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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 22 - 28  > NHK’s unreserved praise for PM Abe is abnormal
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2017 February 22 - 28 [POLITICS]

NHK’s unreserved praise for PM Abe is abnormal

February 23, 2017
The Abe-Trump meeting in February paved the way for Japan’s continued subordination to the United States in terms of both security and economy. Nevertheless, Japan’s media, especially the public broadcaster NHK, touted the summit as a “great success”.

In an NHK news commentary program on February 11, a commentator stressed that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo succeeded in drawing a “completely satisfactory response” from President Donald Trump on the security front. Another commentator said, “It was good that they agreed to create a framework for economic dialogue between the two countries,” praising the agreement which will lead to making Japan’s economy even more subordinate to the economic interests of the U.S.

The following day, the NHK midday news program reported in detail that Abe and Trump spent a lot of time enjoying playing golf at the country club in the vicinity of Trump’s villa in Florida. Soon after North Korea launched a ballistic missile on the same day, NHK suddenly delayed broadcasting a weekly amateur singing contest in order to televise the two leaders’ joint press conference live.

On his return to Japan on February 13, PM Abe appeared in news shows aired by BS Fuji and NHK. NHK’s one-hour program, “News Watch 9”, provided the prime minister with more than 30 minutes of airtime to talk about the “excellent results” he had achieved during the top-level meeting. The newscaster commented that NHK’s opinion poll conducted just after the summit conference shows that the Abe Cabinet’s approval rating has risen to 58%, up three percentage points from the previous month.

The anchorman also noted that the joint statement that was issued following the summit confirmed that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty covers the Senkaku Islands which are claimed by both Japan and China. Meanwhile, he did not refer to the fact that the statement claims that the “relocation” of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station within Okinawa is the “only solution”. The news show did not even ask PM Abe for his view on President Trump’s controversial executive order blocking people from seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States.

Iwasaki Sadaaki of the Media Research Institute pointed out that Japan’s media, including NHK, is totally obsessed with the idea of giving absolute priority to the Japan-U.S. alliance. “As a watchdog on authority, the media should provide the government with alternative perspectives regarding how to get along with its friends,” he said.

Past related article:
> Abe’s subservience to Trump stands out: Shii in statement on Japan-US Summit [February 12, 2017]
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