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Inside The Japanese Blogosphere

David Jacobson at Japan Media Review has prepared an excellent summary about how Japanese bloggers covered the country's recent parliamentary elections on September 11.

As part of the post, Jacobson documents the emergence of “housewife-turned-journalist” Ai Izumi, who, at 38 and despite having no training as a professional journalist, was able to interview some of Japan's top policy makers, and posted transcripts of the interviews on her blog.

Besides the election, Japanese bloggers are trying to get to the bottom of the “White Wristband Fraud.”

“Every three seconds in the developing world, a child dies,” the Hottokenai organization reminds Japanese internet users, who can help by purchasing white wrist bands sold by the organization at convenience stores and other locations for 300 yen (US$2.70). Modeled on the “One” campaign in the United States, proceeds are supposed to help alleviate poverty in the developing world.

However, as one blogger points out, none of the proceeds from the sale of the white wristbands in Japan will be directly donated to people in need, and the Hottokenai website even admits as much.

Instead, 90 percent of the money raised will be spent on manufacturing and distributing the wristbands (which are made in China), while the remaing 10 percent – 30 yen per white wrist band – will be used to create a “campaign” to change government policy towards developing nations. Activies include organizing events, educating people about the campaign, and buying media time.

So, while not exactly a fraud, many bloggers say Japan's white band campaign is a waste of money.

“It's unfortunate,” says one blogger, “that there is no mention in stores of how money raised from the writstbands will be spent, and people who buy them will probably think they've donated money to less fortunate people, when really they haven't.”

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