Japanese mass media - especially television and newspapers - have been heavily criticized after the 3.11 Fukushima nuclear accident. For some they have under-reported the risks of nuclear power and contributed an irrational belief in the safety of nuclear reactors. For others they have disregarded the victims of the 3.11 Tsunami by overemphasizing the importance of the nuclear accident.
I will try to answer two questions in my presentation. How did Japanese journalists portray nuclear power from the start of the “nuclear controversy” in the 1970s through the Fukushima nuclear accident and what factors have influenced their portrayal of nuclear power.
In the first part of the presentation I will present my findings from a content analysis of Japanese newspaper reporting before and after the Fukushima accident. I use Irving Goffman’s concept of “framing” to analyze article series focusing on nuclear power. The results indicate, that Japanese mass media do not always tend towards conformity, as literature on the press club system asserts, but show a substantial variation of framing.
In a second step I will try to shed light on the circumstances of news production on nuclear power reporting in Japan, drawing on interviews and other data. While the news companies’ editorial line has varying influence on nuclear power reporting of individual journalists, network integration seems to be a good indicator of the stance journalists take on nuclear power.
About the presenter:
Tobias Weiss studied Japanese Studies, Chinese Studies and Economics at University of Hamburg. He was from 2007 till 2008 MEXT scholar at Fukui University, Japan and is since 2012 PHD student at University of Zurich, Research Priority Programme Asia and Europe. He is a DIJ doctoral fellowship holder during the fall of 2015.