Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, Intercultural Studies, Yamaguchi Prefectural University

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2011
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Associate Professor, International Studies, Yamaguchi University
American Public Diplomacy and News Framing of Okinawa

Prior to the reversion of Okinawa to Japan in 1972, the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (USCAR) periodically monitored Okinawa's newspapers and kept Washington apprised of their coverage. USCAR's monitoring of Japanese media can be considered to be a case of American public diplomacy. Gabe (2000) argued that USCAR reports had a major impact on the decision on the reversion of Okinawa---that it should be returned to Japan with the condition that the United States had extra-territorial rights to have military bases there. The researcher will examine the records of political communications between Okinawa and Washington in the U.S. National Archives II in College Park, MD, and other National Archives to determine the relationship between American public diplomacy and news framing as well as the historical consequences that have affected current diplomatic and security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. military presence on Okinawa has been a major concern of Japan's government. Although Japanese media frequently covered the issue, American media rarely covered it. Oshiro and Chang (2000) and Yoshimoto (2011) conducted content analyses of the New York Times on the U.S. bases in Okinawa and confirmed that the news coverage was asymmetrical. According to Entman (2003), elite officials---the news sources the press relies on to comment on government policies--- "frame" U.S. coverage of foreign news. Using Entman's framing theory, the researcher will examine press-government and bilateral foreign policy relationships in terms of how the news about U.S. military bases on Okinawa was framed in both U.S. and Japanese newspapers. . The role of the news media has been not only to report on events but also to create social meaning about events. Often, news is intentionally or unintentionally manufactured by propaganda generated by public officials and political elites. Yoshimoto and Stover (2000) found that news coverage of the Pacific War by U.S. and Japanese newspapers was information warfare. Although scholars in the traditional disciplines of international relations, history, and politics have studied the U.S. base issue, little research has been done on the role of media in the controversy. However, as Snow (2004) noted, a communication level of diplomacy, or public diplomacy, is becoming a more important part of global relations. The purpose of the study is to determine the relationship of public diplomacy to news framing as it relates to the U.S. military's presence in Okinawa. Framing analyses will be conducted on USCAR reports and news coverage in U.S. and Japanese newspapers. In addition, interviews will be conducted with former USCAR and military officials in San Jose, CA, and Washington, DC. The study will be conducted at two levels—the initial government policy formation level and the second press-government level in which policy is covered by elite news media. To ensure validity, the research will be conducted in three phases, using a triangulation of methods —analysis of primary documents and secondary source material such as research articles and news clippings, quantitative framing analyses of the documents and news content, and interviews.