Huffington Post Japan Goes Live

Arianna Huffington was in Tokyo for the launch of the Japan site

The first Asian venture of the AOL-owned site marks its sixth launch outside the U.S.

TOKYO – Huffington Post Japan launched on Tuesday through a collaboration with the Asahi Shimbun, a liberal broadsheet and one of the biggest newspapers in the world by circulation.

The Japanese-language site has lined up some heavyweight figures for its bow, including former minister Yukio Edano, who was the face of the government as spokesperson during the Fukushima nuclear crisis in the spring of 2011.

Other columnists include Soichiro Tahara, a controversial political commentator on TV Asahi, a television network in the same media group as the Asahi Shimbun. In March 2009, during a live broadcast of the Sunday Project current affairs show, Tahara blamed the downfall of two prominent Japanese politicians on “the Jews” and “America,” leading to a protest from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

HuffPost Japan will be advertising-funded and have a moderated comments section similar to its sister sites. Few major media outlets in Japan have comments sections and most have been slow to fully embrace the Internet, partly because print circulations have declined less sharply than in other countries.    

The editor-in-chief will be Shigeki Matsuura, whose background is in IT and social media. Matsuura told The Japan Times in an interview last month that he, “will not interfere with the editing, but my job is to design the model for making the site financially successful. But journalists will be required to understand numbers if they want to be successful.”