The Press: Toppling Tanaka

A few weeks after Richard Nixon resigned last August, the editors of Bungei-Shunju, a respected Tokyo-based monthly, decided to do a little Watergate-style digging into the shady financial dealings of their own chief executive. Largely as a result of those excavations, Premier Kakuei Tanaka was forced last week to resign.

Bungei-Shunju's feat would have been a coup in any country. But in Japan, where the press seldom mentions the private peccadillos of government leaders, it was an unprecedented display of hara (guts). The nation's last major political scandal, the 1966 "black mist" influence-peddling affair, went unreported in the press until the matter...

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