Made-Up Japanese Sex StoriesS

The good news: Everything you ever read about the sexual perversities of the Japanese may still by true. The bad: If you read it in the "WaiWai" column of the Mainichi Daily News, it probably isn't. The English-language version of popular Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun has been inventing all its best kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original. As it turns out, moms are not blowing their sons to get them to study harder, there is no bestiality restaurant in Tokyo, and housewives probably aren't turning tricks in suburban coin showers. The paper vows to start over fresh by hiring women to scrutinize its seedy reporting, and the internal investigation was said to rival the Times's after the Jayson Blair fiasco. The editorial apology after the jump (it does no good to nettlesome national stereotypes that the URL actually ends with "So sorry").

…We continued to post articles that contained incorrect information about Japan and indecent sexual content. These articles, many of which were not checked, should not have been dispatched to Japan or the world. We apologize deeply for causing many people trouble and for betraying the public's trust in the Mainichi Shimbun.

The Mainichi Newspapers took punitive measures on July 20 against Managing Director Yoshiyuki Watanabe, who previously served as general manager of the Multimedia Division, and another senior official, to hold them responsible as supervisors, in addition to those who were earlier punished.

We will take the following measures to prevent a recurrence of the problems pointed out to us through the criticism and opinions received from many readers, through our in-house investigation, and as indicated by the Open Newspaper Committee of experts:

On Aug. 1, we will reorganize the MDN Editorial Department, and on Sept. 1, under a new chief editor, the MDN will be transformed into a more news-oriented site. We will translate Mainichi Shimbun editorials and commentaries by prominent figures, such as "Jidai-no-Kaze" (Sign of the Times), and post them on the site in an effort to deepen the understanding of Japan among readers overseas.

At the same time, we will set up an advisory group to the MDN comprised of Megumi Nishikawa, an expert senior writer, and other staff writers specializing in international news coverage. The group will check the MDN's editorial plans and the content of articles in the MDN.

We are determined to try our utmost to regain the public trust that we have lost as a result of this incident and rehabilitate the English site into one that can dispatch information about Japan to the world in an appropriate manner.

[Mainichi Daily News]