Japanese Climate Change Discourse Coalitions

Friday, July 18, 2014: 6:40 PM
Room: 503
Oral Presentation
Keiichi SATOH , Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan
The presentation shows the Japanese discourse and discourse coalition on climate change based on the content analysis of main newspapers.   For the analysis, our Japanese Compon team engaged in the following: (1) To follow historical changes to the discourse, we sampled articles from 1985 to 2006 from one of the largest progressive national newspapers, Asahi Newspaper. (2) To analyze in more detail the structure of the current discourse, we used two other main newspapers in addition to Asahi newspaper for articles published between 2007 and 2009, the Nikkei economic and Yomiuri conservative newspapers.   The results of our analysis indicate the characteristic features of the Japanese discourse on climate change. The majority of articles do not cover the views of skeptics with regard to the existence of the climate change problem itself. In addition, there appears to be an overall agreement within Japanese society on the need to save energy. The main flow of the discourse is along the lines of how climate change is framed within the broader context and measures to be taken. One side of the discourse coalition, which is primarily lead by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and industrial sectors frames the problem in the context of energy itself. Accordingly, this coalition essentially pursues the improvement of energy use efficiency through voluntary action and the shift to nuclear energy sources. The other coalition, led by the Ministry of Environment, a progressive newspaper, and NGOs—though their coverage in the media is limited—recognizes the need for a more structural change toward a more sustainable market and industry. Historically, this coalition gradually imported policy ideas from other countries, such as green tax, emission trade, and Feed-in tariffs, some of which were introduced by the DPJ government between 2009 and 2012.