Peter Alford and David McNeill "Stop the Press? The Sankei and the State of Japan’s Newspaper Industry," The Asia-Pacific Journal, 10-4-10, March 8, 2010
このテクストは前半をDavid McNeill氏が、後半をPeter Alford氏が執筆している。
What about Japan? For years, Japanese newspaper circulations seemed to defy gravity, held aloft by the industry’s unusual success in scoring and holding subscriptions. Direct deliveries to homes, backed by famously tenacious distribution networks, account for over 90 percent of all sales in Japan, according to Laurie Anne Freeman, author of Closing The Shop. As Tokyo correspondent Peter Alford explains in this piece for The Australian, newspaper circulation here has held “remarkably steady”, losing less than 1.5 percent in a decade. Yomiuri editor in chief and chairman Tsuneo Watanabe claims his company has lost just one percent of its enormous readership. Japan still boasts 51.5 million average daily sales with virtually every household receiving one or more of the big dailies: The Asahi, Yomiuri, Mainichi, Nikkei and Sankei. It is one of the few advanced countries with a daily communist newspaper, Akahata, which claims a daily circulation of over 1.6 million. And let’s not forget the Soka-Gakkai-affiliated Seikyo, with a claimed circulation of 5.5 million.
Slowly, however, the gravity-defying circulations appear to be heading for earth. ABC statistics on the main morning-edition circulation for 2006 to 2009 show that every Japanese newspaper recorded a loss of sales, except the business-oriented Nikkei. In relative terms, the declines are tiny: the world’s best-selling newspaper, the conservative Yomiuri is down from 10,042,075 to 10,018,117; the liberal-left Asahi from 8,093,885 to 8,031,579; the liberal Mainichi has taken a more substantial hit, from just under 4 million to 3.8 million. The Nikkei is up slightly from 3,034,481 to 3,052,929. Perhaps more indicative, and worrying, for the industry is the sharp drop in advertising revenues: from one trillion yen in 2007 to an estimated 600 billion in 2009, a year in which online advertisements continued to grow. In 2009, online advertisements increased by 1.2% to 707 billion yen, with the internet surpassing newspapers as the No. 2 medium for ads, trailing only television's 1.7 trillion yen, according to data released on February 22 by Dentsu. In that year, reflecting the economic meltdown, total ad revenues plunged by 11.5%, including 12% for newspapers and 19% for magazines. But it is the fate of the rightwing Sankei, down from 2,191,587 to 1,846,591, which takes up most of Alford’s analysis here. As he says, 2008 January-June sales (combined morning and afternoon) of Japan’ smallest daily dropped 14.7 percent.
という推測（speculation）がなされている。古森義久*1が”a revisionist well known in Washington circles”だというのはくすくす笑ってしまったが、今引用した箇所に続いて、”Could its decline be part of the wider weakening of the conservative movement?”という疑問文でパラグラフが締めくくられているように、これはあくまでも推測（speculation）。「時代精神」が産経にとって逆風なのか順風なのかはわからない。産経の落ち込みの直接の原因はiPhoneであり、McNeill氏によれば、産経の危機というのは日本の新聞が潜在的に抱える危機をラディカルに体現していることになる；
(…) it is possible to at least speculate that it may also have fallen victim to the changing zeitgeist, it’s conservative populism no longer in favor since the doomed regime of Abe Shinzo. Part of the Fuji-Sankei conglomerate, the newspaper was one of the staunchest mainstream supporters of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and his agenda, and championed a notorious nationalist high-school textbook (published by a company within the Fujisankei group) that attempted to whitewash Japan’s colonial record in Asia. Its columnists included rightwing Tokyo governor Ishihara Shintaro and Komori Yoshihisa, a revisionist well known in Washington circles.
Staring into the abyss, the Sankei took the radical step last December of making their newspaper available free to anyone with an iPhone and, Alford speculates, “stopped playing oshigami.” The results have been discouraging: revenue is down and he says some industry watchers believe the 76-year-old publication may have cut its own throat. Although still some way off, the collapse of one of Japan’s Big Five newspapers would cause tremors in an industry that appeared, until recently, invincible.