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The “Comfort Women” Issue and the Abe Administration

Fri, June 10, 14:00 to 15:15, Fukuoka Hilton, Rigel


This paper argues that the current controversies over the “comfort women” issue in Japan were led and framed by conservative Japanese media. It analyzes the number and the contents of the articles that included the term “comfort women” to show both the long- and short-term tendency of the newspaper coverage of the issue in Japan. In Japan, it has long been assumed that the liberal Asahi Shimbun was the main agenda-setter and most influential media over the issue, and thus the paper has been blamed for its “false” coverage. However, the research shows that the Sankei Shimbun, the most conservative newspaper in Japan, published the largest number of articles on the issue since 2009. In other words, contrary to expectation, it was Sankei that exercised considerable influence on the issue within Japan. Meanwhile, the research also shows that outside Japan it was not so much the Japanese media as Japanese politicians who were quoted as main news sources by foreign media.