Which News Outlets Do Japanese Trust? Your FAQs Answered

Which News Outlets Do Japanese Trust? Your FAQs Answered

Where do Japanese go to read their news? Which news sources do Japanese readers trust? What media do Japanese turn to for breaking news? 

Here are the answers to your frequently asked questions regarding news trust in Japan, Japan’s major news sources, and reliability and confidence in the dominant media outlets. 

The information provided here draws from the “Statistic survey of Information-communication media usage time and information behavior, (Japanese)” published in September 2020 by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIAC). And the “Digital News Report 2018 (English)” by the Reuters Institute.

Q: What news medium do Japanese readers say they trust?

In the survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIAC), respondents were asked which news medium they believed was trustworthy. 

Of the 1,500 individuals (ages 13-69) surveyed, the respondents put great stock on newspapers and TV, but trust for the Internet and magazines scored low across all age groups.

  • Newspaper (68.4%)

  • TV (65.3%)

  • Internet* (32.4%)

  • Magazines (18.7%)

*Internet: This category includes all information on media like blogs and video streaming sites and not only online news portals.

Q: Which news medium do Japanese believe is an important news source? 

While previous answers reflected great confidence in newspapers as a trustworthy news source, newspapers ranked low when respondents to the MIAC survey were asked to list media that were “Important as a source of information.” 

  • TV (88.1%)

  • Internet (75.1%), 

  • Newspaper  (53.2%), 

  • Magazine (19.3%) 

Newspapers’ low score in this category compared with its high trustworthiness rating perhaps has to do with its inability to cover breaking news in real-time, which has increasingly become a sought-after factor when choosing a news medium. (See next question.)

Q: What news medium do Japanese use to stay abreast of breaking events? 

When asked, “What medium do you use to stay abreast of breaking developments in the world?”, respondents’ first choice was the Internet 49.9%, even though it scored a low 32.4% on trustworthiness. TV took second place at 46.2%. 

This data shows immediacy is desired over reliability, even at the risk of inaccurate information. 

Even though the majority of respondents claimed to hold newspapers in high regard as a reliable and accurate source—when it comes to breaking news, online news portal sites like Yahoo! News appear to be winning by a wide margin because of their speed, accessibility, and zero cost.

Q: How much time do Japanese spend on various communication mediums? 

In the MIAC survey, the average usage time reported for TV, Internet, newspaper, and radio were as follows: 

  • Watching live TV: 161.2 minutes on weekdays and 215.9 minutes on holidays 

  • Browsing the Internet: 126.2 minutes on weekdays and 131.5 minutes on holidays 

  • Watching recorded TV: 20.3 minutes on weekdays and 33 minutes on holidays

  • Listening to the radio: 12.4 minutes on weekdays and 6.4 minutes on holidays

  • Reading the newspaper: 8.4 minutes on weekdays and 8.5 minutes on holidays

Q: Which are Japan’s major news outlets?

According to Reuters’ survey, the following are the top-used news services in Japan.   

TV radio and print

  1. NHK news

  2. Nippon TV news

  3. TV Asahi news

  4. TBS news

  5. Fuji TV news

Online

  1. Yahoo! News

  2. NHK news online

  3. TV Asahi news online

  4. TBS news online

  5. Fuji TV news online

Q: Why is Yahoo! News so popular in Japan?

More than 50% of the respondents to the previously mentioned Reuters survey use Yahoo! to stay abreast of daily news. 

In 2019, Bunshun magazine interviewed Mr. Michihiro Okumura (Japanese article), one of the key individuals who brought about the major success of Yahoo! News in Japan. In the article, the reasons Mr. Okumura gave for its popularity were as follows:

  • Listing longer (more than 13 characters) headlines on the front page. 

  • Choosing news articles from many other media outlets.

  • Continual upgrades to the system so that the latest news items are updated instantaneously.

  • Coverage of a wide variety of topics.

Additionally, Yahoo! News is partnered with over 540 media outlets, from major TV stations and papers to minor magazines and newer online media sites, helping Yahoo! rake in 500 million page views per day. 

Q: Which specific news outlet scores highest in terms of trust? 

In the Reuters survey, brand trust and reliability were evaluated by asking whether respondents had heard of the brand/used the brand, which provided the following results. 

  1. NHK news

  2. Nikkei

  3. The respondent’s local newspaper

  4. Nippon TV (NTV) news

  5. Yomiuri Shimbun

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