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 accepted the offer. When the time came, I entered the conference room, where a casually dressed English man was waiting.
Immediately, the microphone was put in front of me and the interview was underway. The foreign media also seemed to be really interested in the Young Entrepreneurs’ Society (YES), particularly the fact that the founders—all 160 of them—were entrepreneurs who made use of blogs and social networking sites such as GREE.
After explaining why we had started the YES! PROJECT, there was a Q&A session.
We talked about the development of YES:
“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 groundswell building on the other side of the Internet.”
We discussed YES in political trends:
“This election has encouraged young people to become 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.
“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.”
We talked about the YES presence online:
“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.”
And we talked about obstacles to YES:
“The only thorn in our side is the Public Office Election Law. Unless this law is changed, democracy through digital media cannot genuinely move forward. I have 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 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. I look forward to reading about our discussion in the weekend edition!
The New York Times also contacted me that evening. It seems that the YES! PROJECT is starting to reach an international audience.