When Arab News arrived in Japan

Ali Itani, region head for Japan of Arab News, Faisal J Abbas, the paper’s editor-in-chief, and Abe Shinzo, the Japanese Prime Minister in Riyadh. (AN)
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Updated 20 April 2020

When Arab News arrived in Japan

  • In a first for a media outlet in the Arab world, we launched an online edition in Japanese
  • The launch took place in Tokyo on Oct. 21, 2019, the day before Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement

TOKYO: On Oct. 21, 2019, Arab News did something no other media outlet from the Arab world has done: Launch a dedicated online edition in Japanese, as part of its ongoing global expansion.

The launch, which took place in Tokyo the day before the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito, was a reflection of the cordial business, trading and cultural relations between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The news website, www.arabnews.jp, which is available in both Japanese and English, focuses on enabling an exchange of information between Japan and the Arab world in a number of fields, including business, current affairs, and arts and culture.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Kono Taro, the Japanese minister of defense, said: “It will be good to have news in Japanese so many Japanese can read about the Arab world.

“We need to know what people in the Middle East are actually thinking, what is happening on a daily basis, and we didn’t have a source for that, but now Arab News is in Japan.”

Kono reacted with great encouragement when Faisal J. Abbas, the editor-in-chief of Arab News, raised the idea of a Japanese edition of the newspaper when he met Kono, at the time the minister of foreign affairs, for an interview in July, 2019. Japan hosted the G20 last year, before a historic handover of the presidency to Saudi Arabia for 2020. The Kingdom is the first Arab and Islamic country afforded the honor.

The Japanese edition of Arab News is the first international edition published in a language other than English, and the second after the successful launch of Arab News Pakistan edition. The launches are in line with what Abbas described as “part of our more digital, more global direction.”

“Japan is a long-time, reliable strategic partner and friend,” Majid Al-Qasabi, the Saudi minister for commerce and investment, said during the launch in Tokyo.

“Since 1955, business has been great between the two countries. We appreciate all the cooperation, the partnerships and the business with the Japanese community. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a special relationship, especially the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, with the new Emperor.

“We hope that Japan will have a fruitful future and I would like to congratulate Arab News; this is a great opportunity, a moment in history.”

Koike Yuriko, the first female governor of Tokyo, also congratulated Arab News at the launch of the Japanese edition. She is no stranger to the Middle East and the Arab world: she spent five years in Cairo in the 1970s, and studied Arabic at the American University in the Egyptian capital, graduating in sociology.

Less than three months after its launch, Arab News Japan was quoted by Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Motegi Toshimitsu during a press briefing. He cited a special report by the newspaper titled “How Arabs view Japan,” which was based on a survey conducted by Arab News in conjunction with YouGov. The report, which asked more than 3,000 Arabs in 18 countries for their views and perspectives on Japan, was widely circulated in the Japanese media.

Arab News Japan was also in a unique position when former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn fled from Japan to Lebanon while facing allegations of financial improprieties in his business activities. It was able to deliver regular updates and reports about the case, including exclusive interviews carried out in Lebanon, to the Japanese people in their own language.

This year began with a landmark visit by Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to Saudi Arabia to discuss matters of State with King Salman in Riyadh and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in AlUla.

Arab News produced extensive coverage of the three-day visit to the region, including a special edition printed to mark the occasion. In addition, the newspaper was honored when the prime minister personally thanked the editor in chief for the launch of the Japanese edition during a private meeting, at which Abe was presented with a special hand-drawn cover in Japanese welcoming him to the Kingdom.

• Ali Saleh Itani is the region head for Japan at Arab News and oversees ANJP.

 


Facebook Journalism Project and ICFJ launch fund to support Lebanon’s news industry

Updated 13 August 2020

Facebook Journalism Project and ICFJ launch fund to support Lebanon’s news industry

  • The new program will support local media outlets

The Facebook Journalism Project, in collaboration with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), has announced that it will invest $300,000 in a program that aims to support the stabilization and recovery needs of journalists and news organizations in Lebanon affected by the Beirut explosion.

The new program called “Supporting Beirut: Response and Recovery Fund” will assist in supporting local media outlets that have suffered damage to infrastructure and resources.

ICFJ and Facebook will award $150,000 in emergency relief funds to Beirut-based news organizations and journalists directly impacted by the blast and in need of urgent financial support.

The first phase of this program will involve identifying Lebanese news organizations and journalists who require financial support. These journalists and news organizations will then be able to apply for immediate emergency relief grants. ICFJ will award grants to select Beirut-based news organizations and journalists who meet a set criteria.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Lebanon and everyone affected by this immeasurable tragedy,” said Mohamed Omar, news partnerships manager, Middle East and North Africa, at Facebook. “We’ve been getting regular updates from our contacts in Beirut; the damage to the city’s infrastructure, including its many newsrooms, is enormous. In spite of these devastating circumstances, the news industry is working hard, under extraordinary conditions, to keep people informed and updated,” he said.

“We applaud their efforts and are continuously working with our partners to both understand their needs and support them the best we can,” he added.

ICFJ, a non-profit organization focused on raising the quality of journalism worldwide, will mobilize its local networks to implement a two-phase response and recovery initiative for the Beirut crisis.

Sharon Moshavi, ICFJ’s senior vice president for new initiatives, said: “People turn to local journalists for critical information on how to keep their friends, families and communities safe. As the impact of the devastating explosion continues to unfold in Beirut, ICFJ is prepared to work with the Facebook Journalism Project to provide tailored support to Lebanese journalists and news organizations that are providing critical information to a nation in crisis.”

The Facebook Journalism Project and ICFJ will offer additional, deeper support to select Beirut-based news organizations during phase two, depending on the longer-term impacts of the crisis.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it would donate more than $2.1 million to local hospitals, medical institutions and NGOs to support relief and recovery efforts, $1 million of which has been matched by its community as part of a Facebook fundraiser.