Ms. Yang Ming Chu, Tokyo Bureau Chief, Central News Agency (Taiwan)
post date : 2014.05.16
“I’m often the source of the Japanese news that gets discussed in Taiwan,” says Ms. Yang Ming Chu (50), Tokyo Bureau Chief for the Central News Agency. Ms. Yang not only writes articles, she also takes pictures and video herself, and we interviewed her about her impressions of Japan and about working as a journalist in Japan.
- How did you become interested in Japan?
My father was Japanese until he was 19. He was born in 1926, and the Second World War ended when he was 19.My main connection with Japan was definitely my father who had grown up under Japanese rule. When I was a child, sometimes my parents would speak in Japanese. The house we lived in was also Japanese-style, with tatami mats and the like.
- What was the most memorable story you have covered so far?
It would have to be the 3.11 Great East Japan Earthquake. On March 13, I took a special flight from Haneda to Fukushima, and on March 14 I was in Kesennuma. At that time, there were false stories being reported in Taiwan, saying all of Japan was covered in radiation or that Mt. Fuji was going to erupt as well. Although there is a lot of tabloid-style reporting in Taiwan, the Central News Agency only reports proper news. The people living in areas hit by the disaster were concerned about things like food, gasoline and heat, and I didn’t have the time to worry about radiation. I stayed and continued covering the affected areas.
- What was the most moving story you have covered in Japan?
In February 2012, when interviewing the manager of a hotel in Kushiro I was moved when they tearfully thanked me for the support from Taiwan. President of the Legislative Yuan Wang Jin-pyng helped the tourism industry of Hokkaido when foreign tourist numbers dropped drastically after the Great East Japan Earthquake. In May 2011, he led a group of 300, including travel agency employees, and executives on a tour to Hokkaido. I accompanied them on this trip, but I think it is also important to communicate to Taiwan how Taiwanese support is helping. In the 2011 fiscal year, the number of Taiwanese tourists in Hokkaido was higher than it had been the previous year.
- When do you feel satisfied as a reporter?
When there is a reaction from the local media in Taiwan and from people in Taiwan. When I report news on outbreaks of rubella or the bird flu in Japan, there are more stories in Taiwan about how to deal with them. After reporting on earthquakes, I will be asked on Facebook “I heard there was an earthquake in Tokyo, are you okay?” When I ask people in Taiwan what they know about health topics, earthquakes or tourism in Japan, their responses are often news that I reported.
- What has frustrated you when covering news in Japan?
News agencies are releasing stories 24 hours a day, so speed and efficiency are important. Not only does it take a lot of time when requesting interviews or permission to film, sometimes they refuse in the end. I think that being in the news in Taiwan is helpful to Japan as well, but sometimes it takes more time to organize interviews or filming than it does to actually carry them out.
~Taiwanese Tourists Enjoy Hands-on Tourism~
- What advice do you have for local governments that want to encourage tourism from Taiwan?
Sometimes I receive invitations from local governments or tour agencies in Japan who want to promote tourist destinations. Different local governments have their own perspectives on what makes them appealing, but I think they should consider it from a Taiwanese perspective. Taiwanese people like hands-on experiences. For example, if udon is a local specialty, instead of just eating it, provide opportunities to make it as well. Most Taiwanese people can’t ski, but they would still be happy to have the chance to wear the outfits and take pictures. Hokkaido could have snowball fights, to let tourists experience the cold and the snow. Instead of being concerned that they will have issues with the cold due to being from a tropical area, it is important to be flexible.
Ms. Yang Ming Chu, Tokyo Bureau Chief
Born August, 1963 in Taichung, Taiwan. Graduate of the Tamkang University Japanese Department. Masters in International Relations from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. After working as director on a show about Japan for TVBS, a major cable TV station in Taiwan, and as Taipei correspondent for the Asahi Shimbun, came to Japan as Tokyo correspondent for the Central News Agency in 2006. Became Tokyo Bureau Chief in 2011.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of this news agency, founded in 1924. It is the oldest media organization in Taiwan, distributing news (including video for television stations) not only in Chinese, but also English, Japanese and Spanish. In addition to Japan, they also have correspondents in China, the USA, South Africa, Thailand, Belgium, Vietnam and India.