Focusing Events and Frames: Comparing Japanese and Western Presentations of the Fukushima Incident
Focusing Events and Frames: Comparing Japanese and Western Presentations of the Fukushima Incident*
Volume 6 Number 2, Autumn 2015 pp. 28-49
The nuclear incident at Fukushima is an important media focusing event that drew attention from the Japanese
public, government officials around the world, and private organizations. Since focusing events and frames
influence policy decisions, this research examines the rhetoric associated with the incident, and compares the
rhetoric presented across media sources from Japan, the US, and Europe for the two-week period following the
initial tsunami. The content analysis demonstrates that a single focusing event maintains several frames for
different actors. The paper illustrates the different immediate frames after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in
regard to the Fukushima nuclear power plant. In particular, the research shows the differences in frame
presentations between the European news outlets, the US, and Japan. These differences parallel subsequent policy
choices made within these regions toward nuclear power.
Keywords: comparative policy, focusing events, framing, Fukushima, media
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