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Bug #39852 open:under discussion

A Fishy Story

This bug appeared in a news report published by The Japan Times on Apr 10, 2005. View the original news report.
Bug Type:  Simple Factual Error

There are those who claim that finding errors in The Japan Times is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Maybe this excerpt from an April 10, 2005 editorial (A shark goes free) illustrates what they are talking about: 

"An ocean away from here in Monterey Bay, Calif., aquarium officials last week freed a great white shark they had held captive for more than six months, a record for the much-mythologized species. While the creature’s release was hailed by animal rights activists, the fact that she had been held at all has added fuel to the long-running debate over the treatment of large marine mammals — a debate that often focuses on Japan."

That all sounds well and good, until you sit back and ask yourself, “Are sharks mammals?” As someone who has read "Hark! A Shark!: All About Sharks" (from the Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) I can tell you they are not. The editorial however goes on to mistakenly refer to sharks as mammals at least two more times before it reaches its final teeth clenching conclusion.

The shark is in fact a fish as reader Sally Ann Sykes pointed out in a letter to the editor that was published in the Japan Times’ digital and print editions a little more than a week after the erroneous editorial hit newsstands around the globe. In her letter, Ms. Sykes stated:

"As one of many volunteers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I would like to point out one fact in response to the fine editorial April 10 ("A shark goes free") on the white shark. The shark is not a mammal like whales and other cetaceans, but a fish. The only marine mammals on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium are rescued sea otters that could not survive in the wild."

It's good news that the letter correcting the error was printed in the paper. The bad news is that the editorial was never fixed. On top of that Ms. Sykes’ correspondence appears to have slipped through a hole in the internet. It no longer seems to be on the Japan Times website, which really makes the whole story sound fishy.




JT Cassidy has contacted The Japan Times

Bug History

Oct 23, 2014 9:24 pm Open JT Cassidy
Oct 24, 2014 8:23 am Open: Under Discussion JT Cassidy

Discussion Leave a comment


The Japan Times recently overhauled its website so I guess the letter to the editor correcting the error in the editorial got lost in the shuffle. If the paper had just fixed the mistake in the online version of the editorial though, there would be less confusion for readers and I would think less embarrassment for the editors.

Oct 24, 2014 8:23 am