From the Editor

Justin McCurry

The allegations of sexual assault against Hitoshi Matsumoto, one of Japan’s most recognisable tarento, has reignited debate on the media’s role in bringing claims of historical abuse to light – or simply ignoring them in the hope that they will go away. The lingering fallout from the Johnny Kitagawa abuse scandal may have made the latter course of action less likely – although many outlets continue to tiptoe around the Matsumoto story – but allegations of sexual crimes inevitably pose problems for journalists, who are expected to report with sensitivity and accuracy … and not land their employers in the libel courts. In this month’s cover story David McNeill uses the Matsumoto case and others to look at how anonymous sources can be a journalistic curse as well as a blessing. As speculation rose of a possible visit to Pyongyang by Fumio Kishida, Anthony Trotter looks back at decades of pain for the families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea. In their regular columns, Philip Brasor reviews the frictions behind planned extensions to the Hokuriku Shinkansen, and Eric Johnston dissects a recent legal setback for an Ainu campaign to secure commercial salmon fishing rights in Hokkaido. In a change of pace, Stephen Mansfield takes us on a journey through Japanese gardens as imagined by the celebrated designer Shigemori Mirei.

Cover artwork: Julio Shiiki - Images: Unsplash