By NICK PAUL, Associated PressAUSTRALIA (AP) Japan’s media companies are the most dangerous players in Asia and a threat to stability, an influential think tank said on Thursday.
The Japan Foundation for Asia and Pacific Studies said that while Chinese and Korean media companies have dominated in the region for decades, the media sector in Japan has grown exponentially in the past decade, with new entrants taking a bigger share of the pie.
The government has been cracking down on media monopolies, but the group said there are signs that consolidation is taking place.
The think tank’s research found that while the number of television stations in Japan increased by 60 percent in the last decade, the number and number of radio stations dropped by 40 percent.
The number of newspapers and magazines in Japan dropped by nearly 80 percent.
The foundation said it is concerned about the future of Japan’s economy and its future in a region where competition for market share and investment are high.
The government has pledged to rein in media conglomerates and limit their influence over policy, but some media groups are already trying to challenge the authority of the government.
“If the Japanese government is really serious about protecting Japan, then it needs to change the way it operates in Japan, to make it more efficient, more transparent, and more responsive to the needs of the people,” said Akira Nishimura, director of the foundation’s media and technology division.
A new, decentralized media market is being formed, the foundation said.
Konkukan Media Group, the company that owns TV stations in the capital Tokyo, is a new player.
Its owner, Konkukans Media, bought the Tokyo TV station from a group of Japanese media owners that was formed to fight against consolidation in Japan in the 1990s.
It is also planning to buy another TV station, in Osaka, and launch a new TV network, which would be a hybrid of TV and radio.
It will use a network of smaller stations.