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