Discussions of nuclear power technology are wide‐ranging and highly complicated in Japan today. Although advocates of nuclear power insist that nuclear technology is important for the development of the Japanese society, it is hard to say that people and society in general are in agreement on its use.

It is considered that media reports play a crucial role in shaping the public opinion on nuclear power. When the first nuclear reactor in Japan started operation in 1957, the mass media and the public opinion were in a mood to welcome it. But in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in 1985, much of the Japanese media have turned critical in reporting the use of nuclear power. A total of 65.9% of Japanese people say they are "somewhat uneasy" or "uneasy" about nuclear power, according to an opinion survey released by the Cabinet Office in 2006. In the background is the thought that there is a structural factor in the nuclear power issue in Japan.

The purpose of this study is to verify news reports in the mass media that have influenced the relationship between society and nuclear power in Japan. As a case study, I examine news reports on Japan's Kashiwazaki‐Kariwa nuclear plant which suspended operation due to a strong earthquake that hit the region where the plant is located in July 2007. The Kashiwazaki‐Kariwa nuclear plant is one of the indispensable sources of power supply in Japan.

I analyze the contents of news reports covering the situation at the Kashiwazaki‐Kariwa nuclear plant and the announcements made by the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company after the earthquake.

I try to clarify whether the mass media have passed on relevant information to the public and what the structural problem in nuclear power technology in Japan is.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Verification of media reports on nuclear power ‐ a case study of reporting of earthquake damages at Japan's Kashiwazaki‐Kariwa nuclear power plant

Keiichi Nakane   Waseda University

Discussions of nuclear power technology are wide‐ranging and highly complicated in Japan today. Although advocates of nuclear power insist that nuclear technology is important for the development of the Japanese society, it is hard to say that people and society in general are in agreement on its use.

It is considered that media reports play a crucial role in shaping the public opinion on nuclear power. When the first nuclear reactor in Japan started operation in 1957, the mass media and the public opinion were in a mood to welcome it. But in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in 1985, much of the Japanese media have turned critical in reporting the use of nuclear power. A total of 65.9% of Japanese people say they are "somewhat uneasy" or "uneasy" about nuclear power, according to an opinion survey released by the Cabinet Office in 2006. In the background is the thought that there is a structural factor in the nuclear power issue in Japan.

The purpose of this study is to verify news reports in the mass media that have influenced the relationship between society and nuclear power in Japan. As a case study, I examine news reports on Japan's Kashiwazaki‐Kariwa nuclear plant which suspended operation due to a strong earthquake that hit the region where the plant is located in July 2007. The Kashiwazaki‐Kariwa nuclear plant is one of the indispensable sources of power supply in Japan.

I analyze the contents of news reports covering the situation at the Kashiwazaki‐Kariwa nuclear plant and the announcements made by the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company after the earthquake.

I try to clarify whether the mass media have passed on relevant information to the public and what the structural problem in nuclear power technology in Japan is.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP