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Mainichi closes controversial English-language Web page : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)
DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE + AP Associated Press
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Mainichi closes controversial English-language Web page

The Mainichi Newspapers decided to shut down a controversial section of its Mainichi Daily News English-language Web site, in response to increasing public criticism, the newspaper announced Tuesday.

The Mainichi said that some articles carried in the section, which was titled WaiWai, were found to be "too vulgar" and carried "inappropriate content."

It also decided to take punitive measures against the head of its Digital Media Division, which is responsible for overseeing the site, the manager responsible for the section, and the editor in charge.

The section in question was designed to introduce various aspects of Japanese society as well as its manners and customs by quoting reports in Japanese weekly magazines, the newspaper said.

However, the corner reportedly began carrying sensationalized stories on dubious topics containing seriously vulgar expressions over at least the past six years, with headlines such as "Fast food sends schoolgirls into sexual feeding frenzy."

Consequently, the section drew criticism from readers, who complained its stories were "too vulgar and debauching Japan by sending around the world information that could be misunderstood."

In late May, the Mainichi took measures to resolve the problem, withdrawing problematic stories from the site and changing WaiWai's editorial policy, the newspaper said.

However, the newspaper eventually decided to shut down the column last Saturday, concluding that it would be necessary to fundamentally overhaul it with the goal of establishing a sound editorial structure.

"The internal checking system was lenient. We sincerely apologize to our readers for making them feel uncomfortable," a Mainichi spokesperson said.

(Jun. 25, 2008)
AP News
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