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Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010

Asahi to end English insert in IHT on Feb. 28


Staff writer

The Asahi Shimbun Co. will stop printing on Feb. 28 its English section that currently occupies the last four pages of the International Herald Tribune's Japan edition.

The Asahi Shimbun's English news will only be available on its website as well as on Apple Inc.'s iPad and Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle services, the company said Tuesday. The IHT will be distributed without the Asahi section starting March 1.

The Asahi will become the consigned agent in Japan for printing and distributing the IHT, an international paper owned by the New York Times.

"We will notify our readers in January 2011 about the details of new subscriptions to the IHT newspaper, including how the IHT newspaper will be published solely by the International Herald Tribune and will be printed and distributed by The Asahi Shimbun, and the method by which current subscription contracts to the IHT/Asahi will be handled," the Asahi Shimbun said.

The Asahi debuted the English-only Asahi Evening News in January 1954. It scrapped the publication in April 2001 upon agreement to put its abbreviated English section in the back of the IHT.

"The circulation of English-language newspapers in Japan has seen a dramatic fall in recent years," the Asahi Shimbun's public relations department said in a faxed reply to The Japan Times. "The IHT/Asahi, which the International Herald Tribune and the Asahi Shimbun jointly publish, is also suffering poor financial conditions."

The Asahi went on to say it doesn't plan to stop providing news in English, but made the strategic decision to end the printed version to strengthen operations in delivering news to international readers.

The PR division declined comment on earnings from subscriptions and ads for its English section but said the IHT/Asahi circulation is 33,717.



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