Past Times and Contradictions to Japan’s Abolishment of Nuclear Weapons

Japan has had focused on abolishing global armaments of nuclear weapons for many decades. In this paper, I analyzed and evaluated Japanese, Chinese, and American online news articles on how each view their stance on Japan’s abolishment of nuclear weapons. Media coverages by The Japan Times, Global Times, The Asahi Shimbun, and NBC News developed articles of their own. In each coverage, they have compiled their argument well. However, I will argue that each articles have neglected several pieces of information to completely cover Japan’s stance on nuclear weapons.

First, Japan and Chinese relations are hindered by the Sino-Japanese war and World War II, and one cannot forget the horrors that has happened on both sides. In a Global Times article by Xu Chuanbo, it claims that Japan not mentioning a word about abolishing nuclear weapons before U.S. President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima clearly indicates that Japan “holds a positive attitude toward the possession and use of nuclear weapons (Chuanbo).” In contrast, Japan’s economy has miraculously surged due to a “free-ride” in a lack of defense expenditures after the United States’ occupation in 1945 (Johnson 15). Global Times implied their bias that Japan wants possession of nuclear weapons on small details without acknowledging one of Japan’s successes was due to a lack of defense expenditures. Also, the article did not give credence to any source that can back that claim while trying to incite sentimental fear and anger towards Japan. There is no reason for Japan to acquire nuclear weapons since it will drain Japan’s economy gravely by rearranging production. Even if Japan were to obtain nuclear weapons, it would bring even bigger fears towards the international community. The reporters were quick to judge in which Japan views nuclear weapons in a different way.

Likewise, The Asahi Shimbun wrote an article in light of President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, and that every wording counts in Japan’s draft resolution of nuclear abolishment. In this article, The Asahi Shimbun writes that Japan “praises” President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima; also, the article also writes about Japan not including visits from political leaders to the atomic bomb sites due to China’s opposition towards “historical issues that exist between Japan and China (The Asahi Shimbun 12 Oct. 2016).” In addition, Andrew Gordon wrote “put Japan’s wartime rulers on trial . . . charged with both conventional war crimes and the newly minted category of “war against peace (Gordon 228).”” The Asahi Shimbun covered President Obama’s visit as hopeful rather than Global Times’ story of Japan secretly wanting nuclear weapons. Rather, the visit should only be welcoming since the United States and Japan disputed with each other in the past such as limiting Japanese automobile exports. Then there is the historical issue between Japan and China, where The Asahi Shimbun neglected to specify the most noticeable issue between the two nations in World War II about Japan’s war crimes. The reporters should read into Japan’s history on war crimes, and they should also include coverage acknowledging both Japan’s war crimes on China. This way, The Asahi Shimbun would have completely covered the story.

Next, media coverages should understand Japan’s priorities before making their recommendations. In an NBC News article by Robert Windrem, he wrote that he could support Japan in becoming a nuclear power (Windrem).” Whilst Abenomics is based on “reflating the economy, flexible fiscal policy with medium-term fiscal consolidation and structural reform (Armstrong).” Once again, it is not in Japan’s interest to obtain nuclear power. Prime Minister Abe also seeks to ease relations with other countries in his foreign policy. There is no mentioning of reasons why Japan would want to support being a nuclear power as support for the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan would fall. Windrem’s article lacks knowledge on Japan’s public sentiment on even having nuclear power due to the March 2011 Fukushima incident which was a major incident that forced the Democratic Party of Japan out of power. It would be best if Windrem mentioned that Japan had decreased reliance on nuclear power since March 2011 which would restate his support with Japanese concerns.

Reporting on the resolution prepared by Japan on the abolishment of nuclear weaponry, The Asam Shimbun article of October 12, 2016, tends to criticize the mere wording of the draft resolution. The The Asam Shimbun author diverts vastly from the subject matter of concern and discusses the political correctness of the wordings in the resolution (Vogel). This shows that the article has a very vague understanding of the political and historical issues surrounding nuclear weaponry and Japan. However, the bias in the article is well observable when the author decides to focus on the relationship between Japan and China as a concern in the voting for or against the resolution. By claiming that diplomats are indicating that “…China may again oppose the wording about visits to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the latest resolution”, the author attempts to raise the necessary political temperature around the resolution (The Asam Shimbun). Instead, the news should have been more insightful if the focus was on the merits and demerits of the resolution itself (Garon, 12).

A recent article in Japan Times also tends to focus directly on the international relationship between China and Japan. Japan and China have been in a fight for supremacy in the region, but this is a priority topic of concern at this time when the future of the planet is at stake (Plant, 34). However, probably following a trend of previous biases in reporting the news article intentionally increases the stakes in the resolution by predicting the voting format of China (Jain). With a headline that states directly the intent of the article, the author, oblivious of the political and social ignorance that the news hold, wants to push into the readers a concept that the abolishment of nuclear weapons is important as it is ‘Japan playing a victim’ of the whole process. This is similar to what the authors in The Asam Shimbun, and Global Times try to portray Japan to the rest of the world (Vogel).  The author should have instead focused on why those states with nuclear weapons would be reluctant to let go of them. However, from a rather insightful perspective, a political author in the Japan Today has highlighted a possibility that Japan may not support the U.N resolution on the ban of nuclear weapons. From a political perspective, the author informs that the decision to either vote against the resolution or abstain from voting for japan, the sole victim of atomic bombing, will be to help prevent a rift between nucleated and non-nucleated states in the world and hence prevent a crisis (Hughes). However, the author fails to mention that the failure to support the resolution is likely to have been triggered by a planned boycott of the negotiations by countries such as United States of America, a close ally to Japan. This information has been intentionally left out by the author (Garon, 22).




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