Framing in Political Activities in Japan

by Yukari Deguchi

Framing is useful to organize social movement and mainly citizen usually use it. But I think its features fit into political acts, especially general election in Japan, whose official announcement will be made on Dec. 4, 2012.

Remarkable tendency can be seen on new minor parties which are called “Daisannkyoku (第三極)” such as “Stand up, Japan”, “Japan Restoration Party”, “People’s Life First”, and “Japan Tax Cut Party Aimed to Achieve Anti TTP and Abandon Nuclear Power Generation” (It’s hard for me to translate its formal name into English). These new parties were formed by former Democrats who feel antipathy to their party’s policy. They left the party and formed new parties one after another as they want to do.

Most of these parties argue similar idea of antinuclear. Therefore, to win the election, they are considering making union or coalescing parties which have similar idea about nuclear policy. I think this situation is because framing system is working well. They are lively exchanging views and accelerate political actives. This is good aspects of framing.

These parties seem to be simply antinuclear. But if you read their policies, you can find that there are differences between each party’s ways to approach to achieve their nuclear policy. Some of them claim Datsu Genpatsu (脱原発), means breaking with nuclear power plants, while others claim Sotsu Genpatsu (卒原発), means fade out the presence of nuclear power plants and lower the dependence of nuclear, and switch to alternative energy like solar power and wind power. In addition, there are parties who claim Shuku Genpatsu (縮原発), means breaking dependence on nuclear power in the medium- and long-term.

At the moment, despite of these differences, they cooperate with each other and exchange views because it is more advantageous to such new small parties to secure more seats through the election. But when the election is over, what do they do? I think they will quarrel about which approach is correct. If they do so, all of them can’t achieve antinuclear. What was worse, there is more serious problem―many of voters can’t understand the differences between Datsu Genpatsy, Sotsu Genpatsu, and Shuku Genpatsu. These are confusing for the voters. Under the rule of thumbs concept, they can work well. But without managing and coming together their ideas, it may lead to all sorts of trouble later. It is chaotic, so they can’t get voters’ cooperation and build a feeling of distance to voters. These situations are bad aspect of framing.

If they really want to achieve antinuclear, they have to manage their idea, and explain it clearly and simply to make voters understand. If they want to win the election rather than achieving antinuclear, this can be abuse of framing.

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