Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan

by Tansa
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Yodogawa Plant of Daikin Industries
Yodogawa Plant of Daikin Industries

Thank you once again for your continuous contribution to our project.


The United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights visited Japan in late July and conducted an investigation of PFOA contamination in Osaka by Daikin Industries which Tansa has been reporting on in its long-running exploratory reports.


Daikin continues to deny responsibility for the worst PFOA pollution in Japan. While the national government and Osaka Prefecture stood on the sidelines and the mass media were loose on the issue, only Tansa, an independent, non-profit media outlet, has continued to report on Daikin to hold it accountable. Finally, the United Nations took action.


After completing their investigation, one of the members of the Working Group who came to Japan were Damilola Olawuyi, Chairman of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, and Pichamon Yeophantong, a member of the Asia-Pacific region held a press conference and pointed out:


“We would like to highlight the responsibility of the businesses involved to address this issue as required under the UNGP (Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights) and the polluter pays principle.”


This is a big step toward solving the problem. The results of the working group’s investigation will be reported to the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2024.


Read the article:


We, Tansa will continue to cover and report in depth to keep the situation moving.


We sincerely appreciate your ongoing support for our projects.

I look forward to sharing the next story with you.

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Illustration by qnel
Illustration by qnel

Thank you once again for your continuous contribution to our project.

This June, the BBC World Service's investigative unit, BBC Eye, has published the film titled "Catching the men who sell subway groping videos”. A Chinese crime group based in Japan was making significant profits by selling videos of molestations and sexual assaults filmed in Japan and other parts of East Asia.

Some videos cost less than a dollar. The site even once allowed users to order tailor-made abuse videos.

The number of users of the site who gather on the messaging app Telegram is as many as 4,000. Within the community, they share tips and advice on how to sexually assault women.

One man in the community was treated as a "master". He had filmed at least dozens of videos of molestation and promoted the videos for sale on his site to his 80,000 followers on Twitter.

The BBC team used every means at its disposal, including undercover interviews, to get to the bottom of the case. They identified the perpetrators and held them accountable for their attempts to get away with it in the anonymity of the Internet.  It took a year of diligent reporting.

I supported their investigation of identifying this person and several others.

During the research, I sensed a similarity with Tansa's series, "Uploaded and Re-Uploaded”.

In the series as well, videos of victims, sometimes even sexually abused children as young as 10 years old, were sold for as little as $1. Sometimes I found videos in which foreign children were also filmed.

Convenient tools such as social media, web forums, and applications make these crimes possible. Various sites allow anyone to post and view sexual images, and videos of victims can spread anywhere, across countries and regions, and never disappear.

Japanese police say it is not easy to investigate illegal acts happening via foreign servers. This is because it takes months for police in foreign countries to corporate with each other, while criminals quickly cover their tracks and the data on the servers has a limited shelf life. The sheer number of crimes is another reason why police are unable to pursue this issue. 

And it is also possible that police still think  the damage is downplayed as "not serious".

On the other hand, journalists can work together across borders. The BBC's project also involved British, Chinese, and Japanese journalists working together to expose the reality of the situation.

International collaboration is needed for not only digital sex crime but also other serious issues. 

We plan other international collaborations for this year and next year. I believe cooperating journalists from different countries generate a greater impact on society.

We sincerely appreciate your ongoing support for our projects.

I look forward to sharing the next story with you.

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Students in the program
Students in the program

Dear all,

We, Tansa, would like to thank you again for your generous donation to our project. 

We are pleased to inform you about Tansa's initiatives for young people.

Tansa believes that the youth of today needs the skills and mindset for investigative reporting. Whether or not they become journalists in the future, young people must be able to discern the truth from the vast amount of available information themselves. 

Tansa is conducting a program for young people, between their teens and twenties, to learn the skills and mindset for investigative journalism.

Currently, three students are participating in this course. Each of them has chosen a social issue of interest as their reporting theme and they have been covering the issue since June 2022. 

One staff member is assigned to each student so that they can immediately respond to the reporting and writing of the students.

Their themes are as follows: teachers' imposition of values on students in schools, the isolation of residents created by the redevelopment of a city after a major earthquake,and the issues that young people over the age of 18 who suffer domestic abuse are not eligible for protection under Japanese law. They interview not only the victims but also the person who caused the problem to identify the root causes of why such problems occur.

Although the students have no experience in investigative reporting, they continue to investigate with the hope of improving the situation of the victims as much as possible.

In addition, from 2021 to 2022, we conducted classes at an alternative school in Hiroshima Pref. to teach investigative reporting skills and mindsets to junior high school students. The students chose a social issue that they were interested in and completed the entire process from investigating to reporting.

So far, students have worked on three different themes. In the first part, we allow any topic that the students want to research. For the second part, we chose a theme of a social issue that was familiar to each student. In the third part, students interviewed local adults, introducing their work and activities, while also painting an in-depth picture of how they spent their childhood and who they became. This third part is accomplished by the students themselves, without the direction and help of Tansa reporters.

During the course, some other activities included a simulated experience of a press conference in which Tansa’s reporters acted as politicians and the junior high school students acted as reporters to allow them to practice interviewing skills.

Tansa will continue to provide education and opportunities for young people to learn investigative journalism so that they can be active around the world.

From everyone at Tansa, we greatly appreciate your continued support, and we’re looking forward to sharing more stories and events with you!

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Dear all,

Thank you once again for your generous contribution to our project.

In February, we visited Seoul, South Korea, to cover the series "Uploaded and Re-Uploaded". In South Korea, the "Nth Room Incident," a large-scale crime that involved the trafficking of sexually explicit images using chat rooms, occurred in 2020 and became a serious social problem. After the incident, police investigations and amendments to laws have been made to prevent such crimes.

The Center for Teenage Women's Rights, which works to prevent teenage sexual exploitation, the citizens' group ReSET, and the mass media outlet The Hankyoreh, which first covered the case, each told us about the changes and challenges that have occurred in Korean society.

What impressed me the most was the fact that citizens obtained laws that agreed to protect victims and prevent crimes through public petitions and speaking out.

The developments in Korean society will be helpful when considering ways to prevent digital sex crimes in Japan. We will continue our coverage in cooperation with activists and experts in Korea.

The results of our coverage will be reported in a series of articles.

In addition to the interviews during this visit, we strengthened our partnership with Korean organizations.

We visited the Korean office of Ashoka, the world's largest network of social entrepreneurs, and discussed the possibility of applying our investigative reporting skills to education. In both Korea and Japan, education is standardized, and it is difficult to acquire the ability to look at things critically and to overcome challenges on one's own. We are hopeful that we will be able to collaborate with members of Ashoka Korea in the future.

We also met with members of News Tapa, a non-profit investigative news organization. News Tapa, like Tansa, is a citizen's news organization that operates on donations. We met for the first time in about three and a half years, after the covid19 disaster.

At the meeting, we reviewed the current status of the Asian cross border project that was underway before covid19. We discussed ways to restart the project. Tansa also shared that the government has been covering up the consultation documents regarding the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. A similar case occurred in South Korea, and News Tapa was taking the government to court. We promised to share the situation more frequently and explore the possibility of joint coverage in the future.

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Dear all,

First of all, thank you once again for your generous contribution to our project.

Tansa began a new series in November. Sexual photos and videos of individuals have been leaked to the app and traded without permission of subjects themselves. The photos and videos were collected through hacking,secret filming, and revenge pornography.  It even included child pornography.

Once they are leaked online, they are used repeatedly and never disappear. The victim's suffering continues forever.

The online damage has spread to the real world. Some have been personally identified and received harassing messages, while others have been followed on the street. One victim attempted suicide.

Photos and videos uploaded to the app can be downloaded with a paid key, and the contents can be downloaded. When someone uses the key, the contributor receives money. They therefore advertise the existence of the folders of photos on Twitter and online forums, along with the victims' mugshots and private information.

In our investigation, we found the 339 accounts had a total of 1,014,482 followers — there were over 300 “sellers” with over 1 million “customers.”

The problem is that the apps was offered in the Google and Apple app stores. This led to widespread use of the apps: it was downloaded over 100,000 times in Google's store and ranked in popularity in Apple's store. The platform served as a loudspeaker.

The police have not been able to handle with the sheer number of cases. In addition, laws to regulate platforms in Japan are lax and inadequate.

These problems are not unique to Japan. In South Korea, a large-scale online sex crime known as the "N-ban Room Incident" was uncovered in 2020. The stage on which women, including minors, were victimized was a chat application. Subsequently, the "N-ban Room Prevention Law" was enacted. However, as long as the system is maintained, there is a possibility that perpetrators will appear again.

We pursue the composition of the damage that is happening all over the world. In particular, we hold the platform providers who profit from business around the world accountable. We’ll work it with journalists across borders.

Without ending the system, the serious harm to women and children will not be broken. Please support this project as well.

Tansa released three articles on this topic.

(1)Photos and videos turned into “sexual products” without subjects’ consent

(2)The “keys” used to purchase sexual images in seemingly innocent apps 

(3)339 posters have amassed 1,010,482 “customers” on Twitter

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Location: Minato-ku, Tokyo - Japan
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Twitter: @tansa_english
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Teenage Science Students
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