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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 August 28 - September 3  > SDF makes use of TV shows to improve its public image
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2013 August 28 - September 3 [SDF]

SDF makes use of TV shows to improve its public image

August 29, 2013
The Japanese Self-Defense Forces have frequently appeared on TV programs these days, publicizing themselves as being more open and lively.

A 2-part program on the Fuji TV Network in August aired footage of training exercises for female personnel, SDF-maintained government aircraft, how high the quality of Ground SDF armored tanks is, and the inside of a Maritime SDF submarine, often by using an exaggerated voice-over narration.

The program introduced a female officer who came from a northeastern countryside area. She joined the GSDF to become a disaster rescuer. In the footage of training exercises, however, she was crawling on the ground with a rifle over her shoulder. Her superiors were shouting abuse at her. She got bruises over her entire body but never gave up.

In doing so, a girl who will be willing to kill someone is created, said Kato Hisaharu, a researcher at the Media Research, Inc.

The program favorably described the military training, unreservedly applauding the SDF. The personalities in the studio were pumping up the excited mood of the show by saying, “Amazing! Cool!” Invited into the studio, an SDF officer answered questions from them but of course no one asked about the inconsistency between the SDF and the Constitution declaring non-possession of war potential.

An entertainment show on NHK in June broadcast the enjoyment of an SDF lunch. NTV made a 46-minute show in June in which comedians were seen enjoying a GSDF training camp. TBS aired an 11-serial drama set in the public relations department for the Air SDF. Another TBS news show reported on a GSDF high school, making a pitch that if you enter this school, which has a 100% placement rate, you will receive an allowance as well. Television Tokyo broadcasts an advertising spot for recruiting SDF personnel.

Media researcher Kato said that all these programs had no acknowledgement that the SDF are actually unauthorized troops under the Constitution, and that all they intended to accomplish was to improve the SDF image.

In the 60s and 70s, the researcher said, SDF image-enhancement programs were popular, but they had to go off the air completely or partially because they met fierce opposition and criticism from the general public and workers’ unions.

The present government led by Abe Shinzo is eager to transform the SDF into an authorized military force and allow it to exercise the right to collective self-defense. Repeatedly praising the SDF, TV shows now portray the SDF as easy and lively. However, Kato said, one day they will have to acknowledge links to the military’s dangerous moves. It is essential to lodge a protest against the programs propagating the SDF and to watch TV shows with a critical eye.

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