Hiroko Tabuchi and Jake Adelstein file remarkably similar stories about Japan’s “dangerous” plutonium

— by Christopher Johnson —

 

Did the New York Times plagiarize the Center for Public Integrity’s recent coverage of the government’s plan to produce plutonium in Rokkasho, northern Japan? Or is it the other way around?

 

Read both, and decide:

 

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/04/11/14582/japan-reaffirms-its-plan-produce-plutonium

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/10/world/asia/japan-pushes-plan-to-stockpile-plutonium-despite-proliferation-risks.html?_r=0

 

Do the stories not have the same leads, angle, ideas, points, structure, facts and background?

 

Could New York Times writers Hiroko Tabuchi, Matt Wald and David Sanger have done this story without the previous series of articles by Douglas Birch, R. Jeffrey Smith, Jake Adelstein, and Angela Kubo?

 

If this isn’t plagiarism, then what is?

 

If so, shouldn’t the New York Times pay the Center for Public Integrity for the blatant rip-off of their ideas, angle, research, organization, structure, wording, and all the other work that goes into producing an original story? Or should CPI pay NYT?

 

Compare:

 

—Leads

 

PI: “Just weeks after Japan pledged …”

 

NYT: “Just weeks after Japan agreed …”

 

—Angle

 

PI: Japan is reaffirming its plan to produce plutonium, despite US concern it poses terrorism risks due to lack of armed security.

 

NYT: Japan is pushing its plan to produce plutonium, despite US concern it could be made into weapons, possibly by terrorists, due to lack of armed security.

 

–Key points and structure:

 

PI:

 

–Japan new plan for plutonium … reversing earlier efforts … Abe’s new energy plan …

 

NYT:

 

-Japan new plan for plutonium … reversing earlier efforts … Abe’s new energy plan …

 

PI:

 

—unpopular with public, but welcomes by utilities …

 

NYT:

 

–unpopular with public, but welcomes by utilities …

 

PI:

 

–US officials concerned …. complaints about lack of security … worries about proliferation ….

 

NYT:

 

–US officials concerned …. complaints about lack of security … worries about proliferation ….

 

PI:

 

–Chinese concerned …

 

NYT:

 

–Chinese concerned …

 

PI:

 

–Abe says …

 

NYT:

 

–Abe says …

 

They also have similar background paragraphs on security risks. Note the CPI story appeared a month earlier. It’s not clear if the NYT was quoting its own sources, or “borrowing” unnamed sources from the CPI story.:

 

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/03/11/14366/japan-could-be-building-irresistible-terrorist-target-experts-say

 

It all sounds calm and cordial. But since Obama was first elected, Washington has been lobbying furiously behind the scenes, trying to persuade Japan that terrorists might regard Rokkasho’s new stockpile of plutonium as an irresistible target — and to convince Japanese officials they should better protect this dangerous raw material.

Specifically, U.S. officials have struggled, without success so far, to persuade Japan to create a more capable security force at the plant than the white-gloved, unarmed guards and small police unit stationed here now. They also have been trying to persuade the privacy-minded Japanese to undertake stringent background checks for the 2,400 workers employed here.

 

.compared with ….

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/10/world/asia/japan-pushes-plan-to-stockpile-plutonium-despite-proliferation-risks.html?_r=0

The stockpiles in Japan have been especially worrisome to American officials because they are lightly protected.

Until recently, the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, where much of the plutonium is stored and where new plutonium will be extracted from spent fuel, was protected by unarmed guards since civilians cannot carry firearms under Japanese law. Armed policemen are now stationed at the plant for backup, but foreign nuclear proliferation experts worry the lightly armed guards would not be a match for terrorists.

People working at the plant, meanwhile, do not undergo criminal or terrorist background checks, according to officials at the plant, though there are plans to begin doing some vetting of employees’ backgrounds. The plant has not yet begun extracting new plutonium while it awaits final regulatory approval, but the energy plan is expected to create more pressure for a swift start. (The plutonium already there was reprocessed abroad.)

Any way you slice it, the works are remarkably similiar in every way.

Coincidence? Or plagiarism?

 

A fair and balanced examination of the ethics, role in media and quality of  journalism by Adelstein, Tabuchi and others is a matter of public interest because they are perhaps the most popular journalists among foreigners  interested in Japan. They are high profile reporters at organizations including the New York Times, America’s “newspaper of record”, giving them a privileged position to influence society. They uses their status on social media to shape public perceptions of Japan, and their opinions and reports have impacted the careers of many Japanese executives and politicians, including an ousted mayor of Tokyo. They are also shining examples of how a generation uses social media to attain notoriety and career success.

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