Skip to content
BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Mouton June 30, 2015

The nuclear power debate after Fukushima: a text-mining analysis of Japanese newspapers

  • Yuki Abe EMAIL logo
From the journal Contemporary Japan


This paper analyzes the debate on nuclear power after the Fukushima accident by using a text-mining approach. Texts are taken from the editorial articles of five major Japanese newspapers, Asahi Shinbun, Mainichi Shinbun, Nikkei Shinbun, Sankei Shinbun and Yomiuri Shinbun. After elucidating their different views on nuclear power policy, including general issues such as radiation risks, renewable energy and lessons from the meltdown, the paper reveals two main strands of arguments. Newspapers in favor of denuclearization appeal to “democratic values.” They advocate public participation in decisions on future energy policy and criticize the closed-off administration of nuclear energy. Meanwhile, pro-nuclear newspapers adopt a “technological nationalistic” stance, claiming that denuclearization will weaken Japan’s superiority in the field of nuclear power technology. In other words, the debate about the nuclear power is not merely about energy supply, but also about the choices facing Japanese society over visions for the future after the events of Fukushima.


福島第一原発事故後、原子力エネルギーの問題は日本でいかに議論されてきたのか。本稿では『朝日新聞』、『毎日新聞』、『日本経済新聞』、『産経新聞』、『読売新聞』の社説を取り上げ、テキスト・マイニングの手法を用いてこの問題を考察する。その分析結果からは放射能、再生可能エネルギー、原発事故の教訓といった一般的な議論のほか、原発の存否に関する新たな議論を見ることができる。まず、原発廃止を唱える新聞ではこれまでの原発政策の閉鎖的な運営体制が批判され、将来のエネルギー政策は国民の参加によって決められるべきであるという「民主主義的価値」が主張されている。他方、原発存続を支持する新聞では日本の原発技術の高さが強調され、脱原発によりその優位が失われることを危惧する「技術ナショナリズム」に根ざした議論が展開されている。すなわち、原発をめぐる議論は福島での事故を契機に単なるエネルギー供給のあり方に留まらず、より広い観点から日本の将来像を問う問題として認識されていることが分かる。 キーワード:原子力エネルギー、福島第一原発事故、日本の新聞、テキスト・マイニング


Aldrich, Daniel P. 2013. A normal accident or a sea-change? Nuclear host communities respond to the 3/11 disaster. Japanese Journal of Political Science 14(2). 261-276.10.1017/S1468109913000066Search in Google Scholar

Altman, Kristin Kyoko. 1996. Television and political turmoil: Japan’s summer of 1993. In Susan J. Pharr & Ellis S. Krauss (eds.), Media and politics in Japan, 165-186. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.Search in Google Scholar

Asahi Shinbun. 2011. Uneru chokusetsu minshushugi [Surge of participatory democracy]. 25 September.Search in Google Scholar

Asahi Shinbun. 2012. Datsu-genpatsu: ikari no entenka [Denuclearization: Rage under scorching sun]. 17 July.Search in Google Scholar

Finnemore, Martha. 2003. The purpose of intervention: Changing beliefs about the use of force. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Funabashi, Yoichi & Kay Kitazawa. 2012. Fukushima in review: A complex disaster, a disastrous response. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 68(2). 67-78.Search in Google Scholar

Hara, Jōji. 2012. Sekai no denryoku mondai o Nihon no gijutsu de kaiketsu seyo [Sort out the world’s electricity problems by Japanese technology]. Voice 415. 44-53.Search in Google Scholar

Hasegawa, Kōichi. 1999. Genshiryoku hatsuden o meguru Nihon no seiji, keizai, shakai [Japanese politics, economy and society in the nuclear power debate]. In Yoshikazu Sakamoto (ed.), Kaku to ningen [Atoms and humans], 281-337. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.Search in Google Scholar

Hashiyama, Reijirō. 2012. Kyodai kagaku gijutsu kaihatsu wa naze shippai suru no ka: seisaku hyōka to kokkai no sekinin [Why the development of gigantic technology fails: Policy assessment and the responsibility of the Diet]. Sekai 828. 60-69.Search in Google Scholar

Honda, Hiroshi. 2005. Datsu-genshiryoku no undō to seiji: Nihon no enerugī seisaku no tenkan wa kanō ka [The anti-nuclear movement and politics: Are changes in energy policy possible?]. Sapporo: Hokkaidō Daigaku Toshokankōkai.Search in Google Scholar

Hurd, Ian. 2007. After anarchy: Legitimacy and power in the United Nations Security Council. Princeton: Princeton University Press.10.1515/9781400827749Search in Google Scholar

Ida, Tetsuji. 2012. Atarashii seisaku wa atarashii seisaku kettei katei kara [New policy from new decision-making processes]. Sekai 825. 114-124Search in Google Scholar

Iida, Tetsunari. 2011. Nihon no enerugī seisaku no minshuka o [Democratize Japanese energy policy]. Sekai 819. 34-44.Search in Google Scholar

Iida, Tetsunari. 2012. Atarashii shakai to seiji ni nani ga hitsuyō ka: shimin sekutā no kanōsei [What is needed for a new society and politics? The role of civil sectors]. Sekai 836. 132-142.Search in Google Scholar

Kingston, Jeff. 2012. Japan’s nuclear village. The Asia-Pacific Journal 10(37). (accessed 10 February 2015).Search in Google Scholar

Krebs, Ronald R. & Patrick Thaddeus Jackson. 2007. Twisting tongues and twisting arms: The power of political rhetoric. European Journal of International Relations 13(1). 35-66.10.1177/1354066107074284Search in Google Scholar

Matsumura, Masahiro & Mariko Miura. 2009. Jinbun shakai kagaku no tame no tekisuto mainingu [Text-mining for the humanities and social sciences]. Tokyo: Seishin Shobō.Search in Google Scholar

McCormack, Gavan. 2011. Building the next Fukushimas. Foreign Policy (Special issue on Tsunami: Japan’s post-Fukushima future). 230-239.Search in Google Scholar

MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology). 2012. Heisei 24 nen, kagaku gijutsu hakusho [White paper on science technology]. (accessed 10 February 2015).Search in Google Scholar

Naikakufu. 2010. Kagaku gijutsu to shakai ni kan suru yoron chōsa. [Opinion poll on science technology and society]. (accessed 10 February 2015).Search in Google Scholar

Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission. 2012. The official report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission. (accessed 10 February 2015).Search in Google Scholar

Oguma, Eiji. 2011. Shinsaigo no shisō chizu: “Shin jiyū minshushugi” no taitō [Ideological map of the post-earthquake-disaster era: The rise of “new free democracy”]. Kikan Seisaku Keieigaku Kenkyū 4. 1-18.Search in Google Scholar

Onitsuka, Hiroshi. 2011. Hooked on nuclear power: Japanese state-local relations and the vicious cycle of nuclear dependence. The Asia-Pacific Journal 10(2). (accessed 10 February 2015).Search in Google Scholar

Penney, Matthew. 2012. Nuclear nationalism and Fukushima. The Asia-Pacific Journal 10(11). http:// (accessed 10 February 2015).Search in Google Scholar

Samuels, Richard J. 1996. Rich nation, strong army: National security and the technological transformation of Japan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Samuels, Richard J. 2013. Japan’s rhetoric of crisis: Prospects for change after 3.11. Journal of Japanese Studies 39(1). 97-120.10.1353/jjs.2013.0016Search in Google Scholar

Sawa, Akihiro. 2011a. “Genshiryoku gijutsu” wa iji shitsuzukeyo [Japan should maintain its nuclear power technologies]. Shinchō 45 30(10). 64-65.Search in Google Scholar

Sawa, Akihiro. 2011b. Damaru ryōshikiha, bakko suru esesenmonka: genpatsu fushin zōfuku no kōzō [Silent common sense camp, rampant pseudo-experts: The structure that amplifies public distrust]. Chūō Kōron 126(11). 30-37.Search in Google Scholar

Sawada, Tetsuo. 2011. Sekaiichi no gijutsuryoku to uneiryoku o sarani migake [Polish up the world’s best technology and management capability]. Voice 404. 126-131.Search in Google Scholar

Scalise, Paul J. 2013. Policy images, issue frames, and technical realities: Contrasting views of Japan’s energy policy development. Social Science Japan Journal 16(2). 301-308.Search in Google Scholar

Schimmelfennig, Frank. 2003. The EU, NATO and the integration of Europe: Rules and rhetoric. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511492068Search in Google Scholar

Tanaka, Shūsei. 2011. Mondai no kongen wa “gisō minshushugi” da [The source of the problem is “pseudo-democracy”]. Sekai 819. 45-53.Search in Google Scholar

Tanioka, Ichirō. 2007. Dēta wa uso o tsuku: kagakuteki na chōsa no hōhō [Data lies: Methods for scientific surveys]. Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō.Search in Google Scholar

Toyoda, Aritsune. 2010. Nihon no genpatsu gijutsu ga sekai o kaeru [Japanese nuclear technology changes the world]. Tokyo: Shōdensha.Search in Google Scholar

Toyoda, Aritsune. 2011. Saikō no genpatsu gijutsu o sekai no tame ni [Nuclear technology of the highest standard for the world]. Seiron (Special issue). 23-33.Search in Google Scholar

Ueda, Kazuhiro. 2012. Sentaku sarerubeki enerugī seisaku to wa nani ka [What energy policy is to be chosen]. Sekai 834. 37-46. Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2015-6-30
Published in Print: 2015-7-1

© 2015

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

Downloaded on 7.2.2023 from
Scroll Up Arrow