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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 December 4 - 10  > Media uncritically reported former PM Nakasone’s death
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2019 December 4 - 10 [POLITICS]

Media uncritically reported former PM Nakasone’s death

December 8, 2019
Following the death of the former Prime Minister and key player in constitutional revision forces Nakasone Yasuhiro on November 29 at the age of 101, media reported that he had carried out reforms and raised Japan’s profile internationally.

NHK, for example, on December 1 aired a special program which praised Nakasone by illustrating that during his five years in office from 1982, the then prime minister promoted administrative reforms such as the privatization of the Japan National Railways, and improved the Japan-U.S. alliance. However, it did not touch on the negative legacies which are linked to the present-day society he left behind.

With the privatization of Japan National Railways, a large number of workers lost their jobs and many railway operations that were found to be “unprofitable” were closed down throughout the country. Nakasone’s relationship with then U.S. President Ronald Reagan installed a structure under which Japan’s subordination to the U.S. and its dependence on the bilateral military alliance continue to this day. Nakasone became the first prime minister after the war to pay an official visit to the war-glorifying Yasukuni Shrine.

On top of this, in 1985 when Nakasone was serving as the PM, under the name of using the private-sector vitality in public works projects, he promoted a large-scale development project by selling national land in Tokyo to corporations which made donations to Nakasone’s political fund management organization. Before the land deal, Nakasone called the Finance Ministry’s Financial Bureau chief to his office and told the chief to make full use of national land. The bureaucrat set up a private advisory body whose experts’ panel mainly consisted of persons close to Nakasone. This way of doing things is mirrored in many of the “Moritomo and Kake” favoritism scandals in which PM Abe allegedly abused his authority to grant financial favors to his acquaintances.

NHK and other media should take a balanced stance in order to properly assess and evaluate Nakasone’s legacy.

Past related articles:
> Suspicion of nepotism surrounding private university operated by Abe’s friend [May 21, 2017]
> 30 years after privatization of Japan National Railway, safety becomes secondary [April 11, 2017]
> Abe’s wife-associated school corporation gets national land at exceptionally low price [February 11, 2017]
> Ex-PM Nakasone admits lying about nuclear secret pact [April 1, 2010]
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