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.

 


How brands are celebrating Saudi National Day

Updated 24 September 2020

How brands are celebrating Saudi National Day

RIYADH: The 90th Saudi National Day is one of pride and celebration not only for the people of the Kingdom – but brands too. From offering discounts, to musical playlists, and social media events, here’s how brands are joining in:

Amazon.sa

In celebration of National Day in Saudi Arabia, Amazon.sa is running a sale until Sept. 26 offering discounts of up to 70 percent. It represents the first National Day sale for Amazon.sa, which launched earlier in the year for customers in the Kingdom.

Careem

Careem KSA is celebrating by offering people getting engaged on its social media platform a chance to win gold bars and coins.

Twitter

With current circumstances changing the way people celebrate, and to mark the Kingdom’s 90th National Day, Twitter launched a 90-minute trivia quiz via its @TwitterMENA account in the region. The virtual celebration challenges people on their knowledge about the Kingdom, from historical moments and culinary arts, to hidden gems and sporting prowess.

Twitter teamed up with a series of Saudi experts, covering a wide range of sectors including travel, food, history, entertainment, education, and sports.

The experts, including Abdullah Al-Jumah (@AAlJumah), Abdul Aziz Alyami (@azeez000a), Dr. Bandar Alghamiz (@BAlghmaiz), Bader Al-Fouzan (@B_alfouzan), Malk Alsulaimy (@ARCH1993), and Abdulelah Alfares (@AbdulelahAlfars), also supported the campaign by sharing hints and insights about the topics.

In addition, Twitter has created an emoji of the Saudi flag that is triggered whenever the following hashtags are tweeted throughout the month of September: #SaudiNationalDay; #SaudiNationalDay2020; and #SaudiNationalDay90.

A dedicated event page in both Arabic and English will also be launched, providing people with real-time updates on activities, including videos and Moments (collections of tweets). The event page will be accessible through either the Twitter Explore section or on top of people’s timelines, for those who have already engaged with #SaudiNationalDay content on Twitter. Alternatively, people can find the page by searching Saudi National Day on Twitter.

Snapchat

To celebrate the 90th Saudi National Day, Snapchat’s official lens creator, Fahad Mutlaq, has created an anti-reflection (AR) lens that allows Snapchatters to celebrate the event even when physically apart, giving them the chance to share cool snaps while celebrating at home.

Abdulla Al-Hammadi, regional business lead at Snap Inc., said: “We are committed to bringing AR experiences to Snapchatters in the KSA. Given the exceptional times that the world is going through due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this lens comes to provide our community in Saudi Arabia with the chance to express their love for their country while they are celebrating National Day.”

Mutlaq said: “Creating an interactive lens that allows Snapchatters to celebrate this occasion from home, using the Kingdom’s official National Day slogan, colors, and logo, has been an absolute honor.

“By leveraging the power of AR, Snapchat has been bringing exceptional experiences to Snapchatters in the Kingdom, allowing them to create memorable, interactive moments on unique occasions such as the Saudi National Day.”

Emirates NBD

The 90th Saudi National Day comes amid a challenging year on all levels. Emirates NBD wanted this film to act as a thank you letter on behalf of all Saudis to those who have helped the Kingdom reach its 90th National Day safely – the heroes who have relentlessly and responsibly worked behind the scenes hand-in-hand with the government to ensure people’s safety, making the Kingdom a safe land full of blessings.

The film celebrates Saudi National Day through an emotional script, written in a poetic way and complemented by a musical score that goes along with a compilation of footage showing people and scenery from throughout the Kingdom.

Deezer

The global music streaming service Deezer launched a campaign called “Let’s sing for the homeland,” inviting all music fans to use a specially designed online feature to nominate songs that best express the love that people have for the Kingdom.

The final compilation of songs, unveiled on Saudi National Day under the banner “Saudi Flow: Le Noghani Lel Watan,” offers a unique musical experience created by music fans and curated by Deezer to celebrate the country. The campaign aims to bring the nation closer together through music.

Tarek Mounir, Deezer CEO for the Middle East, North Africa (MENA), and Turkey said: “We want every music fan to be able to celebrate their love for this beautiful and spirited country. We have imagined ‘Let’s sing for the homeland’ as a place where people can come together as one, united by music.

“Saudi Flow will reflect the nation’s musical DNA. I would like to invite everyone to join the online celebrations and create the nation’s first flow.”

Saudi Flow has been inspired by Deezer’s signature feature Flow, which is based on a proprietary algorithm and recommendations from its professional music editors. It offers an endless mix of old favorites and new recommendations in one ever-evolving stream.

While Deezer’s algorithm is responsible for presenting every listener’s personal preferences, the flow of a whole country should reflect the preferences of its people, but it is still supported by Deezer’s editors and technology.

Join the celebrations today and nominate your song by visiting http://nationaldayplaylist.com.

Ithra

As national identity remains resolute in the face of a global pandemic, Ithra, the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture, is proud to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s 90th National Day with a host of activities dedicated to the Kingdom’s culture.

Ithra’s National Day offering runs until Sept. 26 with events including exhibitions, family activities, storytelling, a game competition, Saudi cuisine, workshops, poetry, music, dance, and folk performances.

Highlights include the opening of the Kingdom of Cultures exhibit, which takes visitors through Saudi Arabia’s varied landscapes to meet its diverse people and experience its rich cultural legacy. It will run for 90 days.

Takya is a fine-dining experience featuring an innovative blend of authentic, fusion, and contemporary cuisine. There is also The Market, which brings creativity and design into Khobar with a reimagining of the central vegetable market in Al-Ulaya with an artist area, performances, and food trucks.

Al-Farabi band accompanied by Abeer Balubaid on piano and singer Ameen Farsi headline the music program, while Abdulatif bin Yousef presents poetry night.