A broadcaster replaced a presenter of its weekly news program Friday over the furor aroused by a blog he wrote using extremely violent language about kidney dialysis patients.
Yutaka Hasegawa, 41, was sacked from “News Real Friday,” an evening program of Television Osaka, following the release Sept 19 of his blog entry titled: “Public funds must not be spent for the treatment of self-induced dialysis patients! If they cannot afford it and cry, just kill them! The current (social security) system will only destroy Japan!”
The entry immediately provoked strong criticism, including a protest letter from the Japan Association of Kidney Disease Patients, with many arguing the text contained various factual errors.
But it was the title that received the strongest criticism, leading Hasegawa to replace it several days later with much milder wording: “Should the government shoulder the entire (medical) cost even for people who became dialysis patients after ignoring doctor’s advice for years? The current system will only destroy Japan!”
In announcing its decision to drop Hasegawa from the program, Television Osaka, a regional broadcaster, said the blog post “employed extreme expressions and gave many people extremely unpleasant feelings,” making him unfit as a news program presenter.
Hasegawa, a former staff announcer at Fuji Television Network, one of Japan’s major commercial broadcasters, wrote in his latest blog entry that he thought it was OK to use harsh words on the Internet, even if they are deemed inappropriate for use in television programs, in order to gain the attention of many people.
“I felt too strong about reaching out to as many people as possible, and ended up making a major blunder this time,” the entry said.
Since 2013, Hasegawa has been working as a freelance announcer.