September 1, 2008

MDN launches revamped site, renews apology

The Mainichi Newspapers has revamped its English Web site, The Mainichi Daily News (MDN).

Based on many opinions received from readers, the MDN will place importance on content from the Mainichi Shimbun -- news, commentary and reviews. We will translate Mainichi Shimbun editorials, columns and commentary pieces by prominent figures, such as "Jidai-no-Kaze" (Sign of the Times) into English. We have adopted a new masthead and site design.

We have re-established a strong editing system to check articles and select appropriate feature stories, based on our regrets that we carried an unverified, inappropriate column in the past. We have set up an advisory group to the MDN comprising Sadaaki Numata, former Japanese ambassador to Canada; Andrew Horvat, visiting professor at Tokyo Keizai University; and Susan Millington, a freelance writer. We will ask the group for opinions on a regular basis and will introduce their views on the site. We will also utilize their experience in operating the site.

We are determined to do our best to serve as an international media organization that dispatches accurate and appropriate news about Japan to the world.

MDN aims for reliability in renewed site

The Mainichi Newspapers has revamped The Mainichi Daily News' (MDN) editorial structure prior to its fresh start on Sept. 1. On this occasion, we would like to apologize again for the WaiWai column, which was carried in our paper version since October 1989 and in our online version from April 2001.

On June 21, we shut down the column and took measures to block access to past articles in the column. We are continuing to request Web sites and blogs carrying past WaiWai articles to delete them, as many of the articles carried in the column went far beyond the bounds of common sense and should not have been released either in Japan or abroad.

The WaiWai column used articles from magazines published in Japan without permission from their publishers. Information that was apparently not accurate was translated into English and republished, and some of the articles contained inappropriate additions. The column carried information that could have led to misunderstandings about Japan and its people, or certain countries and professions, over a long period of time.

It was an unacceptable act as a media organization that betrayed the confidence of our readers, and we sincerely apologize again for causing trouble to many people.

After we carried our apology and reports on our inspection of the issue in the July 20 morning edition of the Mainichi Shimbun and its Web site in both Japanese and English, we have been receiving criticism and reproaches from many people. We take those opinions seriously, and will do our utmost to ensure that this will never happen again.

The Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd.