Critical Communication History| Risk Assessment of Nuclear Power by Japanese Newspapers Following the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

Yasuhito Abe


This article examines how the editorial sections of three Japanese national newspapers The Asahi, The Yomiuri, and The Nihon Keizai discussed Japan’s nuclear safety following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. This article starts by describing the relationship between Japanese newspapers and Japan’s nuclear policy before the major disaster, which allows for analyses of the editorials. Three key findings emerged. First, the newspapers sought to enhance nuclear safety, but did not critically discuss any possibilities related to giving up nuclear power. Second, The Asahi and The Nihon Keizai used historically loaded symbols in their risk assessment. Third, The Yomiuri and The Nihon Keizai dismissed public concerns about nuclear risk, while The Asahi promoted dialogue between concerned citizens and policymakers following the disaster.


Chernobyl, history, newspapers, Japan, editorials

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