–plagiarism in AFP: –https://sg.news.yahoo.com/hermit-fukushima-staying-put-despite-risks-061248471.html
Plagiarism, defamation, harassment, blackmail, blacklisting, smearing, stalking, Twitter-blocking, obstruction of justice, inciting violence, death threats and gaining success in Japan’s Darwinian media culture
——– by Christopher Johnson in Tokyo ——–
Jake Adelstein has a peculiar talent, rare among writers in Japan. He’s flamboyant, cocky and audacious, with a sly wit and a turbulent imagination. He should be one of my favorite writers in Asia, and I did enjoy the chapters that I read from his book Tokyo Vice. I also thought he seemed friendly during our only meeting — a five minute chat at a Tokyo press club in 2011. I was impressed with his fluency in Japanese, and amused by the pseudo-rock star appearance of a freaky little guy wearing sunglasses indoors. As a fellow author and Japanese speaker, I figured we had much in common, including more than two decades as expats in Asia.
But since 2011, Adelstein has been harassing me and my family, inciting violence against me, physically threatening me, and damaging my public reputation and 30-year journalism career and independent media business. Youtube, LinkedIn, Medium, Google, Facebook, WordPress, Twitter, AboutMe and others have taken action against him, yet he persists. He tries to frame me as a criminal, to get me jailed for bogus claims of stalking, rape and pedophilia. He uses police in Japan and Canada to harass me and my family. He posts malicious, libelous attacks on me on his web pages that incite violence against me, and he also posts death threats by “anonymous commenters” saying I should be killed.
I was living in Tokyo since 2005 with my partner, a Japanese musician, and our two dogs. We had a nice life in Japan. We worked hard. We had many friends in media and music circles. We grew vegetables in our garden and hosted parties at our Japanese-style house in Tokyo.
I studied hard to learn to read Japanese newspapers, and my independent media business was growing. My clients included media in Japan and overseas such as TV networks in Germany, France and Canada, and print or online media in New York, Washington, Toronto, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo and elsewhere. I covered wars and disasters for them, and was accredited at major music and sporting events worldwide. I covered the world basketball championships for the New York Times, and CNN.com used more than 200 of my photos. Wikipedia used my photos on profile pages for famous athletes such as Lionel Messi, Kobe Bryant, Rafael and Novak Djokovic.
Living overseas since the 1980s, I often did charity work and part-time teaching. I volunteered to work with impoverished kids from Mexico, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and other countries. I also worked part-time in Tokyo teaching junior high school kids with learning disabilities. I often brought food, water and supplies to disaster zones, and I made about 10 trips to northern Japan areas devastated by the 2011 tsunami.
But Adelstein and his cohorts made it impossible for me to live and work in Japan. His assistant Nathalie Stucky, who also uses the name Kyoko Miura, plagiarized my work to launch her media career. She and her boss Adelstein then went on the offensive to destroy my business, reputation and life. They fabricated “evidence” and used Tokyo detectives and Japan immigration officers to repeatedly harass my Japanese partner and I at our home and at work. (They also tried to use Canadian police to harass me and my family in Canada). Among a large number of incidents, Adelstein and Stucky convinced a police officer, “Mr. Ihara”, to call the Japan Times to harass me on false charges. The call was made on May 10, 2013, the day after editor Ben Stubbings assigned a lengthy investigative report into abuses at Narita Airport, a story which I broke in 2012 in The Economist. Stubbings and Japan Times editors made me work several weeks on the story at my own expense. They then killed the story along with other commissioned pieces, and blacklisted me from the paper, costing me thousands of dollars in lost income after two decades of work relations as an editor, writer and photographer for the paper.
Adelstein bragged about getting me “fired” from the Japan Times. Adelstein and Stucky also used Tokyo detectives in 2013 to harass me in the press area in front of my colleagues immediately after the final of an international tennis event, which I’ve been accredited to photograph for years. Stucky, who I last met in 2011, came to the 2013 event as a spectator and then, according to the detectives, falsely claimed I was somehow “stalking” her while I took photographs sitting courtside with other accredited photographers at the women’s final. (I did not know that Stucky was in the audience, though I later cropped images of crowd shots to see her sitting in the lower section of Ariake Stadium.) Adelstein and Stucky also used police to harass my partner, a popular Japanese rock musician and studio owner who has no involvement with the Tokyo media scene. Their repeated attacks and violent threats against me make it impossible for me to cover press conferences at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.
Adelstein and assistant Angela Erika Kubo brag about stealing my ID, my brand name “Goya Magazine”, and turning it into a vicious WordPress site dedicated solely to harming me and ruining my rep on Google searches.
Facebook removed a bogus site claiming to be me in order to attack people and frame me for crime.
Adelstein sends me vicious emails, forwards them to my brother in Texas and my employers and colleagues, and demands to know my home address in Tokyo. Since early 2012, he has been saying the most horrible things about me to his followers and readers on Twitter, Amazon.com, his website and other sites. He has privately and publicly accused me of “incapacitated rape”, “child molestation”, “stalking”, “hacking his website”, “death threats”, “scaring women and children”, “masturbating over the phone” and other false charges. If convicted, I could face years in jail and expulsion from Japan. It’s malicious defamation and an attempt to destroy my name and independent media business, which I’ve tried to build since 1984.
During his performance at the Tokyo Literary Festival in 2016, he tried to frame me for crimes I didn’t commit. He twisted my own writings into a defamatory screed against me, and cited Japanese laws as part of his attempt to have police throw me in jail.
The libelous content, inciting violence against me, was posted on several websites hosted by DreamHost, WordPress, Goodreads, Medium and Tumblr. Adelstein sent the content on Twitter to reporter Dune Lawrence at Bloomberg, where I have applied for work. Others tweeted about Adelstein reading the slanderous writing aloud at the Tokyo Literary Festival event.
After the Tokyo Literary Festival, Medium.com studied my requests for a week, and then removed Adelstein’s hateful post due to violations of their rules. In March 2017, Tumblr also removed the content violating their policies.
These incidents are nothing new. Adelstein and his cohorts have been harassing me since 2011, resulting in severe damages to my reputation and businesses. In May 2015, after presenting “Press Freedom Awards” to his friends and colleagues at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Adelstein sent 70 emails to my inbox.
Immediately before and after his appearance on a VICE.com live-stream with Simon Ostrovsky, Adelstein’s email account spammed my gmail account with more than 2000 emails.
Daily Beast, Los Angeles Times and Japan Times continue to publish his work, and he’s often interviewed on CNN, Bloomberg and others.
Youtube, Google, Twitter, AboutMe, LinkedIn and other sites have taken action to remove Adelstein’s attacks on me. LinkedIn removed Adelstein’s posting “the troll that will not go away.”
—–Here are emails from Youtube and Google stating their actions about blocking and removing postings attacking me.
WordPress continues to host a vicious hate site with the sole purpose of harming me. Facebook, which has emailed me dozens of rejection letters, has allowed him to post these malicious attacks and comments making physical threats against me:
Adelstein and his associates brag about their crimes. One of Adelstein’s young female assistants, Angela Erika Kubo, hired when she was a college student and bar worker in Tokyo, admitted in November 2014 that Adelstein “purchased” ownership of the brand-name of this website Goya Magazine, which had raised questions about his journalism. (Kubo claims on her Linkedin page that she was an employee of PricewaterhouseCoopers at that time.) Adelstein favorited these tweets and told his 12,000 followers about the hate site he created. These sites appear high up in Google searches, effectively ruining my reputation and damaging my income and business.
These public admission, by Adelstein and Kubo, raise questions about whether Adelstein also created a large number of hate sites and fake twitter accounts (such as @BWHockaday) solely for the purpose of harming me.
He and his assistants have tried to intimidate and blackmail me with a doctored video and various hate sites. Youtube has repeatedly banned the video since its creation in 2007 by 911 conspiracy theorist, violent video-game actor and NHK announcer David Schaufele, a Canadian who has worked at NHK in Japan for two decades.
Schaufele used a fabricated blackmail recording to frame me and get two NHK managers to wrongfully dismiss me without notice at NHK, Japan’s state broadcaster, which employed me on various contracts between 1994 and 2007. Citing Schaufele’s recording, NHK managers told investigators at Japan’s Labour Standards Bureau that they fired me because of an “incident” with an NHK employee 12 years earlier in 1995, which is false, and also because I didn’t have a work visa for Japan, which is also wrong. In fact, NHK had copies of my passport and work visas for Japan, and continued to employ me for 12 years after the alleged “incident”. I have continued to live in Japan, and have never been arrested or charged for any of these false accusations.
As a journalist, my work reaches millions of people through various TV networks and major publications. Adelstein often appears on CNN, BBC, NPR and other major media. Adelstein and I both have books published on Amazon.com. I’ve never written a comment or review about Adelstein on Amazon or any other book review site, but Adelstein falsely accuses his critics of being me, “CJ”.
Adelstein sent me at least 10 threatening and hateful emails accusing me of writing things I never wrote and saying things I never said. He wrote a 7790-word blog posting — updated in March and April 2012, and also November 2013 — full of fabrications and false accusations. He has incited violence against me, and allowed at least one commenter on his website, which he moderates, to suggest I should be killed.
He provokes me, baits me, twists my words and tries to frame me for serious crimes. He wrote a torrent of defamatory tweets in November, 2013, promoting vicious sites on Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr and others devoted solely to mocking my identity and destroying my name and reputation.
The Japan Times, which has bought dozens of my feature stories since the mid-90s, employs Adelstein as a regular columnist, and allows him to accuse people of murder, stalking, collusion, smuggling of nuclear bomb-making materials and other crimes without evidence. The Japan Times, the Daily Beast, the Atlantic Wire, the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ), Reporters Without Borders, and others have done nothing to stop this malicious campaign. They have rewarded Adelstein and his assistant with more work.
Adelstein, in several emails over the past two years, has demanded I fist-fight him in public. I have either ignored his taunts or replied to him in a polite, professional manner. Schaufele made similar threats to beat me up in 2007 and 2012. Adelstein’s associate, Mark Buckton, a former British soldier in Iraq, has repeatedly bullied me on Twitter and Facebook for two years.
I have also been insulted, libeled and harassed by Panasonic security engineer Ken Yasumoto-Nicolson, former Google manager Eido Inoue, videomakers “Hikosaemon” and Victor Boggio, writers Dan Ryan and Patrick Sherriff (OurManInAbiko), journalist Hiroko Tabuchi, blogger James Annan, and mysterious Japan Probe editor “James Japan”, among others. Many attack me using pseudonyms such as “VK”, “Vkay”, “Level3”, “ILikeDolphins”, “Valesius”, “jjrs”, “BWHockaday”, “Greji”, “Chokonen888”, “Yokohammer” and “Samurai Jerk”. Someone using the moniker @ThatIsBSDarling wrote dozens of sickening tweets about me in 2012 before Twitter suspended the account. Someone using the monikers @StopKInvasion and “Samscum” even threatened to kill me, saying “you paranoid schizophrenic Japanese hating freak. You deserve a bullet to the head.”
People created slam blogs such as “Pistopher Jones” and “CJ-out-of-Asia” dedicated solely to attacking me in 2012. Other sites have recently been created in October 2013 including “CJ rules the world” and “Goya Johnson”.
Accounts with names such as @cjinasia @cjglobalite @cj_globalite @jcglubulite @japanjournalist @cjinafrika and others have — pretending to be me — harassed women and my employers including CNN.com and CTV in Canada.
They have bragged about sexual molesting my partner. They sent nasty letters to my colleagues and classmates from Carleton University’s School of Journalism in Ottawa.
As a result of this smear campaign, I cannot go to press conferences in Tokyo or other media work places without fear of being harassed by Adelstein, Stucky, Buckton, their colleagues and the police. My business earnings have gone from more than $100,000 in 2011 to almost nothing since a smear campaign began, involving Adelstein and others in Japan and overseas. My partner, a quiet, sensitive Japanese musician who has lived with me since 2005, has suffered extreme distress with a severe impact on her business and family life.
I last met and contacted Schaufele in 2007, and Stucky and Adelstein on November 25, 2011. Though I enjoy a large circle of friends in Japan and elsewhere, I’ve never met Buckton, Boggio, “Hikosaemon”, Sherriff, Ryan or others harassing me. I met Tabuchi very briefly at the Tokyo Literary Festival this year, a wonderful event. The next day, Tabuchi threatened me with police and legal action, and demanded I “remove” an investigative report about her friend Adelstein.
Why are Adelstein, Stucky and others doing this to a veteran journalist in a relatively small community of expat writers? Adelstein, who brags about his alleged connections to the FBI, Japan’s National Police Agency, Japanese detectives and Japanese gangsters, has a history of using similar tactics to smear, harass and unsuccessfully sue award-winning National Geographic TV director Phil Day. Adelstein’s father, a pathologist, failed in an attempt to use the FBI and Missouri courts to convict a nurse of allegedly murdering 42 patients, according to the New Yorker magazine.
Adelstein claims that he lives and works in a world of violence and tragedy. His former assistant, Michiel Brandt, died at age 30, and he claims that his girlfriend was brutally murdered in Tokyo. He told the New Yorker in 2011 that he was dying of liver cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. He claims that his driver, Teruo Mochizuki, is a former yakuza boss and convicted dealer of “Shabu” — crystal methamphetamine. Adelstein brags about breaking a man’s knee with a golf club in a Tokyo real estate office, and he has repeatedly made violent threats against me, calling me a “sociopath, a “pussy”, a “wussy”, a “mentally ill” homosexual with a “man-crush” obsession about his penis.
Adelstein, who brags about being an “investigative reporter”, has demanded I remove investigative reports — based on verifiable facts and hard evidence — about him and other people in Tokyo. Adelstein’s vicious campaign against me also relates to a plagiarism case in 2011 involving his assistant Nathalie Stucky.
Stucky, a Swiss national who also goes by the names Kyoko Miura and Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky, had no formal journalism training, and seemingly no history of writing published articles, when she moved from Switzerland to Tokyo in the summer of 2011.
She couldn’t read Japanese kanji, and couldn’t understand newscasts or business level Japanese. She didn’t even know the Japanese word for “government.” A native speaker of French, she struggled to write letters in proper English, let alone news features or book chapters.
She was also struggling to find work in Tokyo. When I first met her, I felt sorry for her. I suggested she try another industry. But she was energetic and determined to make a name for herself in journalism. So, I helped her get a few gigs as a fixer with France 24 TV and others. I tried to teach her, informally, what I knew from four years of journalism school and another 25 years in the field.
As it turns out, she didn’t learn very much from me. In November 2011, she got a job as a full-time assistant for freelance writer and Tokyo Vice author Jake Adelstein, a controversial figure in Tokyo’s bizarre media scene.
With Adelstein, she learned another style of journalism. She traveled overseas with Adelstein to conferences on organized crime, and delved into a world of gangsters, narcotics and suicide. Sharing bylines, they used Adelstein’s “Japan Subculture” website to attack and defame perceived enemies such as alleged gang-leader Tadamasa Goto. In Tokyo, where most journalists cycle or take trains to work, she and Adelstein were bragging about riding around town in their “Vice-mobile”, a black Mercedes Benz S600 “mafia car”, driven by Teruo Mochizuki, a former yakuza boss jailed for drug dealing, according to Adelstein. They also bragged about having “friends” in the police force.
Within a few months, she was calling herself a Tokyo-based correspondent for The Atlantic, the Daily Beast, the Independent, and other major media. She also had a chapter in a published book about the ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan.
How did a young, inexperienced, untrained Swiss woman suddenly become an “investigative reporter” in Japan working for major global media? Stucky gave herself a head start in 2011 by plagiarizing at least five of my Washington Times feature stories about the struggles of survivors in Japan’s disaster zone. I was trying to teach her about basic journalism fundamentals, and I hoped that she would learn from my work. But she translated my articles into French and sold them as her own to launch a journalism career, first in French as “Japan correspondent for the Gazette de Geneve” in Switzerland, then for Agence France Press and others including major US media. (See links to these works later in this story.)
Her bylined stories use the same organizational structure, angles, issues, sources, quotes, phrases and material as my original published work in English, without crediting my work. She quoted people she never met. In one story about the tsunami zone in northeastern Japan, Stucky used my quotes of a bereaved husband, Naoki Suzuki, who I interviewed and photographed in Rikuzen-takata in March 2011, months before Stucky came to work in Japan.
Nothing in Stucky’s previous body of work shows she had the training, experience, and ability to write quality news features on a professional and commercial level in French, English or any language. She could not have sold that work without stealing my intellectual property. It’s plagiarism, similar to other cases worldwide.
Stucky told me about the plagiarized articles weeks after their publication in Switzerland. At first, on Nov. 23, she wrote: “Someone is using my name and publishing the texts I wrote, and also I noticed that Swiss papers took your Ofunato stories on my name!!!!! What are we going to do??? Sue them or what???”
On Nov. 24, Stucky emailed me: “I need to talk to you about some translation of your Ofunato articles that I did back in August and which have been published in Geneva school blogs.”
The next day, we attended press conferences at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. (http://www.fccj.or.jp/taxonomy/term/1?page=15)
She invited me to a nearby cafe. She lost her temper and hollered at me until I paid the bill and left on my own. I would never meet Stucky again after that incident on Nov. 25, 2011. Though she could be charming and vivacious, she simply frightened me, and I couldn’t trust a “journalist” with such disregard for ethics and reality.
The very next day, she sent me an email typical of previous letters. “Look, I am sorry for ice-screming all the time. I am a little bit nervous with Football, there is a guy who was showing his dick on my Skype account. And this Dalai Lama transcript is making me crazy too.”
She continued to demand that I phone her or meet her. I asked her to leave me alone and not call me “ten times per day.” Instead, she called me 20 times, and then wrote to apologize.
Over the next few weeks, I tried to explain to her, during phone conversations and emails, why journalists cannot steal original products and intellectual property for sale. It’s against the law, and a deceitful way to gain entry into the 170-year old profession of journalism. Indeed, if it was possible for amateurs to suddenly produce excellent articles for worldwide distribution in major media, then people wouldn’t need four years of journalism school or training at organizations. Anybody could steal a professional’s work and call themselves a “journalist”. I suggested that if she really wanted to be a journalist, she should take responsibility for her mistakes, make corrections, go back to school, get a degree in the field, and work her way up through the minor leagues, as others do.
She reacted by plagiarizing another story of mine — about a man living in the Fukushima disaster zone — and selling it in French to the AFP. Gilles Campion, AFP editor in Tokyo at that time, offered her 10,000 yen, about $100, for the story, photos and videos — potentially worth thousands of dollars. AFP then translated her story from French into English and distributed it to a number of my longtime clients, who I hoped would pay me for my original story, as they often did. In this scenario, everybody made money except for the person who originally created the intellectual property.
After I complained about this, Stucky threatened to have me arrested and expelled from Japan. “I have consulted with my lawyer and a senior journalist at NHK and Jake Adelstein,” she wrote in an email on Dec. 16, 2011 (a week before I was indeed detained and expelled from Japan). The tone, proper English grammar, and use of Japanese criminal terminology, suggests that Adelstein wrote it or assisted her. “If you want to sue AFP in Washington DC, that is a foolish thing to do and you will probably lose. It might also force me to sue you for defamation of character and obstruction of work (業務妨害) in Japan. I will win.”
She also threatened to seek police protection “under the stalking laws”, though in fact she was the one who couldn’t stop hounding me by phone and email. She also said that I was on some kind of government “watch-list”. “Therefore, you will not only lose the case, you will lose your right to write in Japan.”
“On advice of counsel,” she added, in surprisingly good English, “I will not speak to you for the foreseeable near future.”
Yet Stucky continued to hound me by phone, perhaps hoping I would “forget” about the plagiarism. Truth, fact, laws, accountability seemingly meant little to her. She also wanted to play tennis again, and we discussed how she would return my racquet to me by leaving it at the FCCJ reception. I didn’t get the racquet back for more than a year.
I am writing this to defend myself and my family from a number of false accusations. I have not harassed her by phone or mail. I do not know her Facebook or other social media accounts, and we don’t follow each other on Twitter. Fearing her inability to control her temper and take responsibility for her actions, I sought to distance myself from her. But for the next two years, Stucky would make multiple visits to police, falsely accusing me of harassing and stalking her, when in fact, it was the reverse. Her boss Adelstein would launch a vicious campaign to damage my career, business and personal life in Japan, where I’ve been living since 2005 with my partner, a Japanese musician.
Not long after receiving Stucky’s letters containing legal threats, which I thought were written by Adelstein, I was in fact jailed overnight at Narita Airport and expelled from Japan on Christmas Eve Dec. 24, 2011. I spent 10 weeks in Canada, not knowing if I could ever return to my home, partner and our dogs in Tokyo, until Japan’s Foreign Ministry granted me a new journalism visa for Japan, my fifth working visa since 1989.
Stucky, her boss Adelstein and their driver, a convicted criminal were at Narita Airport that day while I was being detained and interrogated about my work in Japan.
Some have suggested that Adelstein or sleazy NHK employees may have asked authorities to arrest me. Immigration officials at Narita told me, years later, that I was on a blacklist due to “complaints from colleagues”.
While most people were expressing sympathy for my plight, Adelstein showed no compassion or support for an expelled journalist. Ignoring reports by Amnesty International and NGOs detailing years of rights abuses at Narita and the expulsion of more than 100,000 foreigners from Japan since 2003, Adelstein merely tweeted that he couldn’t “come down entirely against immigration.”
Stucky, meanwhile, continued to send me emails. “I am in New York, I came to see my sister because I was distressed and depressed in Tokyo after I found out all the lies of my life,” she said on Dec. 29. She invited me to come see her and her city in New York. I declined. I was desperate to get back to my partner, our dogs and my life in Tokyo. I didn’t trust her.
On January 11, when I was trying to figure out why I was mistreated at the airport, I asked her about her threatening letter in December, where she said she consulted a lawyer and an “NHK guy”, and that I was on a “watch-list”. “I’m wondering if this is related to my shocking detention in Japan,” I wrote. “Did your lawyer, NHK friends or others tip off the immigration police?”
She replied the next day: “I have no idea what happened on that day. I am so sorry it didn’t work out well at the airport. Really so sorry, but I have no idea. What can I do to help you.”
We continued to communicate in a friendly manner, and she seemed concerned about my plight. I don’t know if this was her true feeling.
After my story about Japan’s “Gulag for Gaijin” appeared in The Economist, I spent weeks dealing with Japan apologists — “Japologists” — bent on smearing my name and reputation. Stucky, meanwhile, said she was busy going in and out of the Fukushima radiation zone as a translator and fixer.
She often expressed her bitterness about life in Japan, and she told me about weirdos harassing her. On January 20, she wrote me to rant about “sharks” in the media industry. “Journalists do not care about people’s life, they just want to make money in poor people’s back. I hate this job. When I’m done I am going to stop all this and go back to Switzerland to my parents. I am so sorry for what happened all of a sudden, this was a bad trip. Home is where I am supposed to be. I hate Japan, I hate houshanou, I hate foreigners. I hate liars. I hate men in general. Especially those who want to take advantage of people who are simply polite.”
But she was also rising quickly in the industry. Only months after plagiarizing my work, she was identifying herself as a writer for the Atlantic Wire, the Daily Beast, the Independent, Jane’s Defense Weekly, Agence France Press, France 24, Russia Today, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists and other organizations which tend to employ seasoned journalists with bonafide credentials. (Stucky’s employers have not replied to requests for comment.)
Stucky’s resume would seem impressive to an editor unaware that she was plagiarizing articles or having her work rewritten by others including Adelstein, who had been a reporter with the Yomiuri Shimbun for 12 years. In an industry where journalism school graduates and veteran freelancers struggle to find paying work, let alone achieve bylines in major media, Stucky’s rise is remarkable, and it sheds light on Japan’s freakish media culture, notable for its distortion of reality. It also raises issues of police harassment, plagiarism, fabrications, harassment, defamation, blacklisting, bullying and Twitter-blocking, involving some of the most well-known foreign correspondents in Japan such as Adelstein, Hiroko Tabuchi, Martin Fackler, Yuri Kageyama and others.
With no previous experience working as a reporter outside Japan, Stucky dove straight into the abyss. She wrote about gangsters, corruption, suicide, the hentai sex industry and the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, where she went to towns with abnormal radiation levels. It was like a first-year journalism student from Idaho suddenly trying to cover the police beat in Los Angeles, and Stucky often tweeted about struggling to deal with it. To legitimize her status in the industry, she became a member of the press freedom committee of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, and a contributor to Reporters Without Borders, a watchdog agency created to protect journalists from abuse and intimidation.
At the same time, she has become involved in a vicious two-year campaign to harass, discredit, provoke and frame this reporter, a journalism school graduate who has been a professional journalist since the 1980s. For two years, her boss Adelstein has publicly accused this reporter of disruption of business, death threats, child molestation and incapacitated rape — charges that could lead to years in jail in Japan, which is known for a high conviction rate and harsh prison conditions.
On March 11, 2012, when others were honoring those who died in the tsunami a year earlier, Adelstein falsely accused me on Twitter of hacking his site and being a “sociopath” and “child molester”, and he persuaded others to ostracize and blacklist me.
He attacked me in a 7790-word blog posting, updated in March and April 2012. (I tried to reply in self-defense to state the facts. He altered my replies, to discredit me and ruin my reputation, and changed my name to “troll”.) Adelstein fabricated a conversation we never had; in fact, we only met once, for 5 minutes, in 2011 at the FCCJ, the same day I last met Stucky. He cited links to NHK announcer David Schaufele’s attempt since 2007 to blackmail me with a doctored video, repeatedly banned by Youtube. He gave Schaufele and other haters free reign to attack me on his blog. He cheered Schaufele’s written threat to physically assault me.
Before getting me fired at NHK, Schaufele wrote these things to me in emails in 2007:
-”you are a disgrace to all canadians. leave while you can and never return”
-”you`re becoming delusional, get help”
-”you`re not in touch with reality dude. Your cover is blown, the word is out.”
–“a lot of sick perverts around these days who like to prey on the weak, work without a visa and manage to avoid paying taxes for years”
–“you could roll the dice and hang around home until the immigration squad pay you a visit to take a look at it…and they carry handcuffs”
–“those Japanese detention cells can get pretty cold in winter, or so I’ve read. Free room and board though and lots of time to write a book if you’re not medicated and in a straight jacket.”
Writing on Adelstein’s site http://www.japansubculture.com on April 26, 2012, Schaufele publicly called this reporter a pedophile, pervert, sexual predator and delusional, mentally unstable troll. “I would have no hesitation beating the living crap out of this sicko after his comments about my children,” Schaufele said, referring to the video he created in 2007, which youtube.com has repeatedly removed, citing violation of its policies and international laws. “So if he ever sees me again he better turn the other way and run.”
Many in Japan’s media community were disgusted to see Adelstein, Schaufele and others maliciously attacking a fellow journalist.
Adelstein did not stop there. He has tried to intimidate this reporter by sending dozens of venomous emails and writing his trumped up charges on Twitter in both English and Japanese to show off his knowledge of criminology.
On April 15, 2012, Adelstein sent me an email saying:
“The next time I hear from you, I’m going to file charges of 威力業務妨害. You are not a journalist; you make threats under the guise of journalism and you are mentally ill. If you were a real man, you’d stop hiding behind the pretense of being a journalist and come punch me out–but you’re too much of a pussy.”
He said he would send a blackmail video to Japanese, Canadian and US police and file charges of “forcibly disrupting business”. He accused me of “scaring women and children” and “masturbating over the phone.”
The next day, April 15, 2012, he called me “mentally ill” and said I would “face charges of criminal slander.”
On August 7, 2012, while we were mourning our dog’s sudden passing, he accused me again of “threatening to molest another man’s children.” He taunted me, saying “Why are police calling you?”
A month later on Sept. 7, 2012, he accused me of “criminal harassment” and “stalking”, and attached a 7-page legal document prepared by the Canadian Resource Center for Victims of Crime.
On May 5, 2013, he called me an “asshole” and said he was waiting for me to “screw up enough to pursue things down the proper legal channels.” “If you wanna pick a fight, come fight me,” he said, trying to provoke me. “Come find me, take a few punches.” He again tried to blackmail me with Schaufele’s doctored video on youtube. “PS. I’ve BCCed about twenty people on this email—maybe your brother Gordy as well.”
On May 7, 2013, Adelstein called me a “sociopath”, “awful person”, “mentally melted down malcontent” and a “bully”. He said I was “obsessed” with his penis and had a homosexual “man-crush” on him. He said I needed a psychiatric “counselor”.
Then, four days after Adelstein, Stucky and Inoue tweeted about meeting at the FCCJ for dinner, I got an email on May 12, 2013 from “Rick Jones Investigates”. The style, tone, demands and questions were unusually similar to letters from Adelstein. “Rick Jones” demanded to know my home address, and said he would contact my family members, employers and colleagues. He said he was doing an investigative report about me, and said his “source” accused me of “having sex with pre-teen boys and girls in Thailand.”
Adelstein also sent me six nasty letters in one week from September 28 to October 2 this year, and wrote a number of hateful tweets meant to bully me.
For legal purposes, I’ve kept Adelstein’s emails threatening to have police harass me and my family. I have tried to avoid Adelstein, and have replied to his provocations in a polite, professional manner. I’ve had no contact whatsoever with Schaufele since he wrote me dozens of bullying, threatening emails in 2007 and conspired with others to get me fired from state broadcaster NHK, which had employed me on a part-time basis in 1994-5 and also 2007.
I have also not tried to call, skype or exchange mails with Stucky since March 2012, because I suspected that she, Adelstein and others were trying to bait me or frame me into committing crimes against them. Yet, for two years, Stucky went to police at Kitazawa station in west Tokyo to convince them of her fantasy story that I was somehow “stalking” her.
In fact, she has been stalking me and trying to disrupt my family life. She sent me more than 300 letters in late 2011, often complaining that she was going to kill herself due to family turmoil and loneliness and frustration in Japan. I stopped using mobile phones to avoid her incessant calling. I tried as much as possible to avoid going to any area where she might be working, including the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, whose website features a photo of her working at a cubicle.
Nearly two years after our previous meeting, Stucky went on Saturday Sept. 28, 2013 to the final tennis match of the Toray Pan Pacific Open at Ariake Stadium. She knew that I often work there as a sports journalist and accredited photographer sitting court-side. Seeing me working as an accredited photographer courtside, she called Kitazawa police, making false allegations that I was stalking her. (In fact, I had no idea she was in the stadium.)
Stalking is a serious issue, often leading to murder, and police in Japan have been criticized for doing too little, or too much, in previous cases. If Stucky was indeed feeling vulnerable at the women’s tennis final, she could have asked friends to accompany her out of the stadium, or asked stadium security or local Odaiba police to immediately defend her. Yet she seemed in no danger. Viewed after the incident, photos of tennis players and crowd shots show Stucky in the background, wearing a red beret and sitting in expensive 5th-row seats watching the women’s final.
Instead, she made two detectives in plain clothes on a Saturday afternoon drive across Tokyo (perhaps an hour by car) from Setagaya ward to Odaiba in Tokyo Bay to protect her from an alleged stalker. Moments after the tournament’s awards ceremony on center court, the detectives intimidated and harassed an accredited photographer in front of translators, event organizers and journalists on deadline. Using hostile and threatening language, they demanded the journalist “confess” to various crimes. They showed no evidence to support their accusations, and they did not ask for this reporter’s ID. They would also not allow me to call a lawyer, consular officer or my Japanese partner of the past 8 years. I saw their badges and wrote down their names, which my partner and I later reported to police.
The detectives, who didn’t speak English, said Stucky has been coming to their station in west Tokyo for two years to file complaints about me. I told them that the situation was in reverse, and that my family and I had been victims of harassment for two years by Adelstein and others. The detectives said they would not arrest or even question Stucky on allegations of stalking, harassment and obstruction of justice, including attempts to fabricate evidence and mislead and misuse police officers. Over the next days, police continued to bother this reporter and his longtime Japanese partner at home, including a phone call at 9 am on a Sunday morning.
It was the latest incident in a two-year harassment campaign involving Adelstein, Stucky and others.
While I was outside of Japan for most of 2012, Tokyo police repeatedly called my Japanese partner, disturbing her work and personal life and bothering her on the day our dog died. They sent her a notification in writing about Stucky’s claims that I was somehow “stalking” her, though I had been out of the country for months and had not contacted her in any way. (I did not find out about this until much later, because my partner wanted to protect me from their abuse.)
More than a year later, Stucky tweeted on May 8 this year about meeting Google mid-level manager Eido Inoue (nee Adrian Havill from Langley, Virginia), at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. At that time, Inoue and Adelstein were continuing their campaign to harass and discredit this reporter. Their photo was clearly aimed in my direction to intimidate me. Stucky referred to me as a “cockroach”, and said she would go to “pest control” — in other words, the police.
Days after Stucky’s failed attempt to have this reporter arrested at Ariake stadium, Stucky’s employer, Jake Adelstein, stepped up his vicious campaign of blackmail and threats. Last week, he sent five emails with disturbing accusations, demanding I reply. Then, before I could reply, he sent me a “Cease and Desist” order. At the same time, he tweeted the same information to publicly humiliate me with the help of Mark Buckton, an ex-British soldier and Iraq War veteran who became a freelance writer in Tokyo with a habit of bullying me on Twitter and Facebook.
Working with Adelstein has changed Stucky, who seemed an impressionable person when I knew her for a few months in 2011. When I first met Stucky in the summer of 2011, she seemed like a bright young European woman, interested in tennis, swimming and mountain hiking. But in the past few years, her Twitter feed indicates a descent into a dark underworld of gangsters, liars and sleaze-balls. She has become obsessed with stories about murderers, con-men, stalkers and sexual harassment at work. This summer she drew a picture of an abusive boss, did Google searches for crystal methamphetamine, and tweeted about being defrauded and kicked out of her home.
She seemed alone in Tokyo, desperate and suicidal. Escaping the Tokyo heat, she went to Canada, where she tweeted a video featuring my brother’s song about Alberta. I was covering rock festivals in Germany and Slovakia, and a basketball tournament in Prague at that time. I had no idea she was near the Alberta home of my parents, and playing tennis at a club where my friends often play tournaments. (In retrospect, I wonder if she was stalking me there or hoping to meet me.)
She looked happy in Alberta, enjoying the Calgary Stampede. Upon returning to Japan, she again seemed suicidal.
I have no idea what’s been happening in Stucky’s personal life since she emailed me in March 2012, telling me I should get out of Japan immediately. Frightened by her letters and a harassment campaign involving many others, I did leave Japan, and spent most of 2012 in Canada and Europe. I suspect that Adelstein and Stucky are trying to hound me out of Japan again.
Adelstein, after sending several vicious letters threatening me and my family, last week demanded I “cease and desist” from any potential response to his repeated threats over the past two years. In a bizarre act of twisted logic, Adelstein said any reply to his mails would “therefore” prove his charges and serve as an “admission of guilt”. He said he wanted to involve my Japanese partner and family members in the US and Canada. He demanded to know our home address in Tokyo, which would put us at risk of retribution from Adelstein, Stucky or their driver, a convicted criminal with underworld connections.
The threats and actions of Stucky and Adelstein have done considerable harm to my Japanese partner, a popular musician with no interest in the English-language media scene in Japan. We have sought consular assistance and protection from criminals. An official at Canada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised me to consider leaving Japan immediately. But I’m also afraid of leaving my Japanese partner alone in a vulnerable position. We’re seriously concerned that Adelstein, given his wild claims about his underworld connections, will harm us.
Adelstein has a long history of violent conduct, dubious claims and seeking legal action against perceived threats. Adelstein told BoingBoing in 2010 that he used a golf club to break a man’s knee in a real estate office in Tokyo in April 2008. (http://boingboing.net/2010/03/09/meet-jake-adelstein.html) He tried to sue an award-winning National Geographic TV director in a Washington, DC area court in 2011, and his friends wrote articles about the director. Adelstein’s 23-page court filing contains several dubious claims, without verifiable evidence, that the director’s alleged actions could have resulted in Japanese gangsters murdering TV crew members and their families. (http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/05/06/Yakuza.pdf)
The New Yorker magazine assigned China-based writer Peter Hessler to write a feature about his former high school classmate Adelstein. Hessler reported that Adelstein’s father, a pathologist at a Missouri hospital, asked a major US network and the FBI to investigate a nurse for allegedly killing 42 patients — which would have been the worst serial killing in US history. Though found not guilty in court, the nurse moved to another state to begin a new life away from an accuser who smeared the nurse’s name and career reputation. It’s not known who, if anybody, killed 42 patients at the hospital, or why Dr. Adelstein targeted the nurse.
Adelstein claims to be an expert on Japan’s underworld and hentai sex industry. He claims he works with the US-based Polaris Project to investigate trafficking of minors in the sex industry. He has employed a number of attractive young women as his assistants in Tokyo, including Michiel Brandt, an American who moved to Japan at age 22 and died last year at age 30. In his controversial book Tokyo Vice, Adelstein claimed that his lover, a foreign-born prostitute, was murdered in Tokyo. (No other publication reported her murder.) Adelstein also claimed for three years that he was dying of liver cancer and undergoing treatments to stay alive. He has claimed since 2005 that alleged gang boss Tadamasa Goto has been threatening to kill him. Adelstein has often told reporters that Kitazawa police go to his home for “daily checks” to protect him from gangsters. Kitazawa police have told this reporter that Adelstein’s claims are not true.
I have reason to believe that Adelstein has ordered or advised Stucky to use Kitazawa police to intimidate me. It’s hard to imagine Stucky acting on her own, without Adelstein’s knowledge or involvement.
Stucky and Adelstein are both members of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. For almost two years, FCCJ’s elected executives did not reply to requests seeking comment about the actions of Adelstein and Stucky. Instead of replying directly, George Baumgartner, FCCJ president at that time, forwarded to Adelstein letters addressed to Baumgartner, and he told Adelstein that he would not do anything because, in his view, it had nothing to do with the club. Adelstein then sent the letters back to this reporter. Baumgartner apparently took no disciplinary action involving his Swiss compatriot Stucky, who he allowed to join the club despite dubious credentials and no media experience in Japan at that time.
Newly-elected FCCJ leaders have also tried to avoid taking actions regarding the behavior of Adelstein and Stucky, who has used the club as her official work address and as a platform to try to legitimize herself as a professional “journalist”. FCCJ member Michael Penn, an American academic who founded the Shingetsu News agency in Japan, says he employed Stucky “for about a week” before realizing that she lacked formal training, credentials and ability to do the journalism worked he required for his clients, which include Iranian state TV. Earlier this year, Penn appointed Stucky to the FCCJ’s press freedom committee, which he oversees. He said he was trying to help her because the FCCJ lacks youthful, enthusiastic female members, and he did not realize she was involved in a dispute concerning plagiarism, defamation, blackmail and other charges. He said he spoke with Stucky about allegations involving her, and he decided to allow her to stay on the committee.
Penn said he discussed the matter with FCCJ president Lucy Birmingham, who has worked for years with Schaufele at NHK. Penn said that he and Birmingham agreed they would take no disciplinary action against Stucky, Adelstein or others. Penn said that he believes people are innocent until proven guilty, and he wouldn’t take disciplinary action until guilt is proven in court. He said the club can only deal with actions initiated by fellow club members, not outsiders, even if they are veteran professional journalists. He urged this reporter to take police and court action against Stucky and Adelstein, and said he would comply with any court decision, such as a restraining order barring Adelstein and Stucky from press conferences at the club. He said he should not have to accept any responsibility for the actions of Stucky, though he did in fact appoint her to a press freedom sub-committee, which she chairs. He said that the club has a number of “dysfunctional” members with various issues, and he’s trying his best to build up the club’s reputation and take action to protect journalists in Japan from abuses.
Birmingham did not reply for weeks to messages left for her at the FCCJ reception. Birmingham, Penn, Baumgartner and others have been involved in a number of legal issues, including a case, filed at Tokyo District Court on August 24, 2012, regarding former FCCJ employees who lost their jobs. A number of past FCCJ presidents, including Karel van Wolferen, Anthony Rowley, and Gregory Clark, have been involved in a dispute with FCCJ board members.
Birmingham and I enjoyed pleasant relations when we worked with a team of Japanese radio journalists at NHK in 2007. Birmingham, like many other FCCJ members, seemingly has no experience working full-time in a newsroom outside of Japan. After graduating in 1978 from George Washington University in Washington, DC, she found work in Kyoto in 1980 as a hostess and English teacher for two years, according to a story about her in the FCCJ magazine. After travels around Asia, became a freelance photographer for Gamma Presse through FCCJ member Kaku Kurita. She married a wealthy Japanese executive with a Harvard MBA, changed her name to Lucy Fujii, and gained work with NHK and Metropolis magazine. Her work in the past few years has appeared in Bloomberg, TIME magazine, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and various art publications, as well as with corporate clients including VISA and Kanebo. She authored Strong in the Rain, along with NHK co-worker David McNeill, an Irish-born university professor and freelance writer in Tokyo. Birmingham has been an FCCJ member since the 1980s, and she once asked the club to suspend a member for allegedly harassing her in the club library, according to several club members.
Answering the phone at the FCCJ in late October, Birmingham said at first that she did not know about this case, and then later admitted that she had indeed discussed it with Penn. She then repeatedly demanded to know “who are you taking legal action against.” Before hearing a comprehensive answer, she got angry and hung up the phone. A person who later answered the phone at FCCJ reception said the FCCJ had no person in charge of legal matters. They asked me to try calling Birmingham again at a later date.
It’s not known if Birmingham and Stucky have a working relationship outside the FCCJ. Stucky has claimed she’s associated with a “Mr. Tsuya” at NHK, and she said that everybody at NHK knew about Schaufele’s doctored video. It’s not known if this would include longtime NHK workers Birmingham and McNeill.
Adelstein enjoys close ties with Birmingham and McNeill. McNeill and Adelstein co-wrote articles together. Birmingham has publicly praised Adelstein on social media for his glowing review of her book.
McNeill, who writes for The Economist, the Irish Times, the Japan Times and others, resigned from the FCCJ board on June 25, 2012. “I oppose this month’s decision to end our workers’ contracts because as a journalist I feel like an utter hypocrite writing about injustice and corruption while sitting on a Board that is depriving our workers of their livelihoods,” he wrote in a letter to FCCJ members. “Is this the best that the FCCJ, with its unique tradition and history, can come up with? For our sakes, I hope not.”
Under Birmingham’s new leadership, McNeill now chairs the Professional Activities committee at the FCCJ, and organizes and hosts press conferences. McNeill and Stucky have both been vocal about stopping abuses of journalists in Japan.
Stucky had no media experience in Japan when she started hanging around the FCCJ in the summer of 2011. According to her resume, which she passed around to FCCJ members, Stucky grew up in Bangkok where her Japanese mother and Swiss father were working for the United Nations. She says she also lived in Iran and Iraq. She studied various subjects at universities in Switzerland, and says she worked as an assistant recording and transcribing press conferences for Jiji Press in Geneva. She later told me that she quit before the end of her contract due to boredom and a dispute with co-workers and her boss. She was also troubled by her father’s attempt to leave her mother in Switzerland and join his younger Thai girlfriend, who later allegedly robbed his apartment in Bangkok.
In early 2011, while journalists in Japan were taking risks to cover the March 11 tsunami and nuclear disasters, Stucky was unemployed and living with her mother in Lausanne, Switzerland. She volunteered to raise funds for tsunami disaster victims, and decided to take her chances on finding a job in Tokyo. Having no friends or contacts in the media industry, she hung around the FCCJ, developing a network of connections and gaining work ahead of more experienced, formally-trained journalists with better Japanese language abilities.
In November 2011, upon the advice of New York Times reporter Hiroko Tabuchi, she was hired as an assistant for self-styled yakuza expert Jake Adelstein, a popular author and freelance journalist who has shared his byline with Stucky on many articles. Stucky has also assisted the work of France 24 TV, Russia Today and Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, and worked on translations of the wisdom of the Dalai Lama. Thanks to Adelstein’s generous support of her work, she has done more than most journalists to report about cruelty to animals, and she has helped to raise money and distribute it to a nuclear disaster victim living inside the contamination zone around Fukushima reactors. She recently read a story on Link TV in her second language, English.
She also contributed a chapter to the book Reconstructing 311, edited by US-based writer Dan Ryan and a British expat and former Daily Yomiuri editor using the moniker “OurManInAbiko”. Her story is based on my original work.
Her copying of my articles in the Washington Times is a clear-cut case of plagiarism, which is usually considered a serious offense in the media industry. It follows the pattern of many previous cases where a person, with little previous experience or formal training, suddenly manages to sell a number of well-crafted articles with multiple sources, including people the reporter has never met. Amid allegations of plagiarism, Jayson Blair and several editors resigned from the New York Times in 2003. Veteran writers for the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe and others have resigned over similar allegations, according to Wikipedia’s list of plagiarism incidents. Famous people to face allegations of plagiarism include Andy Warhol, George Harrison, Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden, and a speechwriter for Canadian leader Stephen Harper.
In this case, Stucky secretly copied my original English language stories for the Washington Times about Japan disaster victims, translated them into French, claimed them as her own, and used them to build up a portfolio in journalism. Stucky was only able to sell these articles by stealing my work and putting her name on it.
Stucky and Adelstein have maintained their innocence. Stucky, in more than 300 emails to this reporter between July 2011 and March 2012, complained that a number of people in the Tokyo media scene (including senior FCCJ members) tried to mistreat, disrespect or take advantage of her, and she feels that she is mainly a victim of a nasty media culture in Japan.
Adelstein has written extensively about this perverse media culture. Adelstein had no education or formal training in journalism when he came to Japan to study at Sofia University in the early 1990s. He said he was hired at the Yomiuri Shimbun despite doing poorly on tests. Even after 12 years at the Yomiuri, Adelstein’s work often shows a disregard or ignorance of basic journalism fundamentals. Adelstein, who has a large and dedicated following in Japan and overseas, often champions the cause of freelancers and staffers cheated by corrupt media practices in Japan and other countries. An outspoken author who doesn’t shy away from controversy, he has also been targeted by haters, trolls and people who try to use his copyrighted works for free.
He has claimed that Stucky’s behavior is not plagiarism. In a blog post in March 2012, Adelstein wrote that it’s somehow acceptable for fixers or translators to write their own bylined articles, based on their work trips with seasoned reporters. “Since multiple journalists report on the same news story, it is always easy to make that accusation,” Adelstein wrote on a blog post dedicated to bad-mouthing me, which he later updated with further attacks, and then removed months later. “One problem increasingly in the world of free-lance journalism is that what once were called ‘fixers’ now also write as journalists as well. In fact, I consider it a problem that many journalists take credit for articles that are actually mostly written by the fixers.”
The plagiarized stories, however, have been removed from La Gazette de Geneve’s website, which still lists their original URL. (http://www.gazettedegeneve.ch/lettres-du-japon/)
This suggests that either Stucky, Adelstein or the editors in Geneva considered the stories to be problematic enough to have them removed from the site.
Like other young reporters, Stucky could benefit from the guidance and grooming of qualified journalism professors. Her subsequent stories for Adelstein’s website, about Hello Kitty, sushi or other banal topics, show little of the world class quality and newsworthiness exhibited in her plagiarized articles in Gazette de Geneve and AFP. Even 24 months after publication of her plagiarized articles, her stories still lack the basic fundamentals of news feature writing. In one example, her January 28 coverage of a press conference begins with: “For thousands of years, China and Japan have been neighboring countries.” Another article on Feb. 18 this year begins:
It’s not clear why Stucky and Adelstein felt a need to take such extreme measures. They perhaps felt insecure about their own abilities, or under pressure to attract attention any way possible, in order to make a living as freelancers. Adelstein has claimed for years that yakuza gangsters in Japan were threatening to harm him. (Kitazawa police say this isn’t true.) Adelstein perhaps felt threatened by me, or feared that I was somehow connected to his enemies. Assuming the worst, he may have instructed Stucky to go to Tokyo police, and she was in no position to defy her bosses orders.
Their smear campaign has influenced — or misled — a large number of media professionals in Japan and overseas, resulting in a significant loss of prestige and income for a freelance journalist. Adelstein’s colleague and close associate, New York Times reporter Hiroko Tabuchi, is one of the most popular reporters and online personalities in Japan’s expat community, and she was twice part of New York Times teams nominated for Pulitzer Prizes; they won earlier this year. She is also a relatively young and impressionable reporter who hasn’t worked much outside of her native Japan. As a freelance contributor to the New York Times since 2002, I have generally been a supporter of her work, and enjoyed pleasant relations with her on Twitter for several months. I have also tried to defend her from trolls and right-wing nationalists who harass her and others on Twitter. I had been looking forward to giving her a copy of my new novel Kobe Blue, set around the 1995 earthquake in the city where she was raised.
This March, however, she made false allegations against me on Twitter, where she has more than 58,000 followers, and publicly defended Adelstein, demanding censorship of my April 27, 2012 investigative story about him.
Instead of apologizing or acting to restore my reputation, Tabuchi and her colleagues at Reuters (Sophie Knight and Mari Saito), Associated Press (Yuri Kageyama), Jiji Press (Mio Coxon) and others have blocked this reporter, though I have never met them or argued with them on Twitter. OurManInAbiko and Dan Ryan, who galvanized Japan’s expat Twitter community to create Quakebook and raise donations for disaster victims, have been instrumental in influencing others to ostracize this reporter on Twitter.
Tabuchi has also publicly applauded the tweets of people who vent their outrage on Twitter.
In one tweet to Blaustein, Tabuchi bragged about blocking this reporter, who has been a freelance contributor to the New York Times since 2002.
(Tabuchi and I had previously enjoyed pleasant relations on Twitter, and I have often praised her work for the New York Times and supported her during attacks by Japan’s unregulated plague of cyber-bullies).
Tabuchi and NY Times bureau chief Martin Fackler have not returned email and phone messages over the past months. It is not known if senior NY Times editors in New York, who replied promptly and professionally to emails from this reporter, have taken any actions regarding Tabuchi, her conduct on Twitter, and her relations with Adelstein and Stucky. Editors at the Atlantic Wire, Daily Beast, AFP and Gazette de Geneve have not replied to email requests sent multiple times over several months.
The lack of visible public action by editors raises serious questions about journalism ethics in Tokyo, New York, Europe and elsewhere. New York Times editors have been aware of the plagiarism allegations since early March, and it is not known if they have assigned their Tokyo reporters to look into the matter. The questionable behavior of Adelstein, Tabuchi and others in their clique of high-profile journalists in Tokyo also raises concerns about their coverage of the Olympus scandal, the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, and other issues in Japan. Some commentators on internet forums in Japan have accused Adelstein of using multiple pseudonyms to attack people, including this reporter, and they claim that he misled Tabuchi and former Olympus President Michael Woodford into believing that criminals in Japan were planning to harm Woodford for blowing the whistle on corruption at Olympus. Others have applauded their work.
IMMATURE AMATEURS in a BUSH LEAGUE BACKWATER?
How did this happen? Why did Stucky’s boss, Adelstein, and her mentor, Tabuchi, seemingly do nothing about this, long after this reporter asked Stucky to consult Adelstein and Tabuchi about her alleged plagiarism and unprofessional conduct? How did things fall apart so terribly between all of us?
Adelstein, Stucky, Schaufele, Tabuchi and others must accept responsibility for their actions. Nobody forced them to do it. It’s also easy to blame a twisted media culture in Tokyo. Reporters Without Borders, among others, have noted restrictions on press freedom in Japan. Adelstein has been outspoken about the mistreatment of freelancers, fixers and interns in Japan and other countries, and his tweets and articles often reveal dodgy media practices, especially in Japan.
Many observers have noted how official press clubs, run by so-called “media cartels” with vested interests, routinely bar independent journalists, foreigners or other free-thinkers who might dare to question authorities. Investigative reporting is rare or ignored. Truth-by-consensus reporting and Orwellian group-think is common. After a scrum, Japanese reporters from “competing” organizations often gather in circles to compare notes and agree on a single unified version of the “story”. A dissenter risks becoming “nakama hazure” — ostracized, excluded from the inner circle. Gossip and “uragiri” backstabbing is rife. Schoolyard bullying, which went unpunished at school, spills over into the adult world of newsrooms and press clubs. Amid all the badmouthing and faction fighting, it seems pointless to even bother seeking the truth, let alone trying to smuggle it past gate-keepers for low pay. Seeing this reality for what it is, many expats, working in Japanese media, have become successful by bowing and groveling, not by seeking truth. Within this context, where nobody seems to care about journalism ideals or blowing the whistle on corruption, it’s relatively easy to get away with plagiarism, defamatory blog postings, google bombing, stealing strings or whatever it takes to weaken a perceived enemy.
While patterns of denial, cover-up and attack have been common in other plagiarism cases around the world, Japan’s peculiar social media culture, and a post-disaster atmosphere of paranoia, are major factors in this case.
In the United States and Canada, many aspiring journalists must pass through weeding out processes at journalism schools and minor league media before rising to the majors. In Japan, it’s much easier for someone teaching English or studying Japanese to jump straight to the big leagues. Stucky, Adelstein, Tabuchi, Kageyama and many others share common histories of studying other subjects — such as sociology and economics — and then becoming major league reporters, bypassing the weeding out processes and “jumping the queue” ahead of journalism school graduates who naturally feel that they deserve jobs in journalism ahead of others. In Tabuchi’s case, she rose — in four years — from being an economics grad, with seemingly no history of published articles, to staff reporter of the New York Times, via jobs at AP and Dow Jones. (It’s not clear why Tabuchi’s work ended with the Associated Press, which generally has a low turnover and keeps reporters for decades. AP Tokyo’s staff include longtime Asia-based reporters Eric Talmadge, Elaine Kurtenbach and award-winning photographer David Guttenfelder.)
Journalists who spent four years at journalism school, while doing part-time gigs at campus or local media outlets, can’t help but to feel “passed over” or cheated by this system, which is not unique to Japan. Journalism schools, though imperfect, can be effective in weeding out egoists, fabricators and plagiarists at an early stage. In most cases, journalism students, drilled in fundamentals, learn to respect 170-year old traditions, work well in teams, and observe a code of ethics. The emphasis, above all else, is on seeking truth and shedding light on reality.
Many working reporters in Japan, however, put emphasis on guarding their positions, gaining followers on Twitter or defending — rather than challenging — authority. Perhaps more than other cities, success in Tokyo media depends on who you know, not what you know. The result is a “mafia mentality” in a Darwinian system where aggressors, who belong to the right clique, feel they can get away with anything: blocking someone on twitter, blacklisting them from jobs, stealing their strings or shifts, or calling them “child molesters” or “stalkers”. They believe that nobody — not the FCCJ nor their Japanese bosses — can stop them.
As Paul Weller sang: “We make the standards, we make the rules, and if you don’t abide by them you must be a fool. We have the power to control the whole land, you never must question our motives or plans.”
After malicious blog attacks on this reporter and, separately, an award-winning crew from National Geographic TV, Adelstein landed a regular column in the Japan Times, more reports in the Atlantic Wire, Daily Beast and others, and a contract for a second book with a major US-based publisher. The message to cyber-bullies was clear: you can viciously attack, smear and discredit a colleague and get away with it.
Observing this hard reality, Stucky possibly thought she could get away with plagiarizing a senior reporter and fabricating allegations of “stalking” in order to discredit him. There were no journalism professors, guild or union representatives, or responsible senior editors around to call her bluff and put her back in line. In a clique with Adelstein and Tabuchi, she perhaps felt untouchable.
UNSOCIAL MEDIA and TWITTER ROYALTY in GLASS HOUSES
I found out about the plagiarized articles months after they were published. I waited more than a year to write about this, because I didn’t want to affect the ability of a young woman to earn a living in Tokyo, where women generally face more career obstacles than men.
Stucky and Adelstein, on the other hand, have done much to damage my own reputation and career, and I believe their animosity is rooted in the plagiarism issue, and our mutual inability to resolve it.
My biggest mistake, since moving back to Tokyo in 2005 (after earlier stints in Japan dating back to 1989), has been working long hard hours to hone my skills. Since I often work from morning until after midnight, I rarely find time to go drinking with fellow news reporters in Tokyo. Though I often attend press conferences, I’ve never been a member of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, where bonafide foreign correspondents often seem to be a minority. When I do go out, I tend to socialize in circles of musicians, photographers and sports-minded writers and others in Japan. I generally find musicians to be much more fun-loving, open-hearted and sociable than the cliquish groups of expat journalists in Tokyo, and I have maintained friendships with musicians lasting decades. My Japan musician friends don’t seek followers on Twitter because they don’t have to; they already get attention and applause at their gigs. They have real star quality, and they don’t need to discredit potential competitors online.
I briefly met Adelstein once, cordially, in November 2011, while Japanese TV interviewed us about a legal case involving Adelstein’s former employer, the Yomiuri media group. He told me that he had hired Stucky after “checking out” her work. I wished him luck. That was it.
Adelstein and Tabuchi are closely associated with author and Temple University professor Roland Kelts. Kelts and I met briefly in 2008 after a bar-room performance by his band, featuring his longtime Japanese girlfriend Lisa Kato. A few weeks later, an inebriated Kelts called me in the middle of the night accusing me of ruining his marriage to a woman in the United States. He said he was going to take me to court. I have never met Kelt’s wife, and don’t even know her name or when and where they married. I have not met Kelts nor his longtime Japanese partner since his angry phone call. I often feel perplexed about this incident, because I had been looking forward to a nice friendship with a fellow author, musician and fan of The Who.
I met Tabuchi for the first time in March 2013 at the Tokyo International Literary Festival. (She had send me pleasant messages on Twitter only a few days earlier.) She and her friend Mio Coxon, a young reporter for Jiji Press, came to sit near me in the press area. We did not speak, and there was no incident. Later, I introduced myself to them in the lobby, along with others making introductions. We did not speak at any length. I chatted in a circle with a number of fellow authors and reporters, while Tabuchi tried to find a ride to a party. I took a taxi with other writers to a separate place. It was a great festival, and I think Tabuchi and I were both on a high from being around some of the world’s greatest authors and translators.
That night on Twitter, however, Tabuchi falsely accused me of threatening her friends Jake Adelstein and Roland Kelts. (I did not do anything to Adelstein and Kelts that weekend to warrant Tabuchi’s surprising accusations, which came only days after she sent me friendly messages. In fact, my story about the literary festival quoted Tabuchi in a positive light, and I mentioned a need to have Adelstein and Kelts read their work at next year’s festival.)
With much of Japan’s expat community following her on Twitter, Tabuchi warned me that she would go directly to Japanese police and NYT Legal if I harassed her. I told her that I believed that someone was trying to mislead her. She rejected my offers to meet in person, backstage after my partner’s concert, to discuss issues in a civilized way. (The sold-out concert at Shibuya Ax featured Asai Kenichi and the guitarist and drummer from Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. They are generally considered iconic rock stars in Japan. A large group of people waited outside to see them backstage after the show. Tabuchi was not among them.)
Tabuchi’s followers, including people who have hounded me online, falsely accused me of “harassing” her by inviting her to meet my longtime partner and our large circle of friends backstage. I did in fact reply to a large number of tweets by people asking about her, and I defended her from bullies trying to attack her. Tabuchi, however, blocked me from communicating with her on Twitter, and urged her colleagues to follow suit, which they did. She demanded I remove from my website a 15,000-word investigative story concerning Adelstein and his failed attempt to sue an award-winning crew from National Geographic TV in a District of Columbia court.
Tabuchi, a staff reporter at a newspaper known worldwide for its award-winning investigative reports, called it a “hate story”. The 17,000-word story cites Adelstein’s own words, US court documents, award-winning National Geographic TV crew members, a New Yorker article by Tabuchi’s friend Peter Hessler, and many others. Some have accused Adelstein of plagiarism by ripping off Japanese tabloid articles and fabricating quotes in dozens of stories which have no named sources and no verifiable evidence. They have also questioned Adelstein’s ethics, including his slam blog attacking the National Geographic crew. (Adelstein later removed the blog posting).
Tabuchi has cited Adelstein as a source on yakuza stories, and they often socialize. She does not question the credibility of someone whose driver is a convicted criminal and ex-yakuza boss. Their colleagues in Tokyo, including Christian Science Monitor and France 24 TV reporters Gavin Blair and Justin McCurry, have often reported Adelstein’s claims without questioning their veracity.
Many veteran Tokyo reporters do not consider Adelstein a reliable source, while others have promoted his articles and his book Tokyo Vice. Tabuchi is among his most staunch defenders.
Tabuchi has often communicated on Twitter with a number of alleged cyber bullies who have been harassing me since my story, about Japan’s secretive prison system for foreigners, appeared in The Economist in mid-January 2012. These alleged cyber-bullies include Mark Buckton, a former RAF soldier and Iraq war vet who became a freelance writer after moving to Japan and learning Japanese. He has frequently attacked me since January 2012 concerning my work with other reporters staying at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad in March-April 2003. On his blog, he has written about his dislike for reporters working in Iraq, where many reporters have been killed. He once tweeted that he wouldn’t give up his seat to a Japanese senior citizen because her shopping bags indicate “her legs OK to walk round the shops. She can stand.”
On several occasions on Twitter, Buckton has also badmouthed Canada. On Nov. 7, 2012, he called Canadians “wannabe Americans stuck with a dead piece of foliage on their flag.” It is not known why Buckton has issues with Canada and Canadians, and he has not replied to requests for comment. Buckton has tweeted that he asked his embassy for advice about dealing with a “stalker”, and he claimed that his friend, a psychology professor at a Japanese university, is going to tell his students about the writings of a “disturbed mind”.
Canadian police, working on the cyber-bullying and suicide case of Vancouver teenager Amanda Todd, told me last year that they were investigating the vicious Twitter moniker “BSdetector”, which exists for the sole purpose of repeatedly threatening this reporter on Twitter.
Buckton, who apparently has no formal journalism training, has claimed to be a contributor to the New York Times, BBC, CNN, Reuters, AP and many others. While he often appears boorish and hostile on Twitter, insulting seniors, women and various ethnic groups, he tends to pander to Tabuchi and AP reporter Kageyama, and claims to have a personal connection with Kageyama’s son. (A number of people pander to Kageyama and Tabuchi on Twitter, in the hope of becoming part of an elite clique of reporters who look out for each other in order to secure jobs and promotions.)
Not much is known about the personal and professional ties between Tabuchi and Stucky. Tabuchi and her Japanese husband are among a small number of people who follow or retweet Stucky on her Twitter account @TokyoGeneva.
Adelstein claimed in an email that Tabuchi in late 2011 helped him decide to hire Stucky. If true, Tabuchi made the decision several weeks after Stucky plagiarized the work of a veteran reporter.
Nov. 13, 9:35 pm
Thank you for coming out today even with your impending deadlines. I appreciate it.
Hiroko-chama was really impressed with you. She gave you two thumbs up. I’ve looked over your stuff and your resume and asked around and so am I. I’d very much like to hire you full-time, starting in December.
THE CUB in THE DEN of THE WOLVES
I first met Stucky at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in July, 2011. I was having lunch at a corner table with a group of sports reporters. Stucky was sitting by herself at the bar. She was wearing glasses, with her hair tied up in a knot. She looked petite, casual, and athletic. I noticed she kept glancing toward us.
“She’s new here,” a friend said. “She doesn’t know anybody at the Club. She’s trying to make contacts to get work in Japan. Maybe you can talk to her about the Tokyo media scene.”
So, after lunch, I went over and introduced myself. She was friendly and talkative. Her father was Swiss, her mother Japanese. She had been a schoolgirl in Bangkok, at the same time I was working there as a reporter in 1988. She joked about her parents taking her to see transvestite dance shows when she was a child. She couldn’t speak Thai, and not much Japanese, but she spoke French fluently and some English. She gave me her resume, and I glanced through it. She had been an assistant to a Japanese journalist with Jiji Press in her native Switzerland. Her job was to go to press conferences, record speeches, transcribe them in French, and give the transcriptions to other Jiji staff. Other than that, she had no training or background in journalism. She had been a competitive junior tennis player, same as me, and a nationally-ranked swimmer. She came to Tokyo, she said, because she was bored living with her parents in Europe, and she wanted to improve her Japanese. She was young enough to be my daughter, so I tried to imagine what her father would tell her.
I was honest with her. The economy is really bad, I said, and few companies are hiring. “You should have been here in March,” I said, referring to the tsunami and nuclear disasters. “Overseas journalists were desperate for fixers and translators then. But now might be too late. Journalists are burned out.” I suggested that, with her skill set and Japanese-Swiss background, she try to work as a “tarento” in Japanese TV, or do something other than journalism. “I’ll try to help you, but I can’t make any promises, and please don’t expect anything from me,” I told her. “But I would love to play tennis some time.”
I didn’t see her for the next few weeks, until she called me and said she was coming to Chiba for a date with an older FCCJ member. He promised to show her the beach in Onjuku and have lunch there. By chance, I was also in Chiba with our dogs at a seaside condo. Stucky and I agreed to play tennis on a Sunday afternoon, just before her date with the older FCCJ member, John Harris.
The name Harris rang a bell. He had fired, without proper cause, my colleague Fred Varcoe, a very good editor who had been living with his family near our seaside place in Chiba. While Harris wasn’t a trained journalist, he had done some PR work for a Japanese automaker and a politician in Afghanistan, and was influential at the FCCJ. Somehow, Harris became in charge of the FCCJ magazine, and fired Varcoe, who had been a popular and diligent editor. Harris also refused, for several months, to honor a previous agreement to pay me for articles I wrote for the FCCJ magazine.
Varcoe’s eyes rolled when I told him that Stucky was coming to Chiba to see Harris of all people.
As promised, Stucky showed up in Chiba on a pleasant Sunday morning. She was lying down on a bench in the station, reading a book about Wikileaks mastermind Julian Assange.
Stucky was an excellent tennis player, full of tenacity. She was bright, confident and clever. Like the Swiss superstar Martina Hingis, she pumped her fist after hitting a winner. I couldn’t just powder puff the ball back to her, as I did with my own beloved partner, who I had been living with since 2005. Against Stucky, I had to play my best to win.
After our match, Varcoe came over to drive Stucky back to the train station. In a fatherly way (since Varcoe has a lovely wife and daughter), he advised Stucky to enjoy her day at the beach in Chiba, but be careful about Harris, who was at least 20 years older than her, and known for allegedly being “a bit of a drinker,” which if true, is not uncommon in Japan. Varcoe warned Stucky, in a jovial way, that Harris lived in an isolated farm area, and his wife was away in Canada. “Don’t let him take you back to his farm house,” said Varcoe. Images of Canadian serial killers came to mind. We joked about her being “abducted” on his “pig farm”. “Whatever happens, don’t go downstairs with him,” we warned her. To be on the safe side, I agreed to meet her again for more tennis later that afternoon, before her return train to Tokyo.
Spending the afternoon with Harris, she was a couple of hours late for our rendezvous to play another set of tennis. Half-jokingly, Varcoe and I considered driving over to his farm “on a rescue mission.” When Stucky finally showed up at the train station at around 5 pm, she was drunk. She told us what had happened. Instead of the beach, the “Old Man” Harris took her shopping for chicken feed and farm implements. Instead of dining at beachside restaurants, as hoped, he drove her to his isolated farm, cooked her lunch, and spiked her ice cream floats with rum and other hard liquor. “He was nice,” she said, woozily. “But I really came here to visit the beach, not his farm.”
Later that summer, I met Stucky again to play tennis at Hibiya Park in central Tokyo, not far from the FCCJ. Thanks to Harris and others, including her Swiss compatriot Georges Baumgartner, the president of the FCCJ, she had become an FCCJ member. But she was still having trouble finding paying work. She was applying for unpaid internships in Bangkok and other cities. “I just need to get some experience and training,” she said. I agreed, but I suggested she accept only paying work, not internships, since she was already in her late twenties, and had done paying work for Jiji Press.
Eventually, she got “hired” to join a group of Tokyo expats starting their own news agency, called Shingetsu News. They already had a client in Iran, and were hoping to score a deal with a large Russian TV organization. They asked Stucky to write a news script about the Japanese yen. The Russians weren’t impressed with her work, to say the least.
I felt sorry for her. The Russian producers had no time for Tokyo mediocrity. They sent her blunt criticism, and they were right. She had no training or experience in news writing, and little knowledge about economics or finance in Japan or any other country. She didn’t even know if the yen was low or high relative to the Euro and dollar. She had no idea how the yen affects exports and imports. But I wanted to help her find some paying work, so I spent ten minutes rewriting the scripts for her, to show her basic TV news style, such as writing in active tense. It worked. She got the gig, though it didn’t last long.
That summer, I needed to make more reporting trips to the disaster zone northeast of Tokyo. Though I had been doing interviews in mainstream Japanese since 1989, I often found it difficult in 2011 to understand the dialect of elderly fishermen in remote areas of Iwate prefecture. I often sought to hang around with local or Tokyo-based Japanese reporters for this purpose, and it was nice to be able to share meals with fellow reporters after our journeys through hell. Given the lack of intact structures, journalists tended to stay in the same hotels near the disaster zone.
This time, I didn’t know of any Japanese colleagues going up north. Stucky, I recalled, told me that she grew up hearing the Tohoku-ben of her mother’s relatives in the Sendai area. So I thought: why not bring Stucky with me to the north-east as an assistant, and show her what it’s like to interview disaster survivors?
She took a train up north to Iwate prefecture and met me there. I rented a car, and drove through the obliteration zone of Rikuzen-takata. It was my third time there, and I was still devastated by the sheer scale of human and material destruction. But Stucky seemed unusually calm and unaffected. She meandered around the zone on her own, peering into ripped up cars and buildings. With her hair tied in pig tails, she looked like Anne of Green Gables in the valley of hell.
As we did interviews that day, I saw her in a new light. She’s really good with people, especially victims, I thought. She listens, with compassion, and naturally reconstructs what happened to them. Not every journalist can do this. Many journalists (including Adelstein) did not leave their Tokyo abode to get their hands and hearts dirty in the disaster zone. (While many Tokyo-based reporters were taking risks in the disaster zones, Adelstein was often preoccupied with his law suit against National Geograpic.) But Stucky seemed to belong here.
That night, after a long search for accommodations in the Ofunato area, we finally found a little family run place with tatami mats and futons. After dropping our luggage there, we went out to meet survivors at an izakaya pub. “This is the best way to meet people and hear their stories,” I taught her. “Just don’t get too drunk. We have to get up early tomorrow to photograph the fish market.”
With her European looks and Tohoku accent, Nathalie of Green Gables was a hit with the locals, even if she couldn’t really understand their conversations. Burly guys in uniforms, who had been working in mountains of debris, bought her rounds of drinks, and I reciprocated. The bill, which I paid, was more than our hotel room fees, but I figured it was a good learning experience for her. I tried to get Stucky to slow down, but she got defensive and continued to drink. She got so blind drunk, I had to carry her through the dark streets and up the stairs to her room, where she immediately passed out and later puked.
The next morning, at 6 am, I was groggy but she was bouncing back just fine. (After all, I was 46 years old, and she was under 30.) She took notes while I did interviews and took photos with fishermen, clean-up workers and elderly ladies in temporary housing. I was impressed at her ability to work with a hangover, an important skill for a journalist.
But later, when I compared our notes, I saw several basic mistakes, such as misspelled names, wrong ages, and inaccurate facts. She misunderstood some of the conversations with sources. Her Japanese comprehension, in fact, was much less than mine. She didn’t even know the word for “government.” Her level was about the same as mine when I did a home-stay in western Japan in 1989. But I figured it was a valuable learning experience for her. In the very least, she would see my published stories and learn from her own mistakes, by comparison. (I had no idea that she would end up plagiarizing them in French, a language I learned to read at school.)
I spent most of September on assignments in eastern Europe. During that time, Stucky in Japan wrote me several emails daily to vent her frustrations with the Tokyo media scene and her “boyfriends”, including men named Tsuya and Mochizuki, she said. She was considering working — for free if necessary — for Mainichi in Switzerland, or a Japanese paper in Bangkok, or an embassy job in Europe, or an NGO in southeast Asia or Africa. “It’s difficult,” I often told her in my replies, “but don’t give up.”
FUKUSHIMA, MON AMOUR
After I came back to Japan in the fall of 2011, Stucky was hounding me to go to Tohoku with her again. She had a hot story, about Naoto Matsumura, “the only guy” living inside the 20-km no-go zone around the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors. Though he was in his 50s, she had a crush on him, based on previous meetings in Tokyo. She fantasized about being with him and writing a book which she would call Fukushima Mon Amour. “I can’t find any other journalists to do this Matsumura story,” she told me. “You have to do it with me.”
But I found out that AP had done a story about him a few months earlier. “Sorry, but I don’t think I can sell it to my clients, who also use AP,” I told her. I also warned her about getting romantically or financially involved with sources, especially an older male living alone in a nuclear contamination zone.
But she begged me to do it, saying the Japanese media were ignoring him, because they were controlled by TEPCO. “AP sanitized the story,” she pleaded, sounding like her hero Assange. “He has so much to say about TEPCO and radiation and the abandoned animals. We have to do this.”
Later, she told me that she had been hired as a fixer and translator for two other young European journalists who were hoping to sell a segment to a European network. They were paying her way up, and they asked me to tag along, at my own expense, to lend my skills and experience to the team effort.
More importantly, for me, she promised me that Matsumura had agreed to provide rare photo and video material, to be shared for free among all journalists covering Fukushima. This could turn out to be valuable material, and I realized I had a duty to get this out, as we had done with images from Lhasa during the Tibetan Uprising in 2008.
The night before the trip, I went to electronics stores in Shibuya and bought equipment to help Matsumura take rare photos and videos inside the Forbidden Zone. I gave it to Stucky, under agreement that I’d be able to use the material, along with other journalists, and credit it to Matsumura-san, since he was taking most of the risk. (Adelstein, who took no risk whatsover, later refused to honour this gentlemen’s agreement, and kept the material for himself.)
The next morning, Stucky and I took the shinkansen up to Koriyama. The European crew were late for our Tokyo rendezvous, and later met us in Koriyama. There was confusion at the station about how we would meet Matsumura and go into “the zone.” Matsumura wanted to meet us in a field near the 20-km zone, and then take us illegally to his home in Tomioka, a few miles from the dangerous plant. “This is a bad idea,” I told her. “We can get lost or in trouble with the police.”
Anxious about the trip, Stucky flew into a tantrum in the Koriyama travel information office. Eventually, she calmed down and agreed to my plan to meet Matsumura safely outside the zone. The European cameramen also eventually saw the wisdom of following the law and staying out of the no-go zone.
While Stucky and the cameramen went to rent a vehicle, I interviewed Matsumura alone in a coffee shop at the station. He was down-to-earth and forthright about his plight. I took a lot of notes and already had enough for my story. Though I liked his sincerity, I couldn’t possibly double-check his account by visiting his home in the no-go zone. I thought about heading straight up to Kesennuma on my own, as planned. But Stucky, worried about what to do, insisted I stay with them a few more hours in Fukushima. Joining us in the coffee shop, she gave Matsumura some gifts: chocolates, wine and a Swiss army knife.
The European TV guys needed images of Matsumura in some sort of toxic-looking field. So we piled into the rental car and followed Matsumura’s little white truck to a rice field, about 30 km west of the reactors. The interview was, as Basil Fawlty would say, “a bit of a debacle I’m afraid.” Matsumura stood in a cold wind for more than an hour.
Stucky, who insisted on doing the interview, asked him close-ended questions that prompted only yes or no answers — a common rookie mistake usually weeded out at journalism school. She perhaps did this because she couldn’t understand his longer answers in Japanese. The European TV guys, needing longer answers, also asked questions in their limited Japanese, dragging out the interview, which should have been shot in 5 minutes.
The European driver, an exceptionally nice guy who wasn’t familiar with driving cars in Japan, backed the car into a ditch; we had to jump out and keep it from tipping over. For Stucky, it was a great adventure. But for me, it felt amateurish, and after we returned to Koriyama station (with me driving this time), I bid adieu and headed to Kesennuma on my own.
This upset Stucky. She felt like I had abandoned her and the team. Later that day, she demanded I pay Matsumura for the interview. I told her it was unethical to pay a source for information or interviews. She then demanded I pay for his gas money, and a bottle of wine as a present. Again, I cited my journalism ethics courses at university: no payments to sources.
The very next day, she took the shinkansen from Tokyo back up to Koriyama by herself, to meet Matsumura again. She called me from the train, demanding I join her immediately. “I already got my story,” I said. I teased her about “falling in love” with Matsumura, for her future novel Fukushima, Mon Amour. Stucky didn’t find this funny. She was angry at me for not going up to Fukushima again with her. She offered to pay my way up, but I declined. Then, a few hours later, she demanded I pay all the expenses for her second trip. “This is crazy,” I told her.
I was sincerely worried that Matsumura would take her to his home in the no-go zone near the leaking reactors. To make her see the reality and potential danger of her Fukushima Mon Amour fantasy, I suggested she rent a geiger counter in Koriyama, and test the levels in the station, outside the station, and near Matsumura’s vehicle. Worried about the safety of her being alone with a lonely old farmer, I begged her not to get into Matsumura’s vehicle. Thankfully, she said she only hung out with him at the station.
A few days later, she sent me the bill for expenses for her second trip — including candies and red wine for Matsumura.
7,460 yen, Shinkasen Tokyo-Koriyama
7,460 yen Koriyama-Tokyo
1330 yen bento box eki ben Tokyo station
1400 yen Taxi Station-Tsutaya back and forth, when pick up Geiger
1220 yen Taxi Station-Tsutaya back and forth, when gave back Geiger
380 yen Avocado Melon Drink Tokyo station
200 yen rental Geiger Counter Tsutaya Koriyama
760 yen sandwich and straight coffee Matsumura at Starbucks
680 yen Nathalie milk tea and macarons Starbucks Koriyama
1980 yen Italian Red Wine, omiyage for Matsumura, at Bic Camera Yurakucho.
TOTAL 22’870 Yen
A JOURNALISM OFFER YOU DON’T REFUSE
Eventually, I began to realize why her attitude had changed so much about me, and about money. She was being courted by Adelstein. He was throwing money at her. He promised her 6 months salary, in advance, extremely unusual in Japan. He bought her a new MacBook Air, and other things. He had a former yakuza boss and convicted criminal as his driver and bodyguard, and he had a lot of money saved up from his years with Yomiuri. He was even offering her an apartment in artsy Shimokitazawa, a big step up from her rented rabbit hutch far away from central Tokyo. For an unemployed young woman alone in Tokyo with little training and experience, it was an offer you don’t refuse.
–On Nov. 12, she wrote:
Mr. Jake Adelstein’s assistant left him to work for Wall Street this week and he just hired me tonight to do transcripts of Japanese interviews into English.
–On Nov. 13, she wrote:
I talked to Japanese and Foreign journalists here at the FCCJ, their opinion is different about Jake. But Mr. H used to know Jake’s assistant, member of the FCCJ, she left because she felt threatened and she flew back to Atlanta for this very reason, according to H. She was not hired by Dow Jones, that’s a lie.
–The same day, she wrote:
I have thought about it, and I think he’s also a shark, and like all the others he wants to f–k me because he wants a stupid naive newcomer who ignores everything about yakuza and to do his dirty work, and if I work for him: it’s worse than working at X…, my career is damaged.
“It smells like fish” like he says in his book.
–Nov. 13, after speaking with me, her tone changed:
I feel better now, because we spoke briefly and I think you are so right, I can really feel experience in your words, when you asked me about my instinct, I could not answer if I want to do this or not. Actually I lied to you, the reality is that I was dying to do something like Julian Assange, but when I understood what he did, and when Jake explained about the fact that the whistleblower has to be protected, I started to rethink the purpose of Wikileaks. Back in January, I even contacted Domsheit-Berg, Assange’s German ex-partner who separated from him and opened “Openleaks”. I also contacted Sunshine Press, but nobody replied to my e-mails. Here in Tokyo I bumped into you and into Adelstein, my dream came true.
(Seeking my opinion, she sent me the email from Adelstein offering her the job.)
–Nov. 13, 9:35 pm, Adelstein wrote:
Thank you for coming out today even with your impending deadlines. I appreciate it.
Hiroko-chama was really impressed with you. She gave you two thumbs up. I’ve looked over your stuff and your resume and asked around and so am I.
I’d very much like to hire you full-time, starting in December. I have one other candidate and I’d like to decide this week. Is it possible to meet at the FCCJ tomorrow at 3:00 pm?
I’ve crunched numbers and I can offer you 350,000 yen a month, 35 hours a week. Transportation would be extra. I’ll guarantee you at least six months of work and draw up a contract. Payment is in advance. You will get a bonus after the first six months.
PS. I don’t know what your living situation is these days but I have a house in Shimokitazawa which doubles as my office. My room mate is a French designer and model. There is one room left to rent out. I don’t own the house but am subleasing it from a college friend for another two years. It might be an option if you’re going to stay a long time in Japan.
A few things that I probably should address:
1) I’m not in any danger nor is anyone working for me or who knows me. (French designer) wouldn’t stay in the house if she thought there was.
2) If you’d like a reference for me, (…) who was my research assistant in the past would tell you I’m a good employer and easy to work with.
3) I have no romantic intentions towards you. This should be obvious but I’m afraid the book makes me look like a total womanizer. I’m in a very nice relationship with someone right now and I keep my personal and working life straight.
–Four months later, after working with Stucky, Adelstein wrote on his blog:
I’m a sleazebag.
Yes, it’s true. The result of that is I’m getting legally separated from my wife, which is a matter of public record. I’m trying to be a better person, support my kids, and honor my debts, moral and financial. If any woman is kind enough to date me for more than a week, I would be grateful and respect her privacy and hope she hasn’t read my book.))))
Stucky took the job. Just like that, she had money and a new MacBook Air.
But the tone of her letters grew more extreme and worrying. She was worried about Matsumura, and Adelstein, “dying of cancer.” She started sounding like a cop, a gangster, and a lawyer. She was paranoid, and prone to wild exaggerations and sudden reversals, and even talk of suicide.
–Nov. 15, Stucky wrote:
Mr. Matsumura is dying… His voice was so sad tonight… He must feel so bad… I cannot stop thinking about him… it makes me cry, he has a Tohoku accent, like my grand mother, and his voice was so tired when I hang off the phone … I feel so empty. Because Mr. Matsumura is so sad. He will die. And so will Jake, from cancer.
THE ATHLETIC YOUNG LADY AND THE PRESS OFFICERS FROM HELL
Stucky’s view of media grew more dark and cynical due to her terrible experience involving the official local organizers and press officers at the World Cup of volleyball in Japan.
In most countries, press officers are heaven sent. They work hard to help journalists do their work, and they open channels between their organizations and the public. But as Stucky discovered, “public relations” officers in Japan often put up a wall around their organization to keep out the public and especially journalists outside the old boys kisha club network.
When Stucky began her job with the international volleyball organization, she sounded excited. Women’s volleyball is a big deal in Japan. Thanks to lucrative TV rights, Japan has hosted the World Cup of volleyball every four years since 1977, even though Japan, with home court advantage, has won no major titles since 1976. Nonetheless, Japan’s stature in the world of volleyball has emboldened local officials who seem to think that international events are for Japanese media only. In a city of spoiled and arrogant officials, they set a new standard for mistreating, harassing and humiliating foreign press, whose main crime is trying to promote the World Cup to the rest of the world.
I learned this by working with them briefly in 2010. For some reason, the old boys of the Japan Volleyball Association handed the job of hiring the best foreign sportswriters in Japan to a young woman, Hiromi Suzuki, who learned English at international schools during her father’s postings in southeast Asia, which she didn’t like. Sent by her parents to ESL programs in London, she learned to hate English and distrust foreigners. Back in Tokyo, she studied English literature at the International Christian University, which somehow qualified her to judge foreign writing talent.
Charged with scheduling foreign writers for the World Cup’s website, she had four guys who wrote match reports at the world championships in 2010. First, she cancelled me off the list. Though I wrote lengthy, detailed semi-final and final reports for the organizers, and I also did a story about the event for the New York Times, I made the “mistake” of going home — at my own expense — on my day off to take care of our dying dog. My other mistake: when she made mistakes calculating my total two-week travel expenses of 14,800 yen, I asked her to do the math again — thus qualifying me as a “trouble-maker”.
To take my place, she hired Rick Martin, a tech news blogger with no experience as a sports writer. Unlike more jaded foreigners, he didn’t ask “difficult” journalistic questions at press conferences. (He’s just like a Japanese journalist, she figured. We can trust him to keep the peace.)
With her roster set, Suzuki could continue her do-nothing job collecting salary at the JVA office. The only problem was me, the Outside Man. She avoided replying to my polite but persistent emails, using the excuse “We get hundreds of letters.” When I dared to call the office, she pretended not to understand English, and insisted on speaking Japanese. When I said in imperfect Japanese that I wanted to cover volleyball instead of going to Saipan, she thought I said “saiban,” meaning “I want to go to court.”
Scared that I would somehow upset the hard-earned JVA harmony, she was determined to keep me away from the event. For this, she played the role of victim to gain sympathy from FIVB chief press officer Richard Baker, a New Zealander long based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
A suave diplomat in Italian suits, Baker saw Japan in glowing terms: a land of polite, sincere, sophisticated hi-tech people opening up to the world. A speaker of Italian, he also admired foreigners in Japan who could navigate the language and culture.
For this reason, he had been hoping to hire me, since we had enjoyed working together at the finals in 2010. Only days before the opening match in Hiroshima, Baker was desperate to find someone to shoot videos, since his regular shooter was having “Japan visa problems” (i.e. fear of radiation). He wanted to employ me for a month, and said the last hire in Macao had agreed to 50 dollars a day (about 3700 yen). “We’ll pay expenses as well. Investigate what the total costs would be for a month, for transportation, hotels and food, and send me a quote,” he said at 11 pm Tokyo time on a Tuesday. “I’ll need it tomorrow morning.”
Before I could conclude a deal potentially worth about 1.2 million yen, however, Suzuki seized the chance to get revenge on me. Over the phone, she told Baker that I still owed the JVA 1820 yen (about $25) in transport costs from last year. (Not true in fact, but never mind, it did the trick.)
Baker was in no position to clash with a local Japan Volleyball Association official. “I’m sorry, I can’t hire you this year, you will have to wait till next year,” Baker said by phone, while I was packing my gear for an expected assignment the next morning in Hiroshima. “The FIVB and JVA have a partnership going back 30, 40 years. I can’t take sides on this issue. You have your story, Suzuki has hers. I have to remain neutral.”
Overworked and doing too many jobs on his own without sufficient help from Japanese officials, Baker tried to make videos by himself. At best, they were shaky, poorly-framed, badly lit videos of inaudible athletes appearing as zombies in the mixed zone and press conferences. I felt sorry for Baker; he was a nice guy dealing with haughty, stubborn Japanese officials. Knowing that he needed help, I called Stucky and suggested she call Baker, without mentioning my name.
Baker was relieved to get a call from Stucky, who said that she had heard about the job via contacts at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. Since Stucky was from Lausanne, the home of the world volleyball organization, Baker hired her immediately.
“Can you come to Hiroshima tomorrow morning? We need you for three days, possibly more in Sapporo and Tokyo after that,” he told her.
“Well, yes, I’m available, but what about payment details?”
“We’ll talk about that when you get here.”
Sensing something fishy, Stucky insisted on an offer in writing. Baker, perhaps thinking that Japan is like an Egyptian market, started out with an offer one-fifth the going rate in Japan. He reasoned that it was “easy work,” only requiring two-thirds of her time, leaving her free to do other work during the day (as if she could work in Tokyo while at an arena in Hiroshima.) Finally, late at night, he agreed to Stucky’s reasonable demands of 30,000 yen per day, and told her she could bill FIVB to reimburse expenses, such as a hotel room under 15,000 yen per night.
Dropping everything to go work three days in Hiroshima, Stucky woke up before 6 am, made a 6-hour train journey to Hiroshima, and worked from noon to midnight non-stop, transcribing interviews, writing features, and shooting videos, something she had never done before. Exhausted, she was dying to hit her bed at the Sheraton, which she paid for with her own cash. But Baker, staying at the Grand Prince Hotel far from the arena, insisted they go for dinner and drinks. Like many young Japanese women pressured by their bosses, she could not refuse.
After spending only a few hours in her room at the Sheraton, she worked a 14-hour Saturday, for 30,000 yen. Baker again worked past midnight, essentially compelling the Japanese women around him to stay late also, since Japanese customarily won’t leave work until their boss does.
Again, with only a few hours sleep, Stucky went to work on Sunday, and looked forward to bonding with the young JVA press officers. Needing someone to help her arrange an interview with a Chinese player, she asked a JVA press officer who was sitting doing nothing — Suzuki. “It is not my job to help foreigners,” snapped Suzuki. “Besides, I hate the Chinese.”
Offended, Stucky mentioned the matter to Baker and Martin. “She’s useless,” they told her. It was better to ask Shino-san, an earnest, obedient, overworked 31-year old woman pushed around by those older and younger than her, especially Suzuki, 27.
Alas, after the Sunday matches, Baker made no mention of future work in Sapporo, Tokyo or elsewhere. “Let’s meet up in Lausanne,” he said, casually, as Stucky left to catch the train back to Tokyo.
Figuring that her volleyball work was finished for the year, Stucky returned to Tokyo to focus on other projects. Little did she know that the Press Officers from Hell were concocting a story behind her back, blaming her for the bad air in the press room over the next two weeks.
She only realized this when she tried to cover the final round US-Japan volleyball for Adelstein and his US media outlet. After buying a ticket from a scalper and watching part of the game from the stands, she went to the press entrance door behind Yoyogi national stadium in Tokyo. She climbed a stairwell, as if approaching a dark castle looming overhead. There, Japanese officials were ready to repel the foreign barbarian.
* * * * * *
A day earlier, the Press Officers had warded off an invasion attempt by “Mr. Johnson”, who wanted to cover the USA matches for US media. I recorded the exchange on my camera.
“You cannot go in. It’s a rule,” said a well-powdered woman identifying herself only as “Chisato”.
“But I applied for press accreditation last week,” I said, wearing a suit and carrying a camera and four lenses. “I was accredited last year, and I also worked for the JVA.”
“You are not on the list. It’s a rule,” she said.
Sensing trouble, an older man, Kazuhiko Tanaka, rushed to the scene to defend the innocent Japanese woman. He told her in Japanese: “Just tell this foreigner in English to get the hell out of here.”
Chisato translated his comments as “Sorry, you cannot come in.”
I mentioned the name of Taizaburo Nakano, an open-minded, kind-hearted gentleman and former volleyball player who was Vice President of Coca-Cola Japan and President of the Japan Volleyball Association. In other words, he was the big boss of Tanaka and Chisato.
“Who the hell is Nakano?” said Tanaka to Chisato in Japanese.
“He is the president of the JVA,” I said, camera rolling. “He is the most senior and respected person in this building.”
“That means nothing here,” Tanaka muttered to Chisato. “Tell him in English that I know nothing.”
Chisato translated his comments as “Sorry, you are not on the list.”
Checking the list, I noticed dozens of Japanese names, but no foreigners.
“This is the World Cup, not the Japan Cup,” I said. “I’m trying to promote the event overseas. Why do you keep out foreigners?”
The Japanese were suddenly offended. “There is no racism here,” said Tanaka in Japanese. Sensing the situation spiraling out of control, when in fact it was completely calm, Tanaka called in security. A brawny young stud in a business suit, Seki Kejiro, then hounded me out the door, down the stairs, and across the parking lot.
“Why are you following me? Am I a criminal?” I asked in Japanese.
“Sorry, I cannot speak English,” said Kejiro.
Undaunted, I bought a ticket, and used a 300mm lens to take photos of the match. Nice young Japanese ushers, feeling sorry for a foreigner denied accreditation, let me work from the concourse level near the wheelchair section. I was surprised by the number of professional photographers doing the same thing, since they had been denied proper accreditation.
The photos showed about 70 Japanese sitting in the press tribune (some might have been officials out of uniform), and only one foreigner, Rick Martin. The ratio was 70 to one, for a World Cup match.
Out of less than 30 accredited photographers, only one was a foreigner: a silver-haired Italian veteran hired by FIVB back in Europe. At games not involving Japan, press officers outnumbered journalists, whether Japanese or foreign. When Italy clinched the World Cup by beating Kenya before 800 fans in a 12,000 seat stadium, a Tokyo-based Italian video-maker seemed to be the only foreign TV journalist. For the final match of the tournament, not one American media rep was allowed to cover the United States against Japan.
So, when Stucky approached the press entrance during the US-Japan match, the Japanese staff were ready for battle. They made her wait outside on a chilly night. They threw various staff at her, who hid the names on their ID cards, in case a reporter was lurking. Stucky saw some accredited Japanese journalists showing up drunk half-way through the US-Japan match. When she asked them to help her, they laughed at her. “Ore we kankei nai yo,” said one. “It has nothing to do with me.”
She saw Martin, who she knew from working together in Hiroshima. “Rick, can you help me? I have to cover this presser for US media. Can you ask a question for me?”
Martin was in a hurry to get press conference quotes, since he was the only accredited English language writer in a world of seven billion people, many of whom play volleyball. “I know all about your problems. I don’t want to get involved,” he said.
Stucky was confused. What problems?
She insisted on seeing the top person in charge. The JVA workers promised to get Richard Baker, but he never came. (He also blocked calls from her mobile phone). Stucky, determined not to give up, waited outside in the bitter cold.
Finally, after the match was over, an august official named Hiroshi Takeuchi deigned to meet her. He introduced himself in English as “the Press Commissioner of the International Federation.” He had also been a press delegate for Japan’s national teams at the Beijing and Vancouver Olympics. He did not tell her an important fact: he also works for Kyodo News, which has a vested interest in keeping out foreign journalists who might also try to supply Kyodo’s clients in the English media world. He was thus a player, and the referee.
Stucky recorded their conversation and later wrote it out:
“Sir, can you please help me? It’s 99 percent Japanese journalists in there, and no American media at all. Volleyball was invented in America, you know.”
Takeuchi spoke down to her in haughty, broken English. “The Organizing Committee decided to decline your application not on the merit of the organization you are working for, but for other reasons.”
(He was referring to her written request sent to the JVA Press Office a week earlier.)
“What other reasons? Please tell me, I’m confused.”
“Well,” he said, clearing his throat. “The organizers want a quiet, enjoyable surroundings.” (i.e. a do-nothing job collecting salary, like in the office 11 months of the year.)
“What do you mean? I have not disturbed the volleyball.”
“That’s your stance,” he said, proud of knowing the word “stance” in English. “We have a completely different stance of view.”
“We cannot destruct the whole tournament.”
“What do you mean? I went inside the stadium today as a paying customer.”
“As far as I’ve heard, your actions are destructive to the whole tournament.”
“The whole tournament? You know,” said Stucky, daring to defend herself, “foreigners have a lot of problems here.”
“There’s no racism here at all,” Mr. Takeuchi said, switching into Japanese to exert superiority over her. “We’ve welcomed many foreign journalists.”
“Really? How many?”
“Dozens.” (In fact, three.)
“And how many Japanese?”
“So, dozens of foreigners, hundreds of Japanese, at a World Cup match.”
“Yes, in Japan, it’s quite normal.”
Continuing to stand up for herself, Stucky finally had to leave when beefy security guys ushered her out of the building, down the stairs and into the parking lot.
In the end, the US lost, Japan won in front of 12,000 fans, Italy won the World Cup in front of 800 spectators, and almost nobody but the Japan Times picked up the story in the English media world. Takeuchi, Suzuki, Baker and the Press Officers from Hell went about their cushy jobs, relieved that they had successfully put down an attempted palace coup by foreign journalists seeking to promote volleyball around the world.
Stucky and I went for Thai noodles near Shibuya station. She was insulted, humiliated, devastated. She cried. She couldn’t take it anymore. She wanted to escape from Japan and go to her father’s place in Bangkok or her mother’s house in Switzerland. I persuaded her to stay in Japan, which, in hindsight, may have been a mistake.
On Nov. 27, she wrote me:
What a bad, bad, bad trip… I really want to throw myself from a high bridge if I didn’t have that commitment and promise I made to Mr. Matsumura-sama…
Over the next few days, she wrote and called me like crazy. Though I felt sorry for her, I had to ask her to calm down and leave me alone to do my own work.
Then, just days after hiring her, with six months payment in advance, Adelstein took his new recruit to a conference in Berlin.
–Dec. 7, Stucky wrote:
Gosh, it’s a crazy schedule since I came back from Berlin yesterday. I haven’t had time to sleep properly. I had gastro-flu for 24 hours while I was there in Europe too. Puking 4 times a night. Gosh. I’m dying from radiation too much investigation motivation recreation crazy nation.
–Dec. 8, she wrote:
Chris!!! Please help me I was about to call you today, I had a bad trip, as always, I do not trust anyone at all, you are all sharks, including you. Many people tried and are still trying to abuse me. I cannot handle this anymore …
FIRST PLAGIARIZE, THEN DISCREDIT THE ACCUSER — it works
About a week later, we had an argument over the phone. She was again demanding I pay her expenses for the second solo trip to Fukushima, which she made against my advice. She also demanded I pay Matsumura for the interview; again, I told her it goes against the ethics I learned at journalism school. There was another issue. AFP had moved a story worldwide under her byline.
The story, as I discovered, had the same points, information, organizational structure and selected quotes (in some cases, word for word) as my original story about Matsumura, published weeks earlier in a US daily.
The tone of her emails changed. She sounded like Adelstein, using Japanese legal terminology, though I knew that she could not yet write Japanese kanji.
–Dec. 17, she wrote:
I know that this will make you angry. Please think about what I’m saying before making an improper response.
I have consulted with my lawyer and a senior journalist at NHK and Jake Adelstein. You do not own the rights to Mr. Matsumura’s story nor to the photos. In fact, if anyone has the right to the story–it would be me since I conducted the interview, asked the questions in Japanese and did the transcript. I was the primary agent in the interview. However, we were all there together. Afterwards, over several weeks, I continued to be in touch with Mr. Matsumura, and it was I who went up, on my own money, to Koriyama to obtain the photographs.
If you want to sue AFP in Washington DC, that is a foolish thing to do and you will probably lose. It might also force me to sue you for defamation of character and obstruction of work (業務妨害) in Japan. I will win.
In his slam blog attacking me in March 2012, Adelstein wrote that it’s somehow acceptable for fixers or translators to write their own bylined articles, based on their work trips with seasoned reporters.
“Since multiple journalists report on the same news story, it is always easy to make that accusation,” Adelstein wrote on a blog attacking me. “One problem increasingly in the world of free-lance journalism is that what once were called “fixers” now also write as journalists as well. In fact, I consider it a problem that many journalists take credit for articles that are actually mostly written by the fixers.”
In my case, since I sell my work in various countries and languages, I would not have worked with a fixer or translator who would later become a direct competitor, selling work to my potential markets.
I am not credited in any of Stucky’s suspicious work. I would not give anyone permission to use my work in this way, since I sell my original intellectual property in many languages and markets around the world.
She took these stories of mine …
… and used them, below in French. After I wrote Atlantic Wire editor Gabriel Snyder, AFP and others in October 2012, some of these articles were removed. Her series “Lettres-du-japan” for Gazette de Geneve was at:
Below are the links to some of her articles:
(my article about Ofunato fish market reopening)
(my article about Ofunato fish market reopening)
(my Ofunato story about a colorful barber shop)
(my Rikuzen-takata story about depressed seniors.)
(my Rikuzen-takata “Tree of Hope” story)
She also took my original story for the Washington Times, then wrote it in French and sold it to the AFP in Tokyo, who then translated it into English for worldwide distribution and sale:
On Nov. 24, Stucky emailed me: “I need to talk to you about some translation of your Ofunato articles that I did back in August and which have been published in Geneva school blogs… Could we meet today in Hibiya Park.”
The plagiarized articles appeared along with a photo of Stucky, their “Japan correspondent”.
Then on December 13, AFP moved a story plagiarizing my piece in the Washington Times published three weeks earlier on Nov. 23, based on my private solo interview with Naoto Matsumura in a coffee shop in Koriyama, Fukushima in mid-November. At that time, Stucky was also in Koriyama, working as an assistant for a crew of European residents of Japan hoping to sell a story about Matsumura to RAI TV in Italy. They were not present during my interview with Matsumura, because they were arranging a car rental outside the station. Later that day, I took a train alone to Kesennuma and did not join them for their interviews with Matsumura in Koriyama, because I felt it was unethical for Stucky to essentially pay Matsumura for interviews by giving him “gas money”, wine, cheese, and other gifts. The next day, Stucky took the bullet train from Tokyo to Koriyama to meet Matsumura again, and for some strange reason she demanded I pay her expenses because she took geiger counter readings (which I didn’t need for my story). She later demanded I pay Matsumura for photos I took of him, and demanded to see my freelancer contract with the Washington Times. She also demanded I pay Matsumura a share of my earnings from my stories about him. I considered this amateurish and unethical behavior, and decided to avoid working with her. Since that time, I met her only once, for 10 minutes that November, 2011 at her request at the FCCJ in Tokyo.
I believe that Stucky plagiarized my work because, without formal training or a history of published original stories, it was the easiest way for her to get a byline in Geneva and then with the AFP, a way to launch her career as a reporter.
In December 2011, I emailed and phoned Stucky, asking her to consult her “sempai” (mentor) Hiroko Tabuchi, who helped to hire her. I’m not sure what happened with Tabuchi.
Stucky replied by accusing me of “stalking her”, and said I could be arrested and deported. I’ve kept her emails.
I wrote Adelstein on Dec. 17. (He didn’t reply.)
|—-I’m sorry to write you on a weekend, and I hope you are doing well. I’m writing you because a person who claims to be your employee, Nathalie Stucky, has threatened to take police and court action against me. She says she has consulted you, an NHK employee and legal counsel regarding this. I have never stalked or physically threatened Nathalie or any other journalist. This problem simply relates to the fact that AFP’s English service has plagiarized my story about Naoto Matsumura and sold it to several of my frequent buyers. AFP’s story (which has appeared in Japantoday.com, yahoo.com, France 24, the Bangkok Post, Straits Times Singapore, and many others) has the same points, information, organizational structure and selected quotes (in some cases, word for word) as the original story which I alone did as a freelancer, and sold several weeks ago to the Washington Times and others.——-I have done more than 2000 stories in a 28-year career, including more than 100 original features this year, based on more than 10 trips to the disaster zone. I made the trip to Koriyama to meet the source, Naoto Matsumura, at my own expense and time. I did an interview with him in Starbucks (while Nathalie and others were elsewhere), and based my story on my notes, research, and nothing else. I could not even hear Nathalie’s subsequent interview for RAI TV with Matsumura in a windy field, since I was going around taking photos and videos from various angles for my own work. I sold photos, which I took myself (confirmed in the EXIF data) to the Washington Times. I never paid Matsumura a bribe, in the form of a payment or a gift, and I have made no promises or agreements with him regarding share of sales. I have worked in accordance with media law and professional ethics, as I have since studying these things as a journalism student.—-I could not have possibly stalked Nathalie. Immediately after the Matsumura interview, I took a train alone north, and did not see Nathalie after that until the day I saw you at the FCCJ, after the Woodford presser. I met Nathalie in a restaurant, at her request. She made outrageous accusations and lambasted me, in public, for 10 minutes, and then left. I have not seen Nathalie since that time, and I told her I did not want to meet people who would humiliate me in public like that, since I value my reputation. She told me she went to Berlin with you. I was in Japan the entire time, working on several stories, and could not have stalked her. She says she then came back to Japan and went immediately to Nagoya. Again, I was in Tokyo or Kesennuma, and could not have stalked her or threatened her.|
It seems Adelstein did nothing about it, other than to smear me. This raises the question: did Adelstein do nothing about plagiarism because he himself is lifting stories from Japanese writers, translating them into English, and selling them as his own to the Atlantic, Daily Beast, Telegraph and others? Many journalists here find it suspicious that Adelstein has written a large number of articles with no named sources and no information that other journalists can verify.
If somebody wrote me accusing me or my employee of plagiarism, I would do something. Yet Adelstein seemingly did nothing.
Their actions raise a number of questions:
If Stucky’s stories are not plagiarism, then why did La Gazette de Geneve remove the articles? (They would likely keep them if nothing wrong.)
Did Stucky properly represent herself on the website of the Committee for Protection of Journalists: http://www.cpj.org/blog/2012/09/japans-independent-journalism-on-trial-with-tanaka.php
Also, commenters online claim that ousted Olympus CEO Michael Woodford fled Japan after Adelstein told him his life is in danger. The National Geographic crew, quoted in my story about Adelstein, said that Adelstein repeatedly warned them their lives were in danger, and his court application contains several warnings, none of which came true. So, did Adelstein mislead Woodford into thinking he had to flee Japan, when in fact he could have stayed, contacted police, and resolved differences with Olympus in a low-key way?
Commenters have noted that Tabuchi’s coverage of the Olympus scandal cited Adelstein’s comments about yakuza involvement:
KICK A MAN WHEN HE’S DOWN
While I was in Canada, distraught about being unable to return to my home and life in Japan, Stucky and I exchanged a small number of letters. She appeared supportive in some letters, and angry in others.
–Jan. 20, she wrote:
Hi there, you are a cynical person, and so is Adelstein I guess. You are all sharks, the only journalist who is not a shark is (xxx). Even (xxxx) is a shark. I hate sharks. You are all sharks, journalists do not care about people’s life, they just want to make money in poor people’s back. I hate this job. When I’m done I am going to stop all this and go back to Switzerland to my parents. I am so sorry for what happened all of a sudden, this was a bad trip. Home is where I am supposed to be. I hate Japan, I hate houshanou, I hate foreigners. I hate liars. I hate men in general. Especially those who want to take advantage of people who are simply polite.
–After more angry and desperate letters from her, I wrote her on Jan. 31:
|You should leave Japan for your own safety. You have a bright future ahead of you. Get out of darkness and run into the light please.|
–On Feb. 8, I wrote Adelstein:
|I hope you are doing well in America. I’m sorry to disturb you if you are writing your next book. I look forward to reading and reviewing it. I have discovered something about Narita which might interest your own work about organized crime. I’m wondering if you or any of your contacts know who might be involved at the airport? Seems they have made millions of dollars off foreigners in legal limbo.Thanks again for your comments in the past.|
On March 11, 2012, when much of Japan was commemorating the disasters, somebody hacked Adelstein’s website, knocking it down for a few days. Adelstein publicly blamed me. He suspected I hacked him in reaction to his lengthy March 6 column falsely accusing me, without showing any evidence or proof, of a personal vendetta against him. He called me aggressive, unsavoury, a child molester, and a sociopath. He didn’t name me, but everybody knew he was talking about me, the “disgruntled journalist” he attacked in his blog posting a few days earlier on March 6.
Though Adelstein only referred to me as the “disgruntled journalist”, some of his fans swore allegiance to him by attacking me by name.Whenever I tried to defend myself in replies, he twisted or rewrote my words and signed it “Troll.” It was malicious and unethical, and it probably didn’t gain Adelstein many new fans, despite his hard work of finishing and promoting his book Tokyo Vice.
I was shocked to read the words of Adelstein. The anniversary of 3/11 was a very spiritual and moving day for me. After March 11, I made about 10 trips to the disaster zone. I thought about those people all day on the 3/11 anniversary. It was an emotional time for me. I had just been allowed back into Japan with a new work visa (my fifth). To honour the tsunami victims, I posted an Ode to Tohoku on my blog, (http://globalite.posterous.com/a-year-after-311-disasters-tohoku-rich-with-l.) On March 11, I spent the afternoon at Hibiya Park with thousands of people, listening to Japanese music legend Ryuichi Sakamoto and Welsh-Canadian naturalist and writer C.W. Nicol talk about their love for Japan. Like others in the crowd, I cried at 2.46 pm, the moment the earthquake struck a year earlier. I then photographed an anti-nuclear demonstration marching past TEPCO’s HQ in Tokyo. A right wing thug tried to attack me and bust my camera, but no big deal. That night, I joined a big and loving group of friends at a benefit concert featuring some of my favorite bands which mix foreign and Japanese artists. It was spiritually uplifting, and I was moved by friends who thanked me for writing about the detention and expulsion of thousands of foreigners in Japan.
Then I went home and did live TV reports for my producers in Canada and Europe. I watched Asahi TV and my favourite Japanese news anchor, Furudachi-san, do an emotional report from Ofunato about the tsunami and nuclear disasters. Before going to bed, I checked Twitter.
In a tweet, Tabuchi summed up how many of us felt on the 3/11 anniversary: “The sight of this little boy offering flowers at a 3.11 memorial is making me cry. Really hard not to get emotional.”
But the tone, and feeling, was very different between Adelstein, OurManInAbiko, Dan Ryan and their associates.
It looks like our blog http://bit.ly/fBcRJm has been slightly sabotaged. I suspect disgruntled journalist. やれやれ.
I went to his website, to the post attacking me, and a notice came up in a series of codes.
Some followers hurried to help Adelstein. @ThatDanRyan, co-editor of the gang’s new book with OurManInAbiko and others, wrote:
By the way, do you really think a certain disgruntled journalist is smart enough to sabotage JSRC in this way? I suspect not.
Adelstein, obsessing over me, replied:
“But he has idiot friends. Him? Not at all but like many sociopaths, he’s very good at convincing people to do what he wants.”
Others connected to QuakeBook jumped in to defend the honour of Adelstein. Some called the alleged hacking a “brute force attack”.
Adelstein seemed more interested in attacking me than in heeding the advice of technical experts.
–Yes, and disgruntled journalist is only an exceptional escape artist, but not an exceptional writer.
A follower named Jon @toshogu wrote:
—the people like him who get so defensive usually is due to fact they know they are inadequate.
Exerting his command, Adelstein kept his followers in line:
Responding to the fatwa against me, some of his cronies pledged their loyalty to Adelstein:
Then, Adelstein returned to his obsession with the yakuza. At 4am on a Sunday night, when the members of my indie rock gang were drowning our post-disaster sorrows in wine and beer, Adelstein claimed he was writing a treatise on the history of Japan’s failed attempts to eliminate the yakuza from financial markets. But then a follower reminded him of his blog attack on me, and pledged allegiance.
@Marfil So kind. At this rate, I shall have a small army. 😀
Reading these public threats against me, I couldn’t help thinking that on March 11, while other reporters were focussed on the anniversary of the worst catastrophe of our lifetimes, Adelstein was preoccupied with accusing a fellow colleague — me — of threatening to “sexually molest your children.”
Why would Adelstein risk his public reputation by attacking a fellow reporter and author? It’s not clear, and Adelstein hasn’t responded to requests for comment. One possibility, among others, is that Adelstein was trying to keep his assistant Stucky away from me, perhaps out of fear that Stucky would pass along sensitive information about Adelstein.
Indeed, Stucky had been trying to meet me earlier that day. Though the meeting never happened, it’s not clear what Stucky told Adelstein, and how Adelstein might have interpreted or misunderstood that information.
At around noon on Sunday, March 11 (only days after my return to Japan), I got a call from Stucky, our first conversation in a long time. (She made the call to the mobile phone of my Japanese partner.) She said she had some important news that I had to hear.
“Come quickly to meet me near the FCCJ,” Stucky said, her voice quivering. “I can meet you in 20 minutes.”
“I’m sorry, but I’m still at home. I can be there in an hour. Can you wait?”
“No, I can’t. I have another meeting.”
“How about we meet near the tennis courts at Hibiya park? I’m going there for a ceremony to commemorate March 11.”
“Is it March 11?” she asked.
“Yes, of course, it’s Sunday, March 11. The anniversary of the disaster.”
“No! I thought it was Saturday.”
The next day, Monday, I called her mobile phone, in reply to her messages. She was at the FCCJ. The conversation revealed what I long suspected. NHK employees had been passing around a recording to foreign correspondents such as Adelstein. It was a doctored recording of an alleged conversation between myself and David Schaufele, the voice of NHK TV and psycho-killer Eddie Dombrowski in the video game Silent Hill 2, and the co-creator and narrator of the 9/11 conspiracy video Return to Reality.
Since 2007, Schaufele has repeatedly tried to bully me and discredit my reputation by claiming that I allegedly threatened his wife and children. In 2007, he got me fired by going to our new bosses at NHK and claiming that he had gone to Shibuya police with this recording. (In fact, when my partner and I visited the Shibuya police station, the officers claimed they new nothing about Schaufele or his claims.)
In a series of email exchanges and phone calls on Monday March 12, Stucky said she heard, on the night of March 11 (when Adelstein and his cohorts were threatening me on twitter), the alleged recording of my voice five years ago. “I know everything about you threatening to abuse someone at NHK’s children,” she wrote. “I heard that during the night yesterday night.”
I tried to explain the background story to Stucky. “It’s an outrageous accusation,” I said by phone. “I would never do anything to any man’s children. It’s true that anybody can say bad things. But only real sleaze-meisters make doctored recordings and go around playing it to smear someone’s reputation five years later.”
Stucky replied by saying that the recording could seriously damage my career and reputation in Tokyo.
I asked her for confirmation of the information.
She told me “this tape is circulating among NHK (staff). I heard it on someone’s computer.”
In other words, when most journalists and people in Japan were mourning 3/11 or protesting against TEPCO, NHK staffers and Adelstein’s gang were preoccupied with smearing another journalist.
Stucky told me I should leave Japan and never come back. She also told me, on the phone, that somebody was threatening to kill her. She was crying out for help. She said she felt sick, like she wanted to vomit. I advised her to go to the police immediately, and to contact organizations dedicated to protecting threatened journalists.
Instead, after she consulted her boss, Adelstein, she sent me a letter asking me never to contact her again. It was totally different than her other letters, which often have spelling and grammar errors, due to her usage of English as a second language. This letter was in perfect, legalese English, and thus I suspected that Adelstein wrote it.
They didn’t stop there. They called Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based organization dedicated to protecting journalists, in order to complain about me “threatening” journalists in Japan. The organization’s officers, dealing with real threats to journalists in Syria, had no time for these teenage bullying games in Japan. One officer later told me that I should retain my own lawyer and go to the police for protection.
Given the extent of their harassment and smear campaign, I kept the email exchanges between myself and Stucky as evidence. It shows how Adelstein, NHK staff and others were misleading — and scaring — Stucky, who at that time was a cub reporter without much money.
–Date: Monday, March 12, 2012, 10:14 PM, Stucky wrote:
—You know I am a very hard working person, and I am currently fucking working!!!! Probably until 2 am!!!! Again!!!
And I am sorry, but there is a new reality. I know everything about you threatening to abuse someone at NHK’s children. If this is true, I am really scared of who you really are.
I heard that during the night yesterday night, so not before the demo in Hibiya Park, OK?????!!!!! I really had time that afternoon, but then you could not make it. I am sorry if you had a charity concert and all the interviews at your house. It’s actually very good for you.
But with this threat you did to a NHK employee, if I were you, I would leave Japan immediately, and never come back.
—On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 10:28 PM, Chris Johnson wrote:
|Always consider the source. Don’t believe hearsay. Don’t believe the smear campaign.|
|—– From: Nathalie Stucky, Monday, March 12, 2012 — Holy Jesus, I am referring to a source, I heard a tape record where you are threatening to abuse someone’s children at their school!!!I am warning you, please, you better get out of here soon, before people find you!! Hopefully no one finds you in Tohoku, but I guess if the Tokyo National Police finds that tape records, it is going to have a big impact on your career!!!|
—-On Mar 12, 2012, at 11:10 PM, Chris Johnson wrote:
—I heard about this in 2007. Don’t worry about it. Schaufele baited me, tampered with it, took it out context, used it to get me fired in order for him to get the shift schedule he wanted.
—-On Monday, March 12, 2012, 11:17 PM, Nathalie Stucky wrote:
—This tape is circulating among NHK. I heard it on someone’s computer. I cannot get it, of course not.
I don’t want to be friends with someone who said such awful things to someone at NHK. I heard that this person had a nervous break down.
|—-Monday, March 12, 11:37 pm, Johnson wrote: —Please consider the alterior motive of why someone is playing that so-called tape for you. They are trying to discredit and smear a pro journalist, for their own gain. They are seeking revenge, like yakuza or criminals. They want to keep us apart, because you know too much about them, and they are afraid you will tell me everything. —–|
—-On Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 1:46 AM, Nathalie Stucky wrote:
—-I am not ruining your reputation, I never did. I simply heard a radio recorder. And I am telling you to be careful, because you are in a danger zone in Japan.
——March 13, 10:04 am, Johnson wrote —
|Somebody is trying to harass you, by playing you that tampered recording from 5 years ago. Most normal people, 99.9 percent, would never do such a thing. They are trying to intimidate you, to scare you. You should go to the police and report it immediately. You are a young freelance woman in a vulnerable position, they will protect you. You are a Japanese citizen. Please trust the police in Tokyo. They are far more powerful than NHK or any journalist or media organization. They will look at the facts, and they will act. Please don’t be afraid. Very good, very smart people are working behind the scenes to protect honest, hardworking people like you and me. You should not be defending the sinister person who played you the recording. Don’t be defending your bosses, and don’t even worry about me. You have to defend yourself. Best thing is go to the police and report it. They will help you.|
—Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 2:09 pm, a message from Nathalie Stucky said:
I want no contact with you at all.
I have asked you not to contact me, threaten me, or bother me.
Do not write me, call me, me, harass or contact me.
If you contact me again, I will take the appropriate legal measures.
After that, Adelstein and Stucky, on several online sites, repeatedly accused me of being a “child molester” and “sociopath.” Their associate, Our Man In Abiko, editor of Quakebook, made insults and physical threats on his twitter account, blog and other sites. I believe their goal was to gain online attention to coincide with the release of their new book, including articles by Adelstein and Stucky.
Adelstein’s April 16 slam blog, with assistance from Christian Science Monitor, Global Post and Hollywood Reporter correspondent Gavin Blair, defamed me in great detail. The article drew 170 comments, far more than other blog posts. Adelstein later removed the article:
Around that time, Posterous.com began to host a slam site, “Pistopher Jones”, showing Adelstein’s attacks on his own blog.
On April 16, Mr. Adelstein sent a private email to me, saying:
“The next time I hear from you, I’m going to file charges of 威力業務妨害. You are not a journalist; you make threats under the guise of journalism and you are mentally ill. If you were a real man, you’d stop hiding behind the pretense of being a journalist and come punch me out–but you’re too much of a pussy.”
Mr. Adelstein threatened legal action, which he claimed could result in my spending two years in jail, and said he was sending all correspondence to “police in the US, Canada and Japan.”
These were not idle threats. Adelstein sued National Geographic TV in District of Columbia court in spring of 2011, when other journalists were covering the Tohoku disasters.
Various sources, who have been involved in altercations with Adelstein, accused Adelstein of using pseudonyms to attack me here:
ANY ADULTS IN THE ROOM?
The FCCJ has apparently done nothing about any of this. FCCJ’s elected president and executives did not reply to my emails last year. Instead, Naomichi Iwamura, the manager of membership affairs, sent a letter to Jake Adelstein (and not to me), saying that “it is none of FCCJ business” and merely a private matter between a member, Adelstein, and a non-member.
差出人: iwamura <email@example.com>
日時: 2012年7月10日10:31:22 JST
宛先: “Mr. Jake Adelstein” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear Mr. Jake Adelstein,
My name is Naomichi Iwamura of FCCJ club office. I believe that you would be well.
By the way, as the President requested, please see following an email from an non-member for your reference and the President mentioned that it is non of FCCJ business, a private matter between you and him.
Thank you very much in advance and your understanding would be most appreciated.
Manager, Membership Affairs
I only found out about this FCCJ official response because Adelstein forwarded the letter to me, along with his usual warnings, legal threats and claims that everybody else is against me. As he wrote in an email on August 7, 2012: “You should also stop claiming Reporters Without Borders backs you up. That is not the case. I know you have had a similar problem with Christian Science Monitor in the past that you have with me now. I’ve asked how they dealt with you. I’ll consider their advice.”
“I don’t name you anywhere in the blog but you keep naming yourself. As for the very upsetting audio of you threatening to molest another reporter’s daughter, which I do believe is your voice–I didn’t post it but I don’t doubt it’s authentic. Please take that up with YouTube if you think you have a case.”
“It would be civil of you to remove your posts about David (Schaufele at NHK), Nathalie Stucky, other journalists and myself from your blog. Why are the Tokyo Police calling you?” he wrote. “Please stop harassing me, David, Hiroko Tabuchi, Yuri Kageyama, Gavin (Blair of Christian Science Monitor), and everyone else who has “wronged” you.”
Adelstein’s point, in effect, is that a trained, veteran foreign correspondent should allow Schaufele to ruin his job, Blair to steal his strings, and Tabuchi, Kageyama, Buckton, OurManInAbiko and others to ostracize him on Twitter — and this reporter should do nothing about it. It shows how deeply Adelstein understands the Darwinian media system in Japan, where might makes right and banality trumps morality.
On this point, Adelstein might be right. After four years in journalism school and 26 years of experience in an exhilarating job that took me to 100 countries and 8 war zones, I probably should abandon a journalism career in Japan, and move on to better things. But why should any journalist allow people to do this?
I tried to build a bridge with Adelstein by occasionally retweeting some of his wise or funny tweets. I also offered a few positive comments on his blog, which he ran without trouble. I do want Adelstein, Stucky, Tabuchi and the others to succeed as writers, because we badly need quality journalism and literature in Tokyo. Adelstein recently claimed that he has received donations for his website, and will use funds to support the work of young journalists in Japan. I sincerely hope that Adelstein, Stucky, Tabuchi and the others will eventually come to respect my long dedication to the craft — dating back to 1984 — and my positive longterm relationships with my family and hundreds of friends in many countries.
On the other hand, given the lack of oversight or “ethics police” in Tokyo, there’s little reason to expect that Stucky, Adelstein, Tabuchi and others will behave much differently if there’s no consequence for doing so. It’s possible that they will ignore, ostracize, discredit or laugh at anyone who continues to challenge them about their behavior. Their skills in manipulating public opinion through social media will likely triumph over any doubts about their ethics or journalistic fundamentals. Adelstein, in particular, has been able to find ways to turn truth and logic on its head, and to portray himself as the noble victim of “hit pieces” on him. His desired fame, as the hardcore controversial investigative reporter and underworld expert of Japan, will likely only grow as a result of this article.
None of this will likely inspire Stucky to accept responsibility for plagiarism and resign, as Jayson Blair and the New York Times editors did, among others. Stucky has already built an impressive resume of published articles in French and English, to go along with her growing knowledge of Japanese and her experience with Jiji Press at the United Nations in Geneva. Regardless of her ethics, Stucky has proven that she has what it takes to survive in the Darwinian jungle of Japan media. Like Kageyama, Adelstein, Tabuchi and others before her, her lack of a journalism school degree or formal training and experience overseas won’t stop her in Tokyo. She looks good on TV, can now work in three languages, and with proper training, could have a future in broadcasting. Somewhere, a major media manager will find her just the right candidate for that job opening in Japan.
—— 30 ——–
Christopher Johnson is a journalist, musician and author of novels Siamese Dreams and Kobe Blue. He has traveled in 100 countries and eight war zones. His work for media worldwide includes more than 2000 print features, 500 published photos, hundreds of live TV reports, and more than 30 recorded songs. He is credited with breaking major stories including the errant bombing of civilians in Afghanistan, the rise of female fedayeen suicide bombers in Baghdad, and the Tibetan Uprising in Lhasa, where he moved images that Reuters named among their Pictures of the Decade. Some of the images appeared on the front pages of editions of The New York Times.
see other investigative reports about cyber-bullying in Japan: