In the eyes of the media, Japan has swung from boom to bust, with little in between. Back in the late 1980s, Japan was depicted as an economic superpower, striding the globe. After the Japanese speculative bubble burst in the early 90s, Japan was largely confined to the status of an economic has-been, mired in stagnation. Today, Japan is seen as cautiously on the rebound, but skepticism remains. How well has the media really captured the reality of Japan and its economy?
In association with the annual Shorenstein Journalism Award for coverage of Asia, two veteran journalists, both of whom covered Japan in the 1980s and remain close observers today, offer their thoughts on Japan and its economic future. And one of the leading economic experts on Japan offers his reflections on how the media covers Japan and where Japan is headed.
Shorenstein APARC will tweet event highlights @StanfordSAPARC with #ShorensteinAward.
Jacob M. Schlesinger is Senior Asia Economics Correspondent and Central Banks Editor, Asia for The Wall Street Journal, based in Tokyo. He has covered Japan for the Journal for nearly 10 years in many different capacities. He came first as a reporter following tech, trade, and politics from the end of the bubble to the early years of the "lost decades," from 1989 to 1994. He returned as bureau chief in late 2009, overseeing the historic transfer of power to the Democratic Party of Japan, rising tensions with China, the 2011 triple disaster, and the return of Shinzo Abe, the Liberal Democratic Party, and the grand Abenomics experiment.
Schlesinger started with the Journal in Detroit in 1986, covering the American auto industry, and worked for 13 years in the Washington bureau, covering economics and politics, and serving as deputy bureau chief. In 2003, Schlesinger was part of a team of Journal reporters awarded the Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting for the “What’s Wrong” series about the causes and consequences of the late-1990s financial bubble. After finishing his first tour in Japan, he authored the book Shadow Shoguns: The Rise and Fall of Japan's Postwar Political Machine published in 1997 by Simon & Schuster. While writing his book, he was a visiting fellow at Stanford University's Asia-Pacific Research Center. A native of East Lansing, Michigan, he received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard College.
Susan Chira is the deputy executive editor and former foreign editor of The New York Times. Chira has extensive experience in Asia, including serving as Japan correspondent for the Times in the 1980s. During her tenure as foreign editor, the Times won the Pulitzer Prize four times for international reporting on Afghanistan, Russia, Africa and China.
The Shorenstein Journalism Award, which carries a cash prize of $10,000, honors a journalist not only for a distinguished body of work, but also for the particular way that work has helped American readers to understand the complexities of Asia. The award, established in 2002, was named after Walter H. Shorenstein, the philanthropist, activist, and businessman who endowed two institutions that are focused respectively on Asia and on the press: the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) in the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University, and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Event media contact: Lisa Griswold, firstname.lastname@example.org