In the aftermath of the nuclear crisis involving the Fukushima Dai’ichi nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011, nuclear power generation in Japan and other countries has come under close public scrutiny. Immediately following the nuclear crisis, countries such as Switzerland and Germany that have relied historically on nuclear power utilization started to seriously reconsider safety measures surrounding nuclear power generation. Such considerations led to the June 2011 decision in the German Bundestag that went into force on August 6, 2011. In the process of determining its own domestic nuclear energy policy, assessments and evaluations of other countries’ responses in the aftermath of “3.11” have appeared frequently in Japan’s domestic mass media. Yet have the nuclear energy policies in certain other countries such as Germany been singled out for comparison with Japan’s own energy strategies and priorities? Furthermore, has such coverage tended to focus on the positive or negative aspects of nuclear energy? In this paper, we assess the characteristics of Japanese mass media coverage of public opinion concerning nuclear energy policy in other countries. From a methodological perspective, our research draws on a combination of content analysis and sentiment analysis and investigates how the German case appeared in news articles concerning nuclear power in Japan in the six-months period from March 11 to September 11, 2011, identifies the main policy actors involved, and assesses if the coverage was positive or negative.

Hartwig, Manuela, Okura, Sae, Tkach-Kawasaki, Leslie, and Kobashi, Yohei
Identifying the ‘Fukushima Effect’: Assessing Japanese Mass-Media Coverage of International Nuclear Power Decisions
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Date / Year
Feb 2016
Journal of International and Advanced Japanese Studies