Native News from Nippon

A sampling of English-language Japanese news outlets online

When disaster strikes in one part of the world, the rest of the world struggles to get as close as it can to the center of the story, parachuting in from every direction. While The Guardian’s liveblog is always a force to be reckoned with—and The New York Times’s interactive team probably hasn’t slept in days—nothing beats the journalists already living and working where the news is breaking. Here are some English-language sites from Japan that are following the fallout closely, listed in no particular order.

The Daily Yomiuri is the English language paper published by Yomiuri Shimbun, which claims to have the largest circulation of any newspaper in the world. Sample article, complete with some helpful infographics and diagrams: “Radiation hazard detected: Massive leak feared after fire at spent nuclear fuel pool.” And a narrative account of the disaster from Kesennuma: “Reporter’s 43-hour ordeal in tsunami zone: Yomiuri Simbun’s scribe’s 1st-hand account of awaiting rescue with 450 fellow survivors.”

The Asahi Shimbun’s English-language site has one of the darkest and most moving features we’ve seen about this tragedy so far, entitled, bluntly, “Seaside city covered in corpses.” Recommended, but read at your own risk. Sample analysis/opinion column, this one about the Fukushima power plant: “Crucial vents were not installed until 1990s.”

Kyodo News is a nonprofit newswire headquartered in Tokyo that distributes news to dozens of outlets around the world. Sample article from its English-language website: “Confusion from deadly quake spreading, nearly 6,000 dead or missing.” The site also links to a page dedicated to “Government Quake Information,” with a feed of government alerts and press releases, and Twitter messages from the communications guy at the prime minister’s office. is the English-language site of the Nikkei Inc. media group, which focuses on business news; thus, sample articles include “Oil Distributors Rush To Get Supplies To Disaster Areas” and “Tepco Still Pumping Water Into Reactors As Crisis Looms.”

The online-only Modern Tokyo Times flashes two prominent banners up top, one advertising job openings at MTT, and one urging readers to donate to the International Red Cross. The MTT appears to be more analysis and commentary than straight news. Sample article: a breakdown of the bizarre news that “Tokyo Governor Ishihara says earthquake and tsunami was ‘divine punishment.’” (Punishment for what exactly? For their “egoism,” of course.)

The Japan Times, the venerable English-language-only publication located in Tokyo and Osaka since 1897, is also probably a good site to visit, but we can’t access it today because their server keeps crashing, most likely because of a surge in traffic from around the world. Ditto for

Finally, The Mainichi Daily News, established in 1872, has 3,200 employees and 101 news bureaus, according to its corporate website. Sample article: “Tokyo supermarkets stripped bare as hoarding breaks out across region.” And, from a recent editorial, entitled “Companies, individuals must pull together for Japan’s economic recovery”:

Of course, at this moment it is extremely important to get all bills tied to the fiscal 2011 budget draft passed, and for the Bank of Japan to keep a steady stream of credit flowing. Government support at an appropriate level will also likely become necessary. However, the foundations of Japan’s economy are now as always its companies, workers and consumers.

The power the Japanese people have gained by overcoming the country’s many crises in the past is now one of their greatest resources. The world, too, is both watching attentively and expecting a Japanese recovery. Once more, let us all demonstrate just how much strength we really have.

For English language news video, NHK World TV (from the Japanese Public Broadcasting system) is offering an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch app that gives free access to a constant English-language feed. (Via The Houston Chronicle’s blog.)

Check these sites out as the story develops, and please let us know if we’ve missed any of the major players in Japanese media, as this is just a preliminary scan of the web; we’ll update this list as needed.

A state-side side note: ProPublica has put together a very comprehensive list of links to (mostly Western) sources that can help you follow and filter breaking news from Japan, so we’ll point you there rather than reiterating it. And Wikipedia continues to impress with an incredibly rapid and thorough aggregation of information, as it happens; check out the constantly evolving entry for the “2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami” here.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner Tags: , ,