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JAMCO Online International Symposium

20th JAMCO Online International Symposium

March to August, 2012

The Great East Japan Earthquake: Japanese TV Coverage and Foreign Reception

Readers' Feedback(4)

Takemaru Nakase
Nihon University

The Great East Japan Earthquake caused tremendous damage to wide range of areas. Historical magnitude and enormous tsunami lead to complex set of disasters including the blocked traffic and transmission and the spread of radioactive particles from the nuclear power plant. In general, at an early stage of a major natural disaster TV stations tend to focus on broadcasting video clips or images that they managed to film or take, as it is almost impossible to grasp the big picture. The images of the enormous tsunami devouring cities and farms taken from robot cameras and helicopters were extremely shocking and they were broadcasted over and over.

These images were not only broadcasted in Japan but also in other countries to convey the appalling, destructive strength of the tsunami. However, even if broadcasters share the same images, they often deliver news in different ways. While the KBS correspondent Mr. Kim said that the Japanese TV reports were restrained, Mr. Sato of NHK said that “the calm behind the headlines” received recognition. On the other hand, the Taiwanese correspondent Mr. Hsuan mentioned how the calmness of the reports provided sense of security to the audience while it also seemed as if there were organizational conservativeness behind the screen.

In the global age where people, goods and information travel back and forth around the world, it is important for the Japanese media to send out information. The March 11th Earthquake forced them to do so, which in turn surfaced the nature of Japanese TV reports.

How media should have reported such massive natural disaster and the pros and cons of Japanese reporting methods are some of the issues that are worth verifying for the sake of all nations. In that sense, this online international symposium deserves attention.

Sending out information to the world will continue to be a major challenge. TV stations are not only broadcasting sensational images over and over but are also making verification programs in order to improve their reporting capabilities, save more lives and lessen damages. They are also making programs that provide opportunities to think about deep issues, for example accepting the death of someone close, standing back up from disasters and holding on to hope. I would like to expect more of these programs to be broadcasted abroad.

Takemaru Nakase

Nihon University

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