I was scheduled for an interview with the BBC, the UK state broadcasting company, on Thursday, September 1. Originally, the interview was to be broadcast on television, but because they wanted to talk longer, it was broadcast on radio instead. It made no difference to me, one way or the other, so I readily decided to accept the offer. When the time came, I entered the conference room, where a casually dressed English man was waiting. As I thought, the interview would be in English.
Immediately the microphone was put in front of me and the interview was underway. The foreign media also seemed to be really interested in YES (Young Entrepreneurs' Society). They seemed particularly interested in the fact that the founders—all 160 of them—were entrepreneurs, and that this network made use of blogs and social networking sites (GREE).
After explaining why we had started the YES! PROJECT, there was a Q&A session, and I began explaining the development of the project by answering questions.
"Within three hours of being set up, the site received 10,000 hits. It has now been accessed more than 100,000 times, and nearly 300 websites have YES links. It is rapidly developing into the most popular site for the GREE community. I can feel a ground swell building on the other side of the Internet."
"This election has encouraged young people to become very interested in politics, and it is believed that election turnouts are going to rise. One aspect of the YES! PROJECT is our appeal to people to go and vote as well as to speak out more often."
"Because of this, entries on the blogs and GREE are very lively, and the ensuing debates are becoming very serious. Everybody appears to be thinking about the future of Japan. It almost seems as though people have been waiting for a movement like this to come along."
"The LDP and the Democratic Party are both supporting the YES! PROJECT. The LDP is holding meetings especially for bloggers. They seem to understand just how strong the power of blogging is becoming."
"The only thorn in our side is the Public Office Election Law. Unless this bad law is changed then democracy through digital media cannot genuinely move forward. I appealed to Secretary-General Takebe at the LDP assembly to change this law."
I often speak in English, so I am pretty used to it, but I am not used to discussing politics. After the interview was over, I reflected on how I could have done much better.
That afternoon I had an interview with the Financial Times, which was conducted over the phone. The Financial Times is one of my favorite newspapers and I read it regularly. Since the weekend edition includes our discussion, I am really looking forward to it. :-)
The New York Times contacted me that evening.
It seems that the YES! PROJECT is starting to become well known abroad. :-)
September 2, 2005