to combine pop culture with the food and fashion industries and to enthusiastically support the export of Japanese culture.


Digital Textbooks: 1 person; 1 year; 10,000 yen

 In 2010, when the DiTT (Association of Digital Textbooks & Teaching) was established, there were those who said that our goal of having digital textbooks and a device in the hand of every student was just a castle in the air. Some recommended that we amend our goal to use regular textbooks rather than digital. In the last year, things have changed.

 Osaka City, the Arakawa section of Tokyo, Takeo city in Saga prefecture, and Bizen city in Okayama Prefecture have all pledged to put a digital device into the hand of every elementary school student.

 The government, under the Intellectual Property Plan, has decided to take the necessary measures up to and including changing the law, to make this a reality.

 At the national level, a diet caucus has resolved that education ICT (Information and Communication Technology) shall involve five measures, one of which includes placing a tablet PC into the hands of every student.

 This has strengthened our resolve at the DiTT, and we have proposed an outline for the introduction of digital textbooks and resolved to assist 100 areas and 100 of the best teachers to achieve this goal.

 However, one major hurdle remains: the cost. It takes money to do this. Exactly how much it will cost and who will shoulder the burden remains to be answered.

 In recent days, the question, So in the end, how much will it cost? has been asked more and more. If we imagine one machine for one person, how much will that cost per person? This aspect was never really discussed at the table.

In the diet, there were conflicting claims. The makers claim that it will take 70,000 yen per person, but thats impossible.” “In Thailand one tablet is only 80 dollars.” “It will be about 10,000 yen, wont it?

 We imagine a policy under which it costs 10,000 yen per year per person. A set consisting of a Wi-Fi tablet, applis, and support should be rented or leased. Rather than a set selling cost of 10,000 yen per person, we imagine the implementation of a three-year rental program, or a 5-year lease. It also might be a good idea to accommodate used equipment.

  A certain city has said that if the procurement cost can be kept to 10,000 yen per student then they will be prepared to equip the students. If we can establish this service model then the idea will take hold amongst municipalities and budget measures will be strengthened and the implementation will spread widely.

 Therefore we at the DiTT are recommending a 10,000 yen per person plan to municipalities. There are already some plans in place by telecommunications companies. Were waiting for even more attractive proposals.


Living alone in the age of “everyone”

 Its the era of Everyone.
 In 2006, TIME magazines person of the year was You and the cover included a computer with a mirror for a screen. The person reflected in the mirror used digital technology to play a leading role. This age was called Web 2.0.

 After that, social media exploded onto the scene. Everyone was connected, and everyones voice had the potential to directly influence society. It influenced presidential elections, shaped the Arab Spring, and played a part in demonstrations from London to New York. Japan also demonstrates the importance of everyones power and social power. According to a survey by Cisco, the mobile users of Japan produce 5 times the global average of data, making it the hands-down world leader. The era of everyone might be a great chance for Japan.

 On the other hand, it has been said that Japanese TV is no longer interesting. One large cause could be that it is no longer an environment in which individuals can operate freely.

  The other day, famous television producer Tsuchiya Toshio concluded that TV content requires individual quirks. It could be that the charms of TV content have been lost because the quirks of the individual have been diluted. The individual may have become embedded in the all. Some things cannot be accomplished by everyone. It takes the power of the individual to break through to new areas. Creators are inspired to create by the charms of the unknown.

 To raise the level of the general populace is the responsibility of the education system. But how does one promote the development of outstanding individuals? How does one create an environment in which such people are free to realize their creative potential? Maybe its possible through policy.

 As the government recites, to create great content creators we must create a high level of education with facilities to teach content creation. Can this really fulfil the needs of the genius creator? I dont think so. It may increase the number of individuals, but the ones who really excel take a different route.

  I believe that those who create new genres of expression require a certain environment, a certain soil, and certain conditions in their environment. The emergence of impressionism in modern art; of Coco Chanel in the fashion industry; Jean-Luc Godard in the movie industry;  The Beatles and the Sex Pistols in the music industry; Osamu Tezuka, Yoshiharu Tsuge, and Katsuhiro Otomo in the manga industry; and Shigeru Miyamoto in the gaming industry.

 In all cases, a new form of expression was created by turning all that had been created up until that point on its head. The term for this is punk. I feel that there must be certain conditions under which these artists are created.

 The punks in the age of social media are innovators of Facebook, Twitter, and Line. I wonder where and how the next individuals, who will go on