Editorial & Columns


Arguments that will hold up for 30 years

The Yomiuri Shimbun makes clear arguments in its editorials about the important news both domestic and international, including politics, economy and social issues. Everyday the Editorial Board, working under the editor-in-chief, determines the tone of the editorial through rigorous discussion. The Editorial Board is made up of the board's chair and senior writers from each department, including politics, economy, city news, international and science.

Editorials have their foundation in the Creed of The Yomiuri Shimbun, which calls for courageous and responsible speech. We do not cater to public opinion but rather craft our arguments with the determination that they will stand up to scrunity 30 years later.

Leading in free speech for 70 years postwar

The Yomiuri Shimbun's editorials set a direction for Japan in the postwar years.

The San Francisco Peace Treaty was signed in 1951 amid an intensifying Cold War. On May 15 of the previous year, we ran an editorial asserting that "the stronger the push for overall peace, the greater the risk that the public will turn toward anti-Western sentiment." We were the only major news outlet in Japan making the case for signing separate peace treaties with Western nations instead of supporting an overall peace that included the Soviet Union. We judged that having a peace treaty with countries in the West and striving for early restoration of independence would be in the nation's best interest. Proof that we were correct came with Japan's subsequent progress toward peace and economic growth.

On January 1, 1982, with the Cold War continuing unabated, we ran an editorial with the headline, "Dare to be optimistic for the '80s," in which we pointed out that economic factors would limit the East-West arms race and that revolutionary changes in communications technology would put an end to the closed nature of the Soviet Union and other Eastern-bloc countries. The editorial later received high praise for predicting how the Cold War would later end.

In the 1990s, we were early advocates for Japan to take part in U.N. peacekeeping operations (PKO) and also called for revisions to Japan's Constitution. At the time, the Constitution had not been interpreted to allow for collective self-defense, placing it in conflict with the U.N. Charter. After the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, we published an editorial on October 6 of the same year calling for Japan to actively contribute to the international community, including the use of its Self-Defense Forces. The article warned: "Japan is also vulnerable to the threat of international terrorism. Japan, too, must implement its own counterterrorism measures." On both topics-PKOs and the Constitution-we anticipated the decisions the Japanese government would later make.

In economics and finances as well, on June 6, 1978, 10 years before the consumption tax was passed into law, an editorial stated, "Looking at the current fiscal situation, sooner or later the imposition of this new tax will be unavoidable." The article made it clear that The Yomiuri Shimbun would not cater to the public, who were strongly opposed to any increase in taxes. In the '90s, when the economic bubble burst and deflation began, The Yomiuri Shimbun insisted that overcoming deflation was the most important economic issue of the day.

Even if the opposition is fierce, we at The Yomiuri Shimbun believe that by patiently advocating for logic, we can ultimately gain our readers' understanding and trust.

Front Page Columns

The Yomiuri Shimbun has talented, seasoned writers pen their own columns. Those that appear on the Front Page are Henshu Techo (or editorial notebook, morning edition) and Yomiuri Sunpyo (or Yomiuri snapshot, evening edition).

Henshu Techo

Henshu Techo paints a vivid picture of social life in about 460 characters. It freely handles a variety of themes, from domestic and international news stories to lighter fare about daily living. It first started in 1949. Many readers start reading the morning edition from Henshu Techo. Junichi Shimizu, a member of the Editorial Board, has been in charge of the column since October 3, 2017. He strives "for simple sentences that would have their readers think along rather than editorializing with difficult language."

Yomiuri Sunpyo

The Yomiuri Sunpyo is also a column that takes a slice of life today and uses it to question readers. It started when the evening edition was revived in November 1949. It is about 420 characters long, a little less than Henshu Techo, and is written by Atsushi Tanase and other editors of the Editorial Board at the Tokyo headquarters. The writers carefully examine recent news and take up hot topics.