JAPAN'S CLOUDED WINDOW:
NEWS ON NHK AND TBS TELEVISION, 1993
Anne Cooper-Chen, Ph.D.
Director, Center for International Journalism
E.W. Scripps School of Journalism
Athens, OH 45701
[log in to unmask] OHIOU. EDU
Analysis of 426 stories on 30 randomly selected newscasts revealed on
insular TV world view. "Pure" foreign news (news having no Japan
accounted for 15 percent of stories on TBS (commercial) and 14.5
NHK (noncommercial). Although both newscasts had male-female anchor teams,
outside the "safety" of the studio, women reported only one domestic story
on NHK and four domestic stories on TBS. The top three topics on both
networks were the economy, crime/legal/judicial and domestic politics.
Submitted to the International Communication Division, Association for
Education in Journalism and Mass Communication annual convention,
Washington, D.C., August 9-12, 1995
The author would like to thank Charles Chen, Nil Bardhan, Betsy McElfresh
and Lara Simms and the Japan-US Educational Commission, Tokyo. This
research was conducted while the author was a Fulbright Senior Research
Scholar in Japan, 1992-1993.
JAPAN'S CLOUDED WINDOW: NEWS ON NHK AND TBS TELEVISION, 1993
Who can deny the importance of Japan on the world stage? The Japanese $3
trillion economy and the U.S. $5 trillion economy together make up 42
percent of the world's GNP. In 1993, the United States bought nearly
$105.5 billion in goods from Japan, as against about $55 billion in U.S.
goods bought by Japan. That year, 29.2 percent of Japanese exports
the United States, Japan's largest single export destination.
Besides goods, the unbalanced two-way flow includes people and
information. In 1990, more than 236,000 Japanese nationals lived in the
United States, but only about 38,000 U.S. nationals lived in Japan.
Similarly, while 356,000 foreign students were enrolled in U.S. college and
universities (1988), only 31,000 foreign students studied in Japan (1989).
In the realm of information, by 1985 Japan exported more than it imported
Beyond the pragmatic business reasons for understanding Japan's
information systems, Westerners can benefit from a look at a developed
information society different from their own--a challenge to our
predictions about how societies evolve (Fallows 1989). As a case in point,
the Japanese stay glued to the TV tube (see below), but Japanese
score better on standardized tests than U.S. children; furthermore,
high school drop-out rate was a mere 2.2 percent in 1989, compared to the
U.S. rate of 28.4 percent. Japan belies any easy assumptions about
television's corrupting influence on young people.
Unfortunately, interchange for mutual benefit has hit some raodblocks.
According to van Wolferen (1993, 6), "The communication gap, dating
the early 1970s, that separates Japan from the West . . . appears to
widening." Each society, he believes, belongs to "an altogether
frame of reference" (van Wolferen, 1993, 11). This paper aims to
and elucidate the Japanese frame of reference in relation to its mass
media--specifically, its television news.
Values and Mass Communication
The values that characterize Japanese behavior affect the way its mass
media function. For example, Japanese tend to stress harmony between
individual and society. Personality attributes such as independence,
assertion and outspokenness, often positive values in the West, are
deemphasized in favor of working smoothly with others, self-restraint and
reticence. Individualistic values create disrputive,
situations (DeVos and Bock 1974, 20). Thus the maverick investigative
reporter finds minimal respect and encouragement in Japan.
If little muckraking occurs at home, social values also militate against
in-depth reporting from overseas. Japan lies in the Pacific Ocean 100
from Korea and 500 miles from China--in ancient times, truly at the end of
the earth. Today, the Japanese "face no problem of national identity"
(Resichauer 1981, 6), but they carry a negative image as a closed,
exclusionary socety. Antagonism towards outsiders derives from scarce
land and high population, believes Nakane (1988). Who wants to share
meager piece of the pie?
To counteract Japan's geographical and psychological insularity, kokusaika
("internationalization") has "become a sincere goal of Japnese
governmental, cultural and educational leaders" (Wray 1990, 17). But, as
Nakane (1988, 6) puts it, constant harping on the need for
internationalization is "a sure indication that Japan is still a
society." Despite a large overseas press corps, for example, little
overseas coverage reaches the small screen, as the next section will show.
Considering the voracious Japanese TV appetite, an insular world view on
television has implications for Japan's future international role.
Japanese spends an average of three hours and 32 minutes per day
television, including one hour and two minutes with NHK and 2.5 hours
commercial stations (NHK survey in June 1993). In the United States,
average person watches less: two hours, 26 minutes a day (Nielsen
in May 1993). In Japan, according to Kato (1988, 315), "intellectual
snobbery is almost nil. . . conspicuous non-ownership of television. . .
totally alien in Japanese society."
Why did television find such ready acceptance in Japan? Kitamura (1987,
145) believes the dichotomy of uchi ("family") vs. soto ("outside")
role: "television provides a convenient medium to see the dangerous soto
from within the comfortable insulation of uchi where one is surrounded
psychologically attached family."
Furthermore, the visual orientation of the Japanese made television's
acceptance smooth and enthusiastic (Head 1985, 22; Kitamura 1987, 144).
ideographic writing system, the rich tradition of painting and woodblock
printing, the variety of ceramic and fabric designs, the importance of
artistic food arrangements-- all underscore the observation that "of the
five senses, sight is most important in Japan" (Kitamura 1987, 144).
Broadcasting in Japan
E The Nihon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) radio service, unabashedly modelled on the
BBC when it was established in l926, became a military propaganda tool
during World War II.E After the war, in 1950, the Occupation forces
approved the licensing of private, commercial radio stations, giving Japan
the mixed system it has today. NHK's radio coverage now far exceeds
Television began in 1953 after the Occupation ended.EThe autonomy of NHK
derives partly from its ability to set and collect its own fees,
the legislature does review fee proposals.EMoreover, NHK has complete
freedom in programming; the government can neither include nor exclude
A typical viewer in the Kanto (Tokyo metropolitan) area has a choice of
two NHK channels (educational and entertainment); five commercial
(Nihon TV, TBS, Fuji TV, TV Asahi and TV Tokyo); UHF channels with
in-school programs and local news; two NHK satellite channels (requiring
purchase of a small dish); and Wowow, a pay-TV channel.
E Television surpassed newspapers in 1975 as the mass medium with the
largest amount of advertsing revenues. By 1989, television was taking
percent of ad expenditures, while newspapers took 25.1 percent.
In entertainment TV programming, Japan exports animated cartoons and
imports major movies; however, it has virtually stopped importing regular
TV series, meaning that it must shoulder its production burden alone
150 hours a week for most stations).E Considering only one genre, the quiz
show, viewers have a choice of 32 domestically produced weekly programs
that differ markedly from game or quiz shows anywhere else in the
(Cooper-Chen 1994, 220-238).
As for the future, virtual TV saturation (one set per 1.8 people) means
NHK cannot expect increased revenues from new customers. Nor can TV
advertisers expect much more attention to their messages, since the average
Japanese already watches 3.5 hours a day. Indeed, domestic channels may
see falling audience shares as STAR TV enters on the heels of expected
legal liberalizations regarding international broadcasting. So far, NHK
the satellite field all to itself.
In Japan, the popularization of pay-TV by communication satellites,
broadcast satellites and cable TV lags far behind that of the United
States. Japan has 149 multi-channel type cable systems, with 1.07 million
households as subscribers (as of March 1993). By contrast, the United
States had 11,385 cable systems in 1993; in 1992, 61.5 percent of
households had cable service (more than 57 million subscribers). Clearly,
"the multi-media, multi-channel era is slow coming in Japan" (Nishino
Thus a study of NHK and one commercial network should give a fairly
complete picture of Japan's TV landscape. This paper will explore the
relation of social values to the content of that very "Japanese" medium,
television. Has internationalization affected content? Have women
through the males-only barriers of Confucianism (Cooper-Chen, Cho and
Leung)? In short, has culture prevailed over technology?
II. RELATED STUDIES
The joho shakai ("information society") concept began independently in
Japan and the United States in the 1960s--about 10 years earlier than
Europe. While Machlup (1962) in the United States discussed
knowledge," Umesao's (1963) writing on "information industries"
Japan to enter an "information society boom" of thinking and planning
1991). Later, Bell (1973) developed the idea of the "post industrial
society," while still later in Japan, Sakaiya (1985) predicted a
whereby economic growth would derive from information and chika
Despite the value of Japan as an alternative model of communication
development, little sharing of research occurs.
Many of the handful of Western scholars interested in Japan do not even
speak--let alone read-- Japanese. And few Japanese scholars publish in
Japan stands nearly alone in East Asia in its isolation from the American
academy. For example, at conferences of the Association for Education
Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) over the past five years
(1990-94), 23 papers were presented on mass media in mainland China and
Taiwan, but only seven on Japan.
This dearth of Japan scholarship derives partly from the Japanese academic
system, which does not stress mass media as a discipline for either
professors or students. Since only a handful of Japanese study mass media
in the United States, almost no papers appear at U.S. conferences and
U.S. journals. Furthermore, the existence of lifetime jobs and absence
"publish or perish" ethos means "Japanese research has not been as
impressive as Japanese industrial products" (Ito 1992, 28).
However, considering TV news content, a few studies have analyzed Japan
only and Japan compared with other countries.
Japan-only TV Studies
Ishikawa and Kambara (1993) found in a study covering March 2-8, 1992,
that news/current affairs was 17.5 percent of TBS content and 41.8
of NHK content (whole day). NHK news, as noted above, operates free
commercial pressure and might be compared to the "MacNeil Lehrer
PBS. It is often studied.
Miller (1994) analyzed 157 stories on NHK and the commercial network NTV's
30-minute evening newscasts for a composite week in May and June 1992.
NHK reported a total of 92 stories (excluding daily sport scores and
weather reports), while NTV reported 65 stories. NHK reported an average
18.4 stories/newscast compared to an average of 13 stories /newscast at
Consistent with the findings from news studies of other countries (e.g.,
Sreberny-Mohammadi, 1984; Stempel, 1985; Straubhaar, et al., 1986),
"politics and government" heads the list with the most number of stories
reported at both stations. Both networks had the same top four
("politics and government," "economics, business, finance,"
"disaster/accident," and "crime"), but the rank order differs because
NTV's greater emphasis on crime reporting. In sum, concludes Miller
83) "the national news reports at the two Japanese networks, NHK and NTV,
offer a distinct difference in coverage."
The issue of anchor and reporter gender, focus of much U.S. research
since the early 1970s, "may not appear as important in Japan where
all newscasts are co-anchored by a female and a male" (Miller 1994,
However, that apparent example of gender equality was belied by the
absence of female reporters: for NHK, males reported 100 percent of all
on-location stories; for NTV, males reported 94.7 percent (only one
location story was female-reported). In a related finding (Saito 1994),
heavy TV viewers in Japan associated the United States with a positive
image of gender equality.
In studying internationalization, Miller (1994) found that NTV had fewer
stories with a foreign dateline than NHK, but more widely distributed
geographical locations: Asia--three stories; United States--three;
Europe--four. At NHK, seven of the foreign news stories originated
Asian countries. Miller (1994) further found on NHK four stories
as "home news abroad" and 13 identified as "foreign news abroad" (14.1
percent). For NTV, three were identified as "home news abroad" and 10
foreign news abroad" (15.4 percent). Miller (1994, 95) states:
Despite the subtle differences in forelgn reporting at NHK and NTV, in
general, both networks report relatively few international stories.
nation that produces much of the world's electronic news gathering
equipment and has many foreign correspondents, international reporting is
In the most far-ranging comparative research, Kodama (1986) began in 1974
to study coverage every 10 years on NHK and CBS. A comparison of 1974 and
1984 results (Shiramizu 1987) will be enlarged upon completion of the
segment. Three non-contiguous weeks during October-November 1974 and
November- December 1984 were studied.
The top three news categories and the split between domestic and
international news (Shiramizu 1987) were as follows:
1974 1984 1974 1984
Politics 42.6% 16.0% 31.8% 23.3%
Economy 23.6% 9.3% 20.7% 16.0%
Society 13.8% 50.3% 12.2% 37.6%
Domestic 71.6% 58.0% 69.5% 82.6%
Home/int'l 17.8% 26.8% 25.3% 8.0%
Other nations 10.6% 15.3% 5.2% 9.2%
This longitudinal study shows the near invisibility of nations outside
Japan unless the story has a Japan connection (home/ international).
Kitatani (l981) found that British television spent the most time on
international news and Japanese the least, with U.S. networks falling in
between.E All three nations differed in how they treated foreign
for example, U.S.Enetworks emphasized politics, crime, armed conflict
E Straubhaar et al.E(l986) analyzed TV newscasts aired June 7-14, l984, in
the United States, Japan and six other countries. They found that 1)
concept of news and the format of a newscast are consistent across the
eight countries; 2) most prominent in all eight were the topics of
politics, economics, military and social issues; 3) at least 40 percent of
stories in all eight referred to one or more foreign countries; 4)
for India, all countries covered industrialized nations more than any
others; and 5) the U.S.Ewas by far the most covered country.EThe average
number of stories per newscast in Japan (NHK) was 9.2 and in the
States (ABC, NBC), 10.
Analyzing the United States, Japan and three other nations' newscasts for
Sept. 1-5, 1986, Cooper-Chen (1991) found that Japan's NHK paid the
attention to foreign news (22.6 percent of total stories reported).
violent international events made their way past NHK gatekeepers:Ea
collision, a plane crash and a war.ENHK did not even mention the two
biggest stories of that week: the non-aligned summit and South Africa.
Furthermore, NHK was the least congruous of the five nations.E It had the
lowest number of matches in attention to stories and the lowest number
coverage/non-coverage matches. Japan and the United States had the
congruous "world view" of all the 10 pairs of nations studied.E
The same data set (Cooper 1988) revealed that both Japan and the United
States make little more than token use of women TV journalists. NHK
featured the same male-female anchor team every night, but no women
reported any stories outside the studio. While no country had female
foreign correspondents, in every country but Japan, women reported at
some domestic stories.
Commonly asked question in TV news studies include:
1. How prominent is international news vs. the country own news?
2. Within international news, what geographic areas predominate?
3. What is the role of women reporters and anchors?
4. What topics/ categories predominate in the news content?
Whereas U.S. researchers can omit low-rated PBS newscasts, the high
viewership of NHK supports its inclusion in most previous Japanese studies.
But Japan's dual system argues for attention to at least one commercial
network as well. This study will update previous research by looking
four questions above in a 1993 study of NHK and TBS nightly news in Japan.
The evening newscasts of TBS (6 p.m.) and NHK (7 p.m.) were both watched
on five randomly selected weekdays during January, February and March
Thus the sample included five days per month per network, for a total of
30 30-minute casts.
Both networks provided live simultaneous English translations on specially
equipped TV sets. For each newscast, a summary of story contents as well
as story length and delivery mode (anchor or reporter) were noted. If
reporter delivered the story, the gender and physical location of the
reporter were recorded.
The unit of analysis was the story. Categories for coding came from a
large study coordinated by the International Association for Mass
Communication Research (IAMCR) at the request of UNESCO. The project
analyzed foreign news in the print and broadcast media of 29 countries for
a continuous and constructed week in 1979 (Sreberny-Mohammadi 1984).
Any story reporting events within Japan was coded as "home news at home"
(domestic). Any story reporting events outside Japan was coded as
"home news abroad" (a story about a Japanese national or a
event in a foreign country) or "foreign news abroad" (overseas story
no Japanese involvement); the location if outside Japan was noted.
In addition, 20 topics and 44 themes developed by the IAMCR group were
noted for presence in a story. (See Appendix 1.) Each story could have
main theme and as many as two topics.
IV. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
This study analyzed 426 randomly selected stories on Japanese TV newscasts
during January, February and March 1993--248 on NHK and 178 on TBS. NHK
averaged 16.5 stories/broadcast, while TBS averaged 12; TBS aired five
minutes of commercials per newscast, accounting for the smaller number
stories. Similarly, Miller (1994) had found 18.4 stories for NHK and
A third graduate student recoded two randomly selected NHK and TBS
newscasts, for a total of 55 stories. The author then used Holsti's (1969)
formula to calculate intercoder reliability:
[--- Unable To Translate Graphic ---]
where M = number of coding decisions on which the two coders agree
and N1 and N2 refer to the total number of decisions by the first and
second coder. Reliability was, for story type, 92.7 percent; for
96.4 percent; topic, 94.5 percent; subtopic, 94.5 percent; and theme
1. International news vs. Japanese news
Table 1 shows that "pure" foreign news (foreign news abroad) amounted to
14.5 percent for NHK and 15.7 percent for TBS. The
push seems to have had some effect in changing the near absence of the
outside world to at least an acknowledgement of its existence. Figures
1974 - 5.2% (Shiramizu 1987)
1984 - 9.2% " "
1992 -14.1% (Miller 1994)
1993 -14.5% (present study)
By way of comparison, figures for the three U.S. networks' foreign news
abroad content were higher (Gonzenbach, Arant and Stevenson 1991):
1972 - 20%
1982 - 22%
1989 - 24%
Considering Japan's trade-based economy and ranking as the world's No. 2
industrial power, the figures for foreign news seem low.
2. Predominant geographic areas
Table 2 shows that Europe and North America combined account for a larger
proportion of stories (NHK - 10.0 percent; TBS - 9.6 percent) than
South/Southeast/East Asia combined (NHK - 6.8 percent; TBS - 6.7 percent).
Remarkably absent from the TV "map" are Latin America, Africa and the
Middle East; television excludes Third World countries except some in
Japan's own Asian region.
Miller (1994) similarly found, for NHK, no stories from Africa or the
Middle East and just one from Brazil (the 1992 Earth Summit- actually an
international rather than Brazilian story). Asia, Europe and the
States dominated NHK and NTV coverage.
By way of comparison, Gonzenbach, Arant and Stevenson (1991) found for
U.S. networks, 1972-89, the following:
U.S. domestic 64.4%
W. Europe 5.8%
Middle East 5.5%
E. Europe 3.7%
Lat. Am./Carib. 2.9%
Thus Japanese newscasts present an even more clouded window than the
distorted view that U.S. television presents.
3. Role of women reporters and anchors
Table 3 shows the virtual absence of women reporters on Japanese
television. Although both NHK and TBS newscasts had male-female anchor
teams, outside the "safety" of the studio, women reported only one story
NHK and four stories on TBS. Confirming Cooper's (1988) findings based on
1986 data, women are completely absent as foreign correspondents and
absent as domestic correspondents.
4. Topics/ categories in the news
Table 4 shows that non-commercial NHK and commercial TBS have differences
in the order but not choice of the top three topics: economy;
crime/judicial/legal; and domestic politics. NHK's third topic was
Cold War matters, while TBS's was sports-related. (Sports was fourth
NHK. National network newscasts in Japan include sports stories every
night.) Table 5 shows that the top theme at both networks was
and the second was crime/legal.
Confirming Miller's (1994) findings, the commercial network paid more
attention to crime/legal matters than NHK; TBS had crime/legal as its
top-ranked topic (the main topic in 16.2 percent of stories). In a major
contrast between the networks, NHK put extreme emphasis on economic
(the main topic in 25.8 percent of stories); it gave relatively light
attention to crime/legal matters (the main topic in only 11.3 percent of
During January-March, 1993, the big domestic stories included the
engagement of Japan's crown prince to commoner Masako Owada; the broken
engagement of entertainer Rie Miyazawa and sumo superstar Takahanada;
elevation of Hawaiian Chad Rowan (Akebono) to the highest sumo rank of
yokozuna; the political corruption involving "kingmaker" Shin Kanemaru;
the rising value of the yen. International stories included the Bosnian
civil war; Israel/ Palestinian peace talks and unrest;
change in South Africa; the Branch Davidian violence in Texas; and the New
York World Trade Center bombing.
This study of 426 news stories on two Japanese TV networks revealed that
Japan shares certain similarities with other countries' news values,
as the high profile of political, economic and crime news, with a
deemphasis on culture, ecology and social services news. At the same time,
the study reveals certain distinctive traits about Japan and its media
NHK and the commercial networks
Japan boasts a strong dual TV system (imagine the PBS "MacNeil-Lehrer
News Hour" ranking as high in the ratings as ABC's evening news with
Jennings). In a limited sense, the differing order of topics and
this study discovered corroborates Miller's (1994, p. 83) finding that
and NTV, offer a distinct difference in coverage." NHK's freedom from
commercial pressures lets it tackle stories involving economists rather
than criminals. NHK could also be free to educate viewers about the
eyond the archipelago.
However, one might hesitate to call NHK an "educational" network, if by
education we mean expanding viewers' horizons and enlarging their view
the world. NHK's low emphasis on international news and high attention
domestic minutiae point to a mission of Japan-ifying its viewers
than pulling them out of their comfort zones.
NHK's failure to provide an alternative to the commercial networks takes
on added importance in view of the low cable penetration and
satellite dishes to NHK reception. Hong Kong's STAR-TV, available in
of Asia, is prohibited in Japan. With only 14.5 percent of its stories
international, NHK emerged as more insular than TBS (15.7 percent
Internationalization vs. domestic concentration
The extremely low percentage of international news on both networks,
combined with the ignoring of most of the world's regions, speaks to the
failure of kokusaika ("interna-tionalization"). The personnel and
exists to cover the world; the will to do so does not.
For example, the U.S.-based Japanese press corps, largest from any country
in the world (Germany runs a close second), operates out of 110 bureaus.
The corps includes 52 media outlets having bureaus or representation
York, 25 in Washington, D.C., 29 in Los Angeles and four in Chicago.
Bureau size ranges from Fuji TV's 16 correspondents (not including
staff) in New York to many one-person operations, such as Focus
New York and the Yomiuri Shimbun in Chicago (USIA 1993). At an average of
three correspondents/ bureau, Japan has more than 300 persons covering
United States. Yet despite technical capabililties, kokusaika
("internationalization") remains largely a myth in terms of news.
Domestic minutiae often swamp important overseas stories. The ya-gamo
("arrow duck") saga is a case in point. In a park in Tokyo, a reporter
spotted a duck that someone had shot with an arrow that pierced the duck
such a way that it missed vital organs and spared the duck's life; it was
even able to fly. As officials tried to capture the duck, the story
bigger and bigger, often leading the national news. On Feb. 12, 1993,
of the days randomly selected for this study, the duck was captured
arrow successfully extracted. TBS lead its national newscast with a
five-minute report of the incident, including models of the duck, x-rays
the arrow and two on-location reporters. Second to this story was that of
an attempted Lufthansa hijacking at JFK airport, running less than two
minutes (including interviews with Japanese passengers).
NHK had the yagamo as its sixth story on Feb. 12, giving it a generous
two minutes, 16 seconds. On Feb. 15, another randomly selected day,
devoted one minute, 34 seconds to video of a cat who injured its foot
it got caught in a trap--possibly as an echo of the injured duck
Feb. 15, no news from anywhere outside Japan appeared on TBS.
Miller (1994 p.100) explains TV's insularity in terms of the high level of
newspaper readership, which "means the broadcast networks leave
international reporting to the print media." But surely some of the
explanation lies in Japan's uniqueness and homogeneity, which television
can more easily speak to than change. Modern Japan "constitutes what
the world's most perfect nation-state: a clear-cut geographical unit
containing almost all the people of a distinctive culture and language
virtually no one else" (Reischauer l981, 8). However, Van Wolferen
350) speaks of the "myth of homogeneity." Women, the handicapped and
minorites do not feel themselves to be wholly a part of the ware ware
Ninhonjin ("we Japanese") happy family.
Role of women
The male-female anchor teams at NHK and TBS convey a false aura of
equality. In the world of televsion, woman's place remains in the studio,
not out reporting the news. This study found that NHK had only one
reported by a woman and TBS only four (one of them the arrow-duck
Although freed from commercial pressure to conform to the status quo,
showed less willingness to provide alternative role models than TBS.
networks still abide by the separate, unequal spheres for men and
t Japanese society ordains.
Hofstede (1984) explored cross-cultural differences in thinking and social
action by surveying 116,000 employees of a large multinational corporation
in 1968 and 1972. On his Masculinity Index, Japan ranked highest of the 40
countries studied, with a 95 score. By contrast, the United States scored
a middle-range 62, while Norway (8) and Sweden (5) scored lowest. In
masculinity cultures, women and men occupy different places; few women
professional and technical jobs, and they tend to be segregated from men
in higher education (Hofstede 1984, p. 177).
Clearly Japanese women have disagreed with the maxim that women's place is
in the home by joining the work force. In 1988, 45 percent of Japanese
women of all ages were in the work force, with a majority of younger
holding jobs. However, they earned half of what men did (for U.S.
the figure was 70 percent). High earning power, lifelong employment
virtually all politcal powers still belong to men. However, women are
changing the status quo in their own way by refusing to bear children,
though the pill is illegal in Japan (fertility now stands below
replacement levels at l.7 children per female).
Other indices of change abound. Shortly after this study's time period,
on July 18, 1993, the Liberal Democratic Party lost the majority in
Diet that it had held for 40 years. In 1994, the government changed again.
Then on Jan. 17, 1995, more than 5,000 people died when a 7.2-level
earthquake hit Kobe; the government rescue response was criticized for its
inadequacy and slowness. On March 20, sarin nerve gas planted in the
subway system killed 10 and sent thousands to the hospital. Public tr
ansport symbolizes the efficiency and safety of Japan; even primary school
students use it every day to commute.
The political, social and economic bases upon which Japan's comfort,
wellbeing and stability have rested since the end of the war have been
shaken. The insular and masculine society that television presents seems
bound to change as well.
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