Huffington Post launches Japanese edition with Asahi
Agence France-Press in Tokyo
US news website and content aggregator The Huffington Post has launched a Japanese edition, hoping to shake up the media landscape and generate discussion with readers.
Founder Arianna Huffington said the site would offer a forum for "civil" debate on social, political and economic issues at a time of societal change.
"This is truly a pivotal moment in the history of Japan," Huffington said in Tokyo, highlighting economic changes under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has pushed to amend Japan's constitution - a subject of lively conversation.
The tie-up with the masscirculation Asahi daily came after parliament lifted a ban on internet electioneering, permitting candidates and their supporters to tweet, use Facebook and write blogs on the campaign trail. The first national elections under the new rules are expected in the summer, when half of the upper house seats will be contested.
Although they are slowly losing readers, Japan's newspapers have suffered less attrition than their counterparts in other developed countries, with four of the world's top six newspapers by circulation being Japanese, thanks in large part to an efficient home-delivery system. However, despite a well-developed internet system throughout urban Japan, newspapers and other publications have been slow to make the shift to digital, and their websites are relatively underdeveloped.