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Top>People>Getting to know the host of NHK's morning show Sunday Debate


Toshio Shimada

Mr. Toshio Shimada [Profile]

Getting to know the host of NHK's morning show Sunday Debate

Mr. Toshio Shimada

Sunday morning hosts a range of political debate shows. TBS's Current Affairs Debate at 6:00 is a little early, but at 7:30 we have Fuji Television's News Report: 2001, at 9:00 there is Sunday Debate on NHK, and at 10:00 there is Sunday Project on TV Asahi. So are the majority of channel surfers in their 40s or has the number of younger viewers increased with the change of government?

Sandwiched in between the belligerent and sometimes overly boisterous political battles on the private networks, NHK brings us some light relief with its show. A calm, quiet cool the heads of the participants and viewers alike.

The well known Sunday Debate host, Toshio Shimada, is an alumnus of Chuo University.

As one of NHK's team of commentators, he is in charge of commentary for politics, foreign policy and security, on programs such as Sunday Debate, Good Morning Column, Hello Studio Park, and Current Affairs Consensus. He has built up a reputation for giving unbiased commentary in a calm, easy to follow manner.

Born in Yamanashi Prefecture, he graduated from the Political Science Department in Chuo University's Faculty of Law in 1981. While attending the university, he was a member of Chuo University's only debating club, Jitatsu Society.

"Jitatsu is a word from the Analects of Confucius and teaches us that no matter how profound your words are, if they don't reach the heart of the listener and stay there, then they have no meaning at all. I actually had a few doubts during my student days. I thought, even if things are a little hard to understand, go out and strive for the truth. Since becoming a political commentator, the most important thing that I try to achieve is making the listener understand. I've come to realize that you can't get your point across using political terminology."

--What gives you satisfaction as a commentator?

"From the time I entered university, I had the vague feeling that 'I don't want to be on the deceiving side, but I also don't want to be on the side being deceived.' As a commentator, you have to feel the tension not to stand on the side of the deceivers, while having a watchful eye not to be placed on the side being deceived. That gives me a feeling of satisfaction. At any rate, buried deep in Nagata-cho and Kasumigaseki are landmines called clever ways to fool the public, so I must keep my eyes focused and my wits sharp."

In the new, developing political landscape, let's hope for more commentary overseeing these clever lies.

Toshio Shimada
Born in Yamanashi Prefecture. Graduated from Chuo University (Political Science Department, Faculty of Law) in 1981. Joined NHK as a reporter. After serving in the Fukushima and Aomori broadcasting offices, he became the news department's political reporter. Starting from Prime Minister Nakasone's era, he was put in charge of covering the ruling and opposition parties, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Defense. Capping off his time in the Prime Minister's official residence, he left the political department's news desk to become a commentator in 2001. He now provides commentary on political, election, foreign policy and security issues on programs such as Good Morning Column, the lunchtime show Hello Studio Park, and Current Affairs Consensus in the evening.
The major topical programs that he has worked on have included Problems with Prime Ministerial Visits to Yasukuni Shrine, North Korean Sanction Resolutions and Japan, The Choice of Government From the Public's View and Have You Noticed the Originality in Prime Minister Hatoyama's Foreign Policy? He presides over Sunday Debate on Sunday mornings at 9:00 about three times a month.