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Monday, June 2, 2008

African journalists had trying time at aid conference


The Tokyo International Conference on African Development held in Yokohama last week attracted not only delegations from 52 African nations but also some 300 registered journalists from overseas.

Many of the journalists from Africa had a hectic time covering the conference while wrestling with the time difference between Japan and their home nations and the culture of an unfamiliar country.

Amadou Abdoul Sakho, a 46-year-old journalist for Panapress, a Senegal-based news agency and the only reporter covering the conference for his agency, said he had a tough time contending with the nine-hour time difference.

"I can't send stories now" because his agency had shut down for the day, he said at 3:25 p.m. Friday.

Francisco Junior, an editor for a public broadcaster in Mozambique, said he and his crew had some problems shooting footage in places like train stations and shops due to restraints placed on them by officials at those establishments.

It was his first time in Japan and he did not expect that such restraints would be so strict.

He said he wanted to show the people in his country what Japan is like and was planning later in the week to cover such famous Tokyo spots as Shibuya, the Tsukiji market and Akihabara, famous for its large number of electronics stores as well as shops selling animation character goods.

As for the conference itself, most journalists agreed it was quite successful, with Japan making a major commitment for African development.

Sakho of Panapress described the event as well-organized.

"Anything is available. (Staff workers) were always ready to help us (at the media center) and at the conference," he said, adding he felt the atmosphere in Japan was welcoming.

For instance, when walking on streets, he saw TICAD being heavily advertised, such as on buses.

He also said he saw enthusiasm among Japanese visitors to the African Fair, a trade show held next to the media center, saying he "noticed desire from Japanese people to know about Africa."



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The Japan Times

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