Advertisement

CBS News abruptly shutters Tokyo bureau to cut costs after over 50 years in Japan

CBS News quietly shut down its Tokyo bureau this week — a desperate move to slash costs that could crimp the network’s coverage of China, The Post has learned.

According to sources close to the situation, CBS News London bureau chief Andrew Roy — who some at the network call “the hatchet” — flew to Tokyo on Tuesday to fire the staff, ending the network presence in Japan after more than half a century.

“It is not a big bureau but with everything going on in the region, it’s throwing up a white flag,” a source close to the Tiffany Network said. “Money is more important than covering a major part of the world.”

London bureau chief Andrew Roy flew to Tokyo to shutter CBS News’ bureau there, The Post has learned. BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images
London bureau chief Andrew Roy flew to Tokyo to shutter CBS News’ bureau there, The Post has learned. BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images

CBS News slashed 20 staffers as part of a bloodbath that had engulfed nearly 800 workers at corporate parent Paramount Global.

“CBS News will continue to have a team in Asia, including an on-air correspondent,” a network spokesperson said. “We also have a partnership with the BBC which provides us with additional resources in the region.”

A source with knowledge said three staffers were let go but it is unclear if that includes local hires. A rep for CBS News said that senior foreign correspondent Liz Palmer, who is based in Tokyo and has been responsible for major news coverage in Asia, was not impacted by the layoffs.

“Liz Palmer, who took an assignment in Asia for the past few years, is one of the most highly respected international journalists in the industry and will continue to contribute to CBS News’ far-reaching global news coverage,” CBS News said.

“There are no other bureaus in Asia,” a source said, noting that there is a Beijing bureau but that it does not have a correspondent, just a producer-camera person. Palmer, who had been based in London before moving to Tokyo, had been flying to China with short-term visas.

“The Chinese have been playing hardball with journalists visas for years,” the source added.

Another source said that going forward, CBS will likely cover China from other bureaus including London, Los Angeles and Washington.

“CBS will probably cover China the way it has been covering TikTok — from DC,” a source surmised.

Cuts at CBS News’ Tokyo bureau follow roughly 20 cuts at CBS News and 800 cuts at parent Paramount Global. AP
Cuts at CBS News’ Tokyo bureau follow roughly 20 cuts at CBS News and 800 cuts at parent Paramount Global. AP

The closure of the Tokyo bureau has rocked staffers at CBS News’ London bureau, who are said to be worried that more cuts are coming at the hands of Roy — an editor that is known for ruthlessly slashing jobs.

A source with knowledge said that Roy has been investing in the infrastructure of the London bureau and that there have been no reductions there.

A former international bureau chief for the BBC, Roy joined CBS News as vice president and London bureau chief in April 2022. He replaced Andy Clarke, a well-respected editor who clashed with the network’s then-News president Neeraj Khemlani.

As exclusively reported by The Post, Clarke stepped down amid multiple disagreements with Khemlani over budget cuts and the exec’s initial refusal to pony up cash to extradite Afghan journalists and fixers who worked for CBS when President Biden ordered US troops to pull out of Afghanistan.

Khemlani was let go in 2023 after a choatic two-year run, which was marked by clashes with high-profile anchors and HR complaints.