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Bug #38057 open:under discussion


This bug appeared in a news report published by The Japan Times on Dec 2, 2012. View the original news report.
Bug Type:  Other

A retraction notice (for an article using phrases "identical or similar" to those found in another source) that appeared in the print edition of the paper was never published in the web edition and the offending article was removed from the online archive without any explanation.

This is a copy of the letter I sent to the editor:

"I was startled by the book review retraction notice that appeared in the Japan Times on December 2, 2012. Even more startling was the fact that the retraction didn’t make it to the paper’s web edition and any trace of the offending article itself seems to have been “disappeared” from the online digital archive. If removing the article was the only option, the retraction notice should have at the very least been posted online at the same url. When you’re searching for the truth, transparency trumps the veil of secrecy every time. 

Since all mention of the article has been deleted, we don’t know its author and the blank space in its place only casts a shadow of suspicion over everyone who writes for the paper. Still I value all the writing that has been featured on these pages in the past and hope that whatever transgressions occurred can be forgiven. In fact the Society of Professional Journalists' Scott Leadingham has laid out a seven step program for doing just that in a recent Poynter.org article entitled “Why journalism should rehabilitate, not excommunicate, fabulists and plagiarists.”

Whoever said “to err is human” probably meant everyone, including journalists (the truth is they're human too). We all make mistakes but hopefully we can reflect on them and learn from the past. Erasing them from the record, as the Japan Times has done here, makes learning those lessons impossible."


Attached Files:


JT Cassidy has contacted The Japan Times

Bug History

Dec 03, 2012 11:55 pm Open JT Cassidy
Dec 04, 2012 6:11 am Open: Under Discussion JT Cassidy
Dec 04, 2012 6:11 am Closed: Withdrawn JT Cassidy
Dec 04, 2012 6:45 am Open: Under Discussion JT Cassidy
Dec 04, 2012 6:47 am Closed: Withdrawn JT Cassidy
Jan 26, 2013 3:35 am Open: Under Discussion JT Cassidy
Jan 26, 2013 3:50 am Closed: Withdrawn JT Cassidy
Jan 26, 2013 3:52 am Open: Under Discussion JT Cassidy
Jan 26, 2013 3:54 am Closed: Withdrawn JT Cassidy
Oct 03, 2014 9:25 pm Open: Under Discussion JT Cassidy

Discussion Leave a comment


I'm an idiot. The retraction notice does appear on The Japan Times' web edition (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/entertainment/book.html) and probably always did. I just didn't know where to find it. Sorry about the mistake (I wonder if I can retract my letter).

Dec 04, 2012 6:47 am

I just realized MediaBugs is for US media outlets only (further proof I'm an idiot) and bugs for The Japan Times (JT) don't belong here. Sorry, my bad. "I regret the error" in addition to the error I mentioned above. If I spot any more JT media bugs I will post them on the Times Mistaken blog (timesmistaken at blogspot dot com).

The Japan Times recently revamped its website and has enabled readers to post comments below articles via Disqus. I think somebody at JT reads them too because I posted a comment about a typo and it got fixed the next day (sans any mention of an update, etc.).

Jan 26, 2013 3:53 am

I reopened this bug report because the retraction notice seems to have disappeared again. I think the notice should appear (at the url) where the retracted story once was.

Oct 03, 2014 9:27 pm