Friday, March 30, 2012

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Has Started Propaganda Campaign to Invite Foreign Social Medial Writers to Japan

(Applicants can download an application in Excel file at the Embassy's site. Go to the end of the post for more.)

Remember that harebrained project that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would do after grabbing some extra money in the supplementary budget last year? Well it has just started.

"An Invitation Program to Japan for SOCIAL MEDIA WRITERS: Hello social media writers!--the Government of Japan invites you to participate in an opportunity to travel to Japan and share your experience through social media."

Here's the screen capture of the Facebook page of the Japanese Embassy in Canada:

The post (23 hours ago) says the following (emphasis is mine):

An Invitation Program to Japan for SOCIAL MEDIA WRITERS: Hello social media writers!--the Government of Japan invites you to participate in an opportunity to travel to Japan and share your experience through social media.

- objective: to share your impressions, positive experiences, and attraction to Japan through social media i.e blogs, Facebook, &Twitter. Witness a vibrant Japan as it recovers from the disasters of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
- visit places that would help you understand Japan's politics, economics, society, and culture + meet with persons in your area of interest
- area of interest: pop culture, fashion, design, science & technology, Japanese food culture, sports, academia, art, etc.
- You should have more than 1000 followers per social media profile. After returning to Canada, participants will be required to write at least three articles about their visit.
- duration: 7 days sometime after April 2012
- expenses covered: accommodation, travel to and from Japan, transportation in Japan, and accident insurance
- deadline: April 4.
Please find the application form & procedure @

*Embassy of Japan may request candidates to visit the Embassy for an interview.

Please apply & spread the word!

The anon reader who gave me the link says the Embassy people (or whoever is managing their Facebook page) keep deleting the negative comments.

The Japanese people I know are all disgusted with the government scheme and they are extremely ashamed. And angry that their tax money is being used like this by their government.


This is hilarious. I clicked on the link in the Embassy's Facebook post to take a look at the application form. IT'S AN EXCEL FILE! Are we still in the late 1980s, when companies that were very much behind the curve about computers were using Excel spreadsheet as word processor?

So these Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials do not even know how to create a simple form either in editable PDF format or web format, and they want to invite social media writers.

It was probably created by a local secretary who doesn't know anything about social media...

(What an atrocious color scheme... What has happened to the fine sense of design and color that the Japanese want to think they possess?)


Anonymous said...

Standard procedure in Japan for the foreign ministry. Also Visa application forms are excel sheets....

Very often I have to wonder who came up with prejudice (in most westerners) that Japan is so modern? Great PR stunt I guess.

Anonymous said...

I wandered in the Embassy's home page, french and english, an extraordinary build-up of novlang, double talk, etc... but it is also extraordinary silly, if I would keep on matching it with Orwell's 1984.
No comment from my Japanese relations precisely about this new one, but a growing expression of fear and exasperation.
It is said one can put it's shame to a good use...

Anonymous said...

I've already completed my homework assignment, sensei, Seven Days & One Week

kintaman said...

It seems they are continuously deleting posts from their page that mention Fukushima or radiation. This is sick and shows the true motivation of Japan: hide the truth from the people to ensure the economy is not impacted. Who cares if they get sick in 5-10 years from now.

This just reinforces my disdain for my heritage. I am angered by this disgraceful behavior. Japanese spirit is dead to me.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@kintaman, be proud of your heritage. There are a plenty of people like you in Japan now who are realizing they've been asleep too long and waking up and doing something.

I think the better strategy is to praise them. I am crafting a letter - Dear Embassy officials in charge of the program, yes the rebirth of Japan is evident one year after the triple disaster... Look at all these people in Japan who have started to think for themselves ...

Anonymous said...

hey! i'll go, put just for a quick-in-and-out to here:

Darth3/11 said...

Will the Canadian Embassy be censoring the output from their social media winners? This sort of whitewashing makes me uneasy.

A new future has arrived and the ongoing radiation and tsunami wipeout & debris experiment is just beginning. Ignore that at the risk of looking like a propaganda tool.

Game on.

Darth3/11 said...

Will the Canadian Embassy be censoring the output from their social media winners? This sort of whitewashing makes me uneasy.

A new future has arrived and the ongoing radiation and tsunami wipeout & debris experiment is just beginning. Ignore that at the risk of looking like a propaganda tool.

Game on.

Anonymous said...

Re: the hilarious Excel format application form, I think a lot of Japanese men and organizations are still the cave men mentality and they don't even know it. (I know, I'm a JP woman)

Not long ago at our international conference in Orlando, two Japanese speakers from Tokyo (1 academic, 1 engineering consultant) submitted their papers in Excel!!

They typed sentences and sometimes even individual words in randomly picked cells acorss the Excel worksheet, with no particular rules of indentation or line/page spacing.

When we asked them to resubmit in a Word file or PDF, they said that Excel worksheet is the king of office work applications, and that everyone uses Excell and therefore there is nothing wrong with writing papers in Excel.

We could not even distill their papers into PDF without making the types so small and illegible. lol

At the end, the professor got his graduate student re-type his paper in MS Word. The engineer did not resend his paper, but had a gull to ask his wife be admitted to the conference for free because she speaks better English than he does. We sometimes allow professional interpreters in, but that was not the case here.

Anonymous said...

This campaign reminds me of the 'helcopter parent' trying to buy favorite views of peers for their mean brat kid.

I had a friend in the 3rd grade who was very unpopular because she always bragged about how wealthy her famiy was (the father was a doctor), she never helped out others but expected everyone to serve her. One day, her mom showed up after school hours (we're just hanging out and playing in the school yard). She began handing out expensive import chocolage and candies to us, one by one telling us we should like her daughter because of this gift. We responded "yes, yes, yes" and enjoyed the goodies, but next day none of that changed our view of her daughter; things remained the same.

Of course we're just the 3rd graders. We'll see how many Americans and Canadians buy into the Japanese government's candy... When they return from the free Japan trip and brag about it, I hope astute university recruiters and employers take a notice of their weak brain.

Atomfritz said...

@ LaPrimavera

"I think the better strategy is to praise them."

I agree.

Just a suggestion:
Maybe you should add a sample 1st April article to increase your chances. ;-)

The German 300MWe Kalkar FBR ended up as "Wunderland Kalkar", an entertainment park in the former reactor building.

Maybe a "Wonderland Dai-Ichi" could become a major attraction for Japanese school excursions, sharing the pain and helping Fukushima?

Link (in German):

Anonymous said...

... to share your impressions, positive experiences, and attraction to Japan ...

This could be an interesting challenge...

17-JUL-2012: At what I am told is a weekly event in front of Tokyo's Ministry of Environment and Industry, I watched a peaceful, amazingly well-mannered crowd of hundreds exercising their freedom and lifting their voices in song. Colorful, artistic placards offered various suggestions to their much respected government officials. A very helpful Japanese policeman standing next to me explained that some of these people parading by were suffering from leukemia and that others had thyroid cancer. I think this speaks very well of the health care system in Japan, which is every bit as advanced as ours in Canada. Even people with leukemia and thyroid cancer are able to engage in healthful activities such as the parade I saw. A very uplifting experience. I recommend everyone should visit Japan and see such events in person. They might even invite you to join!

kuma shutsubotsu chuui said...

@ Anonymous 4:32 PM


Kim jong Fun said...

Japan the laughing stock of the world

Steve From Virginia said...

Hmmm ... I would like a free trip to Japan. I would look at samurai swords while over there ... among other things.

NAH, they'll take one look at my twitter feed ...


Anonymous said...

This is going to cut into the budget for bullying/bribing to get localities to burn the radioactive debris and restart the reactors.

Anonymous said...

This looks so overly controlled I don't think someone could even write follow ups that are not flattering without getting sued or something. My guess is there is a contract involved and anything not per the agreement would get the writer sued for the cost of the trip.

The suggestions for the types of writers, art, fashion, food shows they only want fluff that could ignore what is going on in Japan on a political and social level.

I have wondered if I could make it into Japan with a radiation detector & pen dosimeter or if customs would take issue. I would be curious to see how much radiation one does suck up over a trip that doesn't include Tohoku.

TC said...

Yes, the myth that Japan is technologically advanced is just that - a myth. The reality is that Japan is years behind the rest of the world technologically and decades behind culturally. It is still a wonderful place, but it is stuck in the past. This is what happens when to question the status quo is culturally taboo. Stagnation is the result.

Anonymous said...

Decades behind culturally? That's new. Never heard of that.

Anonymous said...

I have reposted my message several times to that page but they have continually deleted it and also now blocked me from commenting on their page. I guess they do not want anyone preventing their propaganda from spreading.

My message was:
Instead of using the Internet to spread propaganda to attempt to increase your tourism revenues shouldn't you instead be focusing efforts on evacuating the innocent souls living within the Fukushima area?

It is very interesting and shows the true colors of Japan that you are more interested in tourism $$$ than the health of the people. Will you be providing cancer insurance and Geiger counters for those who visit Japan? Can you guarantee that the food tourists consume will be free of radioactive fallout particles from Fukushima Daiichi? I imagine the answer is a straight "no" to all of the above. Where are your morals and priorities? Truly disgusting.

**Update: your repeated deletion of this post simply underlines your intention and shows your true colors to the world. Your ancestors would be extremely ashamed.

It would be great it others could post messages to this page to try to stop their propaganda to drum up tourism despite the safety issues. Please be civil in your message of course. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Everytime I see this kind of propaganda, I imagine how all that money could have been invested in ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THE NUCLEAR PLANTS.

Anonymous said...

Might look a bit OT - but in fact it is not,
Forget about the old Excel and the colors, the problem is it's MS proprietary software. Should one buy MS software to answer to government's files, like this one, or to the Revenue Service?
There is reliable unix-like open-source software that has'nt been Microsoftified nor Sonied nor Tepcoed which would better fit a democracy.
A number of countries and gov. apparels are now using them with very good results, getting rid of the useless CIA-MS misleading propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Following previous post at 8:28
Not that you could'nt blank 95 % of a pdf file with open source software, of course.
BTW I was in Japan march-april 2011, and was so stressed I started to write a blog - anonymously, but my close friends could get info then.
My own little bird did not tweet a very pleasant song, although in no way fear mongering. Just facts - some of them were charming, others were scary.

Post a Comment