"The fumes from the rubbish were horrendous and the air became filled with black matter"

Teshima as a rubbish dumpTeshima as a rubbish dump

It's quite easy to criticize Japanese media or any media in general, so today, with beautiful weather and it almost being the weekend, I thought I would take a positive note and focus on a story that, hopefully, will make you (and me) less cynical.

About ten years ago, a small local television news program brought attention to a little local island called Teshima in the Setonaikai Sea in Shikoku. The island had villages and wildlife and for some inexplicable reason, the Japanese government decided to use this island as a rubbish dump site. The fumes from the rubbish were horrendous and the air became filled with black matter, no doubt a health risk, obviously horrible to live around but also, the local wildlife died out. Ironically, the Island’s name, Teshima, translates as “plentiful”…it had become anything but.Teshima cleaned upTeshima cleaned up

RSK, the local TV channel concerned with this story, took it upon themselves to spend time and money making documentaries and giving a voice to the people of the island. Over ten years, whenever they could escape the corporate world of media and focus on something that as journalists, felt natural to them, they brought attention to this island. Then finally, the government backed-down and stopped using it as a rubbish dump. The people were able to start living in clean air again and the wild-life returned to the island. It was only in 2005 that, for the first time in ten years, a little fish was found in the surrounding sea.

This is a story of a small TV company focusing on a small issue that maybe only affects a handful of people. Nevertheless, they were given a voice by the local media which enabled changes to happen and lives were improved - a true David and Goliath situation. I think this gives hope to all the cynics out there who have lost faith in what real journalism is.


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