Sunday, March 11, 2012

Japanese Government's Global Media Blitz to Pitch "Recovery" and Dispel Baseless Rumors

The Youtube video of the Emperor's speech at the memorial ceremony on March 11 now has over 7,000 views.

While the Emperor was the only one at the ceremony who mentioned radiation contamination and the plight of residents who had to flee the land contaminated with radioactive materials (he even mentioned the workers dealing with the nuclear accident), the Noda administration has been very busy peddling recovery by launching the media blitz around the world with infomercials to tell the world how the disaster areas in Tohoku, particularly Fukushima, have recovered and everything will be just fine from now on.

Nuclear accident? What nuclear accident? Radiation contamination? Oh it's just a baseless rumor.

I hate to think how much they spent to create the commercials, and how much they spent to buy the ad time.

The announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (3/8/2012) is as follows:

TV Commercials Transmitting the Attractions of Japan and Tohoku to the World

1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has produced four TV commercials transmitting the attractions of Japan and the Tohoku region to the world for the purpose of mitigating reputational damages generated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and recovering and improving the image of Japan, as follows:

(1) “JAPAN Power of harmony” introduces Japan’s superior technological capabilities in areas such as lacquerware, the research and development of iPS cells, space exploration, and the Shinkansen, through the use of the technique of origami. (60 seconds)

(2) “Colorful emotions TOHOKU” communicates the attractions of sightseeing in the Tohoku region such as the Nebuta Festival, the making of Akabeko (dolls of a red cow), playing in the snow, hot springs, strawberry picking, and the warlords of the Samurai , by showing the excitement and expectation of a family who travels Tohoku from abroad. (60 seconds)

(3) “We believe in FUKUSHIMA” shows the invincible resolve of the people in Fukushima toward the restoration of their daily lives before the Great East Japan Earthquake. It features the people of Fukushima working on strawberry farms, in Fukushima Railway Station, at the E-rosoku (pictured candle) Festival, and at Tsurugajo Castle. (60 seconds)

(4) “Message from Japan “ARIGATOU” (Thank you)” is a commercial to convey appreciation to the world. “Arigatou” is a word to express thanks for heartfelt words, sympathy, and supports sent from the world in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

2. In particular, commercials (2) and (3) were produced thanks to cooperation received from local governments and institutions concerned such as Fukushima Prefecture, Sendai City, and the Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization.

3. These commercials are currently on the air all across the world through CNN etc. From April onward, the commercials are to be broadcast on NHK World TV (JIB-TV broadcast) through close coordination with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

4. Moreover, these commercials are to be screened in receptions and events held abroad by the local governments and institutions concerned such as diplomatic missions abroad, the Japan Tourism Agency, Fukushima Prefecture, Sendai City, and Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization, as well as at international conferences held in Japan.

The commercials are posted on the video channel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA channel)

Foreign Minister Genba, when he was the minister in charge of national strategy back in March last year, told the Japanese that they should all be cheering for TEPCO.

Here's one, titled "Colorful emotions, Tohoku" (I absolutely have no idea what that phrase even means), featuring a foreign family (Russian?) visiting Tohoku in winter. The Ministry disallows embed for this particular commercial.

The commercial titled "Japan Power of Harmony" is clearly targeted at the global business communities. The Ministry disallows this embed also. It goes:

Japan, a country of perseverance and spirit of harmony.
Spirit form, from the severe nature of our nation.
And that reality has formed Japan, through endless innovation and cooperation.
"These innovation from my country of Japan will ultimately contribute to the entire health of our society, to the entire advancement of the human race."
Now, more than ever, the world is facing challenge.
And Japan offers our unique experience for everyone.
We know, we learned, power is created from the cooperation of people.
It's the power of harmony.
Together for a better future.

Can anyone tell me what this means? I can see through the original Japanese or original muddled thinking in English, but does this make any sense in English?

Whoever created the original copy in Japanese and whoever translated it into English uncritically should be shot.

These commercials must be the work of either Dentsu or Hakuhodo, two largest PR firms in Japan who have been closely cooperating with the national government since March 11, 2011 on campaigns to sell Tohoku, whether it is a tourist destination or food from Fukushima.

The message I get from these commercials is this: "We're trying our utmost best to ignore the nuclear accident and radiation contamination, and so should you."


JAnonymous said...

Or as we say there, snafu.

Probably related in the grand scheme of things, I can see that money will be spent equally on soil decontamination and brainwashing.

Tokyo subway cars are flooded with these, among others, overhead ads : Who will be the lucky winner, I can't wait...

VyseLegendaire said...

Totally hilarious commercials devoid of humanity, using banal music and a happy veneer to paint over the complete lack of concern for the hugest industrial accident of all time, and an ongoing nuclear catastrophe that could unravel the entire nation and potentially the world at any time. I can't believe these commercials are anything more than a government money sink.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@JAnonymous, thank you for the link. That looks like another work by Dentsu. From looking at Fukushima Prefectural government website, it is inconceivable that the Fukushima officials are in any way capable of setting up a site like that.

If anyone can understand what they are babbling in "Power of Harmony" CM, let me know. Because I can't.

TC said...

The 'Japan Power of Harmony' commercial is appallingly bad, to the point of being mildly amusing. It is meant to highlight the strength of Japan, but it actually has the opposite effect.

It looks like a cheap TV commercial from the 80s. No doubt it was made by a production company whose primary role is to promote the latest 'tarento'. I am sure they were delighted to get the fat contract, but there are many small creative agencies who could have done so much better with a tenth of the budget.

Saidani said...

The first thing that stood out is the lack of people in the videos. Empty train stations, empty resorts, an empty school, an empty lacquer-ware class? Was this an unconscious lapse into honesty?

Chibaguy said...

Truth: The Tohoku and Kanto regions are being ripped apart as people try and figure out what to do. Communities are closing off to others while families are separating. The elderly are being left to perish without their grandchildren. I guess this does not make for a good CM.

Chibaguy said...

I just read the original Japanese and see how that would work in times without an on-going crisis. The English translation is translated word for word. Thus, it makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

Seimens may still hold inventory of sabotaged parts.

If you plan suing Seimens for breach of contract in the supply of defective parts you will need these.

Seimens in turn would have to sue the terrorists responsible for tampering with their high security products.

The question is which State would respond with plausible deniability and would they hoodwink a Jury.

Anonymous said...

The Power of Harmony CM is allowing thumbs up/down now. Hurry and go thumbs-down it and send MOFA a message!

Soyogu said...

In the "Harmony" CM the man says "power is created from the cooperation of people" but it apparently hasn't occured them that interantional commercials might need international cooperation right from the start. Like someone whose national language is English helping with the text.

The video shows in practice that if the Japanese ever were very good at cooperating internationally, they certainly have forgotten how to do it.

I have loved Japan all my life so it is really painful to see Japanese commercials on Japan that mostly just make the people of Japan look stupid.

Soyogu said...

Whoops, I watched the "we believe one after writing my comment.

They say "we believe in the power of human beings".

As if nuclear plant out of order was inside the scale.

And they say that while showing three junior high boys in an otherwise empty corridor. Only three? Only boys? And why is it that in this context these school uniforms makes me remember the second world war...?

Excuse me for ranting. It is just too harsh towards the people of Japan and especially the women.

Anonymous said...

In commercials.."features the people of Fukushima working on strawberry farms, in Fukushima Railway Station, at the...". Almost sounds like a Zoo..

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the great whitewash. GE has been hard at work on this for some time. This is the first commercial that has been running in heavy rotation for months-

No irony in bringing good things to life.
We build and sell machines with design problems that explode and can cause a myriad of health problems, including cancer.
Look here instead- we have built machines that help "cure" cancer.

And for those not concerned with the above mentioned issues, here is the one trotted out during the Superbowl for people who need jobs and like cold beer. This is in current rotation with the first ad.

BWR list for everyone-

Meat67 said...

Power of Harmony:

As a former owner of a video production company, this makes me sad.

As a current English teacher this makes me really sad.

As a taxpayer in Japan it makes me want to puke.

Anonymous said...

colorful emotions...
WAS Tohoku. Now it is a bowtie about a throat cancer That is all ye need to know. A once great country was ruined and cant bear to let go.
It's a tragedy, really. Still...
inspire the next. Face the truth. Tohoku will empty.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all of you. Once a country of real technology now only can brag about the "superior technologicial capabilities of the technique of origami"... Makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

You noticed, that adding comments was disabled on the youtube video page, reflecting the true nature of this which screams PRAPAGANDA (albeit in Homer Simpsons level).

EX-SKF is right on. Mr. Genba was a remarkably incompetent strategist back in March 2011. He still is, and this proves.

A country that promotes a man like Genba to any position or even keep someone like him is destined to decline. The current demise of Japan and Fukushima tragedy was single-handedly created and made worse by Japan itself with its continued refusal to recognize the reality and listen to the advice of international scientific and engineering community.

Anonymous said...

Just saw this video. Don't know if it's been posted already.

Expert Warns: Water Leakage from the Unit 4 SFP Will Mean "THE END" (Mar. 8, 2012)

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 10:18AM, yes I know the video (I helped Tabby translate it), I was writing a post on it. It is pretty misleading.

Atomfritz said...

When watching the Power of Japan clip, I actually felt reminded of the 1980s East German Communist State TV propaganda ads, which were very similar, including the video effects.

Anonymous said...

una camiseta que simboliza la llegada de la normalidad a las áreas más afectadas del país. En el dibujo los pescadores vuelven a faenar, los peces vuelven a picar en los anzuelos y la vida se mueve”
Mikel Urmeneta

En su diseño ha colaborado la Sociedad Vasco-Japonesa y un euro de cada camiseta vendida se destinará a la Federación de Asociaciones Cooperativas de Pesca de la Provincia de Fukushima.

a shirt that symbolizes the arrival of normality to the affected areas of the country. In the drawing become fishermen to fish, the fish return to bite on hooks and life moves "
Mikel Urmeneta

Its design has helped the Basque-Japanese Society and a euro for each shirt sold will go to the Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations of the Province of Fukushima.

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