Terrie's Take 734 -- Japan Times Pay Wall, ebiz news from Japan

Terrie's Take terrie at mailman.japaninc.com
Mon Nov 11 00:31:51 JST 2013

* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E 'S T A K E * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.

General Edition Sunday, Nov 10, 2013, Issue No. 734


- What's New -- Japan Times Pay Wall
- News -- Families with no savings increases to 50-year high
- Web Content/Tech Job Vacancies
- Upcoming Events
- Corrections/Feedback
- Travel Picks -- Americana in Okinawa, Prayers in Kyoto
- News Credits

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While researching for today's Take, we happened to visit the
www.japantimes.co.jp website, a normally very good source of local
in-depth news and opinion, especially news that is relevant to
resident foreigners, such as proposed new legislation, crimes and
punishment, and the background to political events. In this respect,
the Japan Times is a valuable and badly needed community resource, and
represents a viewpoint that is outside the official Japanese reporting
world (i.e., the canned output you might read on Kyodo).

Unfortunately, this could be the last time in November that we view
the Japan Times website, because we were greeted with a notice that
the newspaper now has a pay wall. Nonetheless, thinking that maybe our
once-a-week visit could be bought for an exchange of personal
information, much like the NY Times (the Japan Times' partner
nowadays), we checked out the terms and conditions. Sure enough, there
is text of a "Free" option that allows up to 20 articles a month to be
accessed in exchange for an email address. Only problem is, the option
is poorly worded, and it took a while to realize that the Japan Times
"Member" option is their code word for the free services as well.

Then, reading through the contract, because we are interested in such
details, we found two rather unhappy requirements from the Japan
Times. Firstly, members are not allowed to reproduce articles in any
way at all -- unless you happen to be an expert in interpreting the
Copyright Law of Japan. The contract even goes to the extent of
stating in a subsequent clause that the Japan Times might have rights
beyond the copyright law. Maybe it's not their intent, but the
contract appears to even prevent people from a popular weekend
activity -- extracting interesting parts of Japan Times articles and
replaying them to friends abroad on Facebook.

[Continued below...]

----------- JAPANTOURIST Promotions Coming Up -------------

If you haven't visited www.japantourist.jp recently, you'll be wanting
to keep an eye on the website over the next 4 weeks, as the team gives
away dozens of hotel nights across the country and some return
airfares to the USA, to registered users. Registration is easy, just
go to the link below and leave your email address. You can either earn
points by making contributions, or just sit back and wait for the
JapanTourist newsletter to give you ideas on where to spend your next
holiday in Japan. As always, we never share your personal data with
anyone else.

Register at: http://en.japantourist.jp/register/contributor/

[...Article continues]

Overreaction by us? Maybe, but here is the wording of the relevant
section of the contract. Actually, come to think of it, even our
reproducing this wording would be a breach...

Section.21 (Prohibition of reproduction, publication, etc.)
1. Members shall not reproduce, translate, adapt, broadcast, publish,
distribute or lend, or the like (hereinafter collectively called
"Reproduce") the content of the Site, or the screen displaying the
content in whole or in part (hereinafter collectively called the "Site
Content"), beyond the scope of private use or quotation permitted by
the Copyright Act of Japan. Reproduction of the Site Content or a
summary thereof without permission from the Company may be a violation
of the Copyright Law of Japan.
2. In addition to copyright infringement, reproduction of any article
title, summary or explanation of the contents of the Site, or words or
phrases from advertisements on the Site may constitute a violation of
the rights of the Company.
3. Members may browse or listen to the contents of the Site to the
extent such activities constitute "reproduction for private use"
permitted by the Copyright Law of Japan. However, only Members may
browse or listen to such content regardless of whether the purpose is
commercial or non-commercial.

As you can see, the last sentence of item #3 is quite aggressive and
is particularly Facebook unfriendly.

Then, secondly, in another section, there is mention of damages for
breach of contract. Is the Japan Times really going to sue its readers
for sharing an article? This all seems pretty harsh for a newspaper
that is supposed to represent the interests of the foreign community
in Japan, and we'd call on the publisher of the Japan Times to loosen
up a bit, or be prepared to lose a lot more readers. Yes, the paper is
a great source of information, but it's not the only source, and while
there are still many other publishers who don't charge, it makes sense
to keep that "freemium" end of the funnel a friendly place if you want
to convert the free members into paying ones later.

Which brings us to a major question: will the Japan Times' pay wall
strategy actually work?

There is a huge debate going on internationally about pay walls. We
all know about the success of the Wall Street Journal and its ability
to grow revenues on subscriptions after introducing a pay wall. Our
theory is that if you're in the finance business and you are not
reading a newspaper that has the power to move markets, then you're
not going to be in business for long. In this respect, the Nikkei here
in Japan has been successful with its pay wall as well -- even in
English, which we regularly quote in our newsletter. They once
indicated to us that they had more than 40,000 paying subscribers to
their English service, which seems pretty healthy.

In March 2012 a more generalized publication, the NY Times, went to a
pay wall, and it is doing exceedingly well, with around US$150m
annually coming from digital subscribers. Further, the NYT said
recently that its circulation revenue now exceeds ad revenue. The NYT
experiment is being closely watched by others, and apparently as many
as 450 of the USA's 1,380 daily newspapers are now either implementing
pay walls or are in the process of doing so, including many smaller
regional papers.

Like the Japan Times, which last year had an ABC-stated circulation of
27,225 copies, U.S. regional newspapers such as those in the Gannet
group, have small localized readerships of between 10,000-50,000.
Although there are no specific pay wall statistics available yet,
early 2013 numbers appear to indicate that subscription income for
these newspapers was up about 5% over last year, the first time in a
long time that this has happened. So maybe they are really are making
money out of pay walls after all? The common wisdom is that so long as
they keep subscription prices low, to around Apple Store pricing, and
that the information is local and is otherwise hard to find, then
people will just find it easier to pay than go without.

So maybe the Japan Times can achieve success with their pay wall too.
Their pricing is not bad, at JPY900 for 80 stories a month and
JPY3,000 stories for unlimited use of the site. We could imagine their
signing up a couple of thousand people providing the editorial level
remains high. The main problem (apart from the usage policy) is that
there is the perception by foreign readers that the Japan Times is
diluting their local coverage with the International New York Times
tie-up, and calls into question whether paying a subscription for news
that may not be relevant or which has alternative sources on Google
and other websites is a good deal or not.

If we were the Japan Times, we would consider breaking out a
subscription for Japan content only, and make the re-use policy a lot
more flexible. As an example, when we spoke to the Nikkei some years
ago about our commentary on their articles and their re-use policy,
they agreed that we sent enough traffic to them via article links that
our coverage was basically good marketing for them. Similarly, every
time a foreign resident posts a Japan Times article on their blog or
Facebook, they're providing the newspaper with free marketing, some of
which will convert into more paying customers along the way.

...The information janitors/


+++ NEWS

- Spent fuel transfers to start at Fukushima
- Families with no savings increases to 50-year high
- Food scandal hits Japanese high-end establishments
- China pollution hits Kyushu again
- Yet other EC shipper from Japan

=> Spent fuel transfers to start at Fukushima

One of the most dangerous phases of the Fukushima nuclear power plant
clean up is about to start, when TEPCO starts transferring 1,500 spent
fuel rods from the No 4 reactor building to special transportation
containers. There are significant risks involved with the operation,
which will take at least until the end of 2014. The assemblies are
extremely fragile and experts have warned that the slots they are
engaged in probably have debris in them which will hinder their smooth
removal. Breakage, water leakage, toppling or collapse of the spent
fuel pool due to another earthquake, and a variety of other potential
accidents could result in fresh radiation being released into the
atmosphere. ***Ed: Oh, and before we forget, Reactor No. 4, is only
the first challenge, TEPCO then has to figure out how to remove molten
fuel from the other three reactors -- but then that work isn't
scheduled until around 2019 (or, our guess, 2021, after the
Olympics).** (Source: TT commentary from theguardian.com, Nov 6, 2013)


=> Families with no savings increases to 50-year high

The number of households with no financial assets rose to a 50-year
high this year, with 31% having no buffer at all, up from 26% from
last year. The number was derived from a Bank of Japan survey of 8,000
households consisting of two or more people. Of those 5,600 households
which did have assets, many had falling assets, and 40% seeing such a
decrease said the main reason was falling regular income, which forced
them to tap their savings. Wages in Japan fell for the 16th month in a
row last month. ***Ed: Of course not everyone is seeing falling
incomes, and those households which owned assets (particularly stocks)
in fact on average saw their holdings increase from JPY15.39m last
year to JPY16.45m this year. But we note that there is still only a
small percentage of households, about 15%, that actually own stocks.**
(Source: TT commentary from bloomberg.com, Nov 8, 2013)


=> Food scandal hits Japanese high-end establishments

If you watch the news in Japanese, you'll have been entertained over
the last couple of weeks by various high-end brand names being outed
for switching expensive cuts of meat, fish, and other ingredients with
much cheaper foreign versions. Hankyu hotel chain was the first to be
caught out, when it came to light that they were selling Brazilian
chicken as Japanese-grown. They were quickly followed by a variety of
famous brands admitting similar consumer fraud. While there has been
plenty of embarrassment to go around, there apparently will be no
legal actions because in Japan is it not technically illegal to have a
menu that describes a product different to the one you actually get
served. ***Ed: However, given the fuss being made, we imagine there
will be a lot of chefs taking extra care in the future to get their
labelling right.** (Source: TT commentary from theaustralian.com.au,
Nov 9, 2013)


=> China pollution hits Kyushu again

While Kyushu's proximity to Korea and China ensures that the island
stays popular with tourists from both countries, it is in the spring
and fall that the closeness also becomes a liability, because that's
when the pollution from China is blown across the Sea of Japan by the
seasonal winds. Authorities in Kyushu are warning that PM2.5
particulate matter is at high levels (35ugm/cu. m. or more) and that
residents with allergies needed to stay indoors or wear masks.
Although the Japanese safety level for PM2.5 particulates is 35ugm
over 24 hours, the central government doesn't start issuing warnings
until the level hits double that. ***Ed: Of course whatever hits
Kyushu is only a fraction of what people have to deal with in China
itself. Beijing PM2.5 readings on Friday morning hit 179ugm/cu.m.,
while in Nanjing, they were 291ugm...! (Source: TT commentary from
japantimes.co.jp, Nov 8, 2013)


=> Yet other EC shipper from Japan

Those 1m+ Japanese living overseas must really hanker for food and
apparel from home, because yet another major eCommerce player,
Kakaku.com, has announced that it will start shipping goods to
purchasers overseas. They will be competing with firms like  Netprice,
whose www.tenso.com site has been shipping to shoppers abroad for over
5 years and now has about 230,000 members. What's a bit different
about Kakaku.com is that you can search for products through their
single interface, and apparently this will be available shortly in
English, Chinese, and Korean, as well as Japanese. ***Ed: These
services will go a long way to helping Japanese companies unable to
overcome the international language/shipping barrier to find new
customers.** (Source: TT commentary from e.nikkei.com, Nov 6, 2013)


NOTE: Broken links
Some online news sources remove their articles after just a few days
of posting them, thus breaking our links -- we apologize for the



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grow the sales team to 6-10 people over the next 12 months. The role
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- Bilingual account manager for major tourism portal
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----------------- ICA Event - November 29th-----------------

Speaker: Stephen Givens, Corporate Lawyer based in Japan
Title: "Does Softbank Know What It is Doing Outside Japan?"

Details: Complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/

Date: Friday, November 29th, 2013
Time: 6:30 Doors open, Buffet Dinner included and cash bar
Cost: 4,000 yen (members), 6,000 yen (non-members) Open to all. No
sign ups at the door!!!!!!!
RSVP: RSVP by 10am on Monday 25th November, 2013. Venue is The Foreign
Correspondents' Club of Japan




=> No comments this week.


---------------- Help Still Needed in Tohoku --------------

The Japan Emergency Team, operator of Japan`s only Disaster Relief
Vehicle is asking for help to keep the Disaster Relief Vehicle
running. The DRV, a 30 foot converted Motorhome sleeps up to ten, has
shower, cooking, facilities and is still on site in Tohoku where it
assisted in providing showers, food and emergency assistance as it
still does. In addition it has a mobile `convenience store` which
provides necessities to those in temporary housing.

The Japan Emergency Team was formed in 1989 when 38 students from Chuo
University went to assist in the San Francisco Earthquake making
history as the first overseas disaster assistance from Japan. When
there is not an ongoing disaster in progress the DRV visits schools,
government and other events to promote disaster awareness and is as
much in demand when there is a disaster as when there is not.

Sponsorship includes a logo on the side of the DRV, participation in
regular disaster awareness events and more. Those able to help are
asked to contact team at jhelp.com for a sponsorship packet or to invite
the DRV to an event.



=> Aharen Beach's Dive Shop & Pension, Okinawa
Diver, Singer, Lemonade Maker

The people of Japan had a long love affair with all things American.
Well, not all Japanese, but at Half Time, an eclectic blend of dive
shop, Japanese style guesthouse, and a lazy "relax anytime" bar, you
will find the Stars and Stripes held in high regard.

Daizo san is the second owner of Half Time and continues the tradition
of Americana here in Aharen Beach, a village better known for its
Okinawa Soba, folk festivals and suntanned fishermen. His blonde hair
reminds me of a quintessential Japanese rock singer. Despite
appearances he is gently spoken, and very relaxed. Five years of
living in this beach side paradise must have soaked into his persona.


=> Jishu Shrine and San-nen-zaka, Kyoto
The first spiritual visit of the New Year

Kyoto is a city of prayers. Thousands of temples and shrines dot this
town, in labyrinthine alleys, nested into the folds of the surrounding
hills. I was wondering if any difficult challenges in my public or
private life would lie before me this year. So I chose Kiyomizu Temple
for my first spiritual visit of the new year in order to face those
challenges like a leap in the dark as if I were jumping down from the
Kiyomizu-no-Butai itself.

It is said that the slope of Sannenzaka leading to Kiyomizu Temple has
its origin coming from the word "San-nei" which means "easy delivery"
(of babies). After I put my hands together in prayer before the
principal image of Kiyomizu Temple, I walked round to Jishu Shrine,
which stands behind Kiyomizu Temple.

Jishu Shrine is said to answer prayers of marriage so frequently that
it's crawling with young women wondering about their future. It is
also dedicated to the Seven Divinities of Good Luck called
Shichi-fuku-jin. It is said that we should make prayers of gratitude
here instead of making wishes. Your chants should be something along
the lines of, "Thanks to the Gods for always watching over me. Thanks
to the Gods that all of my family spent happy days this year in good
health. Thank you again..."




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Written by: Terrie Lloyd (terrie.lloyd at japaninc.com)

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