A symposium was held on June 23, 2018, entitled “What is Public Opinion
Survey Discussion on the Reliability of Public Opinion at a Crossroads” at
the Spring Research Presentation of the Japan Society for Studies in Journalism
and Mass Communication.
In public opinion polls, it is natural that reliability and validity are required
together with its immediacy. However, although the trial and error is being carried
out at each research institution about the methodology of such cellular
phone RDD （Random Digit Dialing） survey, researchers and practitioners of
related positions will meet together to discuss its reliability and validity. Therefore,
it is the purpose of this symposium to overview the present situation of
public opinion surveys, to discuss its reliability and consider its validity, and to
confirm the concept of “public opinion survey in the present age” at the same
Discussions were held at this symposium by three public opinion survey
practitioners and two researchers. The point of discussion is the current state
of public opinion survey in the mass media; in particular the basic concepts of
RDD fixed telephone survey and the problems of RDD phone survey to landlines
and mobile phones. The issues were then collated. In addition, there was a
report on conditions for the creation of alternative methods and investigation
methods conforming to the conditions for post-RDD fixed telephone surveys.
In response to these reports, important points were identified, stating that
it is necessary to clearly distinguish between surveys and polls and to handle
In 2016, media outlets began conducting dual-frame random digit dialing
（RDD） surveys that sample mobile phone numbers in addition to the traditional
targets with landline phone numbers. The resulting greater outreach to hitherto underrepresented youths and mobile-only users has improved the credibility
of polls. Still, new challenges have been identified with surveys targeting
mobile phone users. Examples include a predominant share of males among
respondents and the difficulty in ensuring validity of survey caused by inconsistency
with methods used for surveys that target only landline phone users.
Unfortunately, there are no promising alternatives for opinion polling in case
RDD surveys grow difficult. Worse still, failures in predicting election results
and mistrust of the media have dampened confidence in polls. Going forward,
pollsters must gain people’s trust regarding opinion polls by properly explaining
how they are supposed to be conducted.
This paper explores polling methods that provide alternatives to random
digit dialing （RDD） as today’s mainstream. While no readily available alternatives
are identified, potentially viable internet-based alternatives are being
developed. For instance, responses from sample members could be sought by
requesting them to access polling websites through their PCs or smartphones
as specified on letters sent to them by postal mail. Another idea is to use
mobile phones to call or send text （SMS） messages to intended targets to
request their responses via SMS. These potential alternatives still suffer from
an insufficient response rate. Such internet-based polling must be continued
until the response rate improves. Once the rate grows high enough, these alternative
polls can be conducted in place of RDD with confidence in the IT literacy
of general voters who can respond to opinion polls online.
Opinion polls are intended for capturing the voice of the silent majority.
They are nothing short of a painstaking hassle to collect the opinions of less
vocal or reticent people. In their opinion polls based on random digit dialing
（RDD）, they began targeting mobile phone numbers in addition to the traditional
targets with landline phone numbers. Such dual-frame RDD surveys that
target both types of numbers have gained sufficient responses so far. But many
challenges remain in ensuring their sustainability. Past the age of RDD, the
greatest challenge is adapting polls to ubiquitous smartphones.
The credibility of media-led opinion polls depends greatly on how precisely
they can predict election results. The recent politics of Japan has put us under
a new test in polling a likely national referendum on a constitutional amendment.
This paper describes the environment surrounding opinion polls in the following
three sections, each of which also presents the author’s opinions. They
are mainly based on the author’s presentation on June 23, 2018 at the symposium
titled What is Public Opinion Survey: Discussion on the Reliability of Public
Opinion at a Crossroads as a part of the symposium organized by the Japan
Society for Studies in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Section 1 Polling methods employed by the media
This Section outlines polling methods that are yet to be fully understood by
media representatives and academics.
Section 2 Discussion of web-based polling going forward
This Section comments on the calls for more effective use of the internet
in our ubiquitous society.
Section 3 Public sentiment on the reliability of polls
Through social networking services or other means, many voice doubts
about opinion polls conducted by the media. This Section presents the author’s
idea on the way the issue should be addressed.
Article 175 of Broadcasting Act （“the Act”） requires the submission of
materials by broadcasters, and the Order for Enforcement of Broadcasting Act
（“the Order”） sets out a list of materials to be submitted. But the Order
excludes the details of broadcast programs.
For that reason, the Order requires to submit an outline of deliberations of
the Broadcast Program Council, an internal council to discuss broadcast programs
（“the Council”）. The discussion in the Council relates to program contents
and the detailed minutes includes broadcast program material.
However, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications （“MIC”）,
the ministry in charge of the Act, issued a circular notice requiring the submission
of detailed minutes in addition to the outline of deliberations of the Council.
The circular notice goes beyond the mandate of the Order, which excludes the
details of broadcast programs from the list of the materials to be submitted.
While broadcasters comply with the circular notice and submit the minutes
to MIC, which might lead to MIC’s intervention in broadcast programs, they do
not disclose the minutes to their audiences. This is due to the broadcasters’ lack
of understanding of the fundamental purpose of the Act, as well as their lack of
awareness regarding the protection of their freedom of broadcasting.
This research focuses on the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation and
prosecution of unauthorized disclosures of government information to the
media. Based on a review of 21 cases, the research shows trends in the frequency
The investigations and prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice
（DOJ） and the Federal Bureau of Investigation （FBI） with regard to leaks
have gone through some transition. In the 20th century, only four cases were
prosecuted. However, the situation has completely changed in this century.
Under the Obama administration, there were eight charges against alleged
leakers between 2009 and 2013. On the other hand, no such charges were filed
from October 2013 to September 2016. Despite President Trump’s pledge for
more prosecutions, there have only been five cases since his inauguration. This
has occurred notwithstanding the frequency of leaks being about to “explode.”
Several factors contribute to this volatility. Among these factors are the
DOJ and FBI’s internal codes or norms with which the investigators and prosecutors
For example, between 2005 and 2006, the normal constraints were relaxed,
both in terms of investigative procedures with regard to the news media and
the scope of the interpretation of the substantive law, such as the Espionage
Act. As a result, the frequency of prosecutions increased between 2009 and
However, between 2013 and 2015, the constraints of investigations against
the press strengthened significantly under the direction of President Obama.
Therefore there was “downtime” between 2013 and 2016.
The DOJ serving under the Trump administration announced in 2017 that
it was reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas. The announcement can be
regarded as evidence of the fact that the change of the norms or internal codes
has played an important role in trends in the frequency of prosecutions.
This paper examines the Truth Box, a radio program broadcast under the
General Headquarters of the Allied Forces（ GHQ） in Occupied Japan. The Civil
Information and Education Section （CIE）, a special staff section of GHQ,
directed and produced the program, answering letters from listeners about
their questions on the Asia-Pacific War. The author’s main aim is to reveal how
the program conveyed the Emperor’s war responsibility, while establishing a
new relationship between the Emperor and the Japanese public. Drawing on an
analytic framework called Critical Discourse Studies, which allows us to explore
a media discourse within its sociohistorical contexts, the present study provides
some previously-unpublished scripts of the program and analyzes them with
reference to related historical primary sources. The author concludes that the
Truth Box, which premiered after the Humanity Declaration and continued to
air in parallel with the opening of the International Military Tribunal for the
Far East, clearly reflects the political intention of GHQ and the CIE to exempt
the Emperor from any culpability by orienting the Japanese public to reflect on
their own war guilt.
The question of why liberal discourse had changed into totalitarian and
nationalistic direction in the pre-war Showa era continues to be relevant. Much
research has been accumulated, but most of it is focused on “first-class newspapers,”
that is, the Asahi Shimbun or the Mainichi Shimbun, which established
the national paper model with their large circulations. References to “secondclass
newspapers” were rare, because they had been regarded as merely deteriorated
copies or imitations of “first-class newspapers.”
However, if “second-rate newspapers” could be defined as “prestigiouspapers who had fallen from grace,” its change in that period should suggest the
reason why media was forced to undergo a transformation for survival.
Osaka Jiji Shimpo was known as a Japanism-oriented newspaper in the prewar
Showa era, but was originally characterized by the neutral and moderate
tone of the Jiji Shimpo newspaper. The change in tone occurred in 1931, not
because of the Manchurian Incident, which broke out that year but rather with
the separation of management from the Jiji Shimpo newspaper. The Osaka Jiji
was denied supplies from Tokyo and was forced to renew itself to survive. Its
connection to the military was key and which led to the campaign to honor the
Santo Great Air Defense Day in 1931 and the campaign for the Meirinkai, one
of the military fascism movements launched in 1932. Its Japanism was maintained
and further developed by externally procured famous authors such as
Tadataka Ikezaki and Teiichi Muto.
The sharpening of Japanism, characterized by its criticism towards social
authority, succeeded in obtaining a certain amount of readership. However,
under the wartime restrictions on the freedom of the press, the authorities
gradually became disgruntled. From around 1940, the Osaka Jiji was frequently
banned. This signifies the change in the gaze of authority. Ultimately the Osaka
Jiji was suspended in 1942, during the process of newspaper integration.
Rankings are ubiquitous forms of media in our daily life. In particular, rankings
of search engine results are one of the most commonly encountered media.
However, most users are not aware of how web pages are ranked by search
engines and even the fact that search engine results are ranked. This means
search engines are “black-boxes” and rankings as a form of media are
“obscured”. The purpose of this study is to clarify how this black-box and
obscured media environment has been constructed by chronologically analyzing
major personal computer magazines in the United States during the Web1.0
era. This is a historical analysis of discourses regarding search engine rankings
and the World Wide Web in general.
As a result, this study clarifies the following three conclusions. First, the
World Wide Web was originally considered a plaything, like “web-surfing,”
before becoming a tool for searching information. Secondly, tools for searching
webpages changed from semantic directories to computational rankings. Lastly,
discourse explaining computational technology gradually disappeared as a result
of a change in the search engine environment from over-competition to monopolization.
Through this historical process, search engine rankings as media became
“black-boxes” and implicit trust in the rankings were constructed. Consequently,
users came to unconsciously consider only the top-ranked contents and rankings
as a form became obscured. This result suggests that the implicit trust in
these black-box platforms can potentially amplify “trolling” or “fake news.” The
study contributes to understanding how digital platforms affect daily communications,
applying a media studies perspective.
The purpose of this paper is to reveal the transformation of the media
landscape in Middle Eastern countries since the beginning of the Arab Spring
began. Although a series of protests started as requirements for better governance,
political freedom, and qualified life, its outcomes seem to have been far
from successful. To date （excluding Tunisia）, there have been no countries
experiencing substantial democratic progress. Therefore, contrary to the initial
optimistic views on the uprisings that emphasized people’s power and the effectiveness
of social movement regarding authoritarian governments, recent studies
tend to take a more severe viewpoint of the incidents. Although many
observers regard the Arab Spring as momentous historically for showing the
power of media freedom enabled by the development of media technologies,
most studies have never focused on the whereabouts of media freedom in Middle
Eastern countries after these uprisings. For a better understanding of the
relationship between media and the Arab Spring, this study considers the Arab
Spring’s impact on media situations, as well as the media freedom situation in the Middle East since the beginning of the uprisings. As this paper shows,
except for Tunisia, media freedom in Middle East has not improved; rather, a
deterioration can be observed. Though the Arab Spring remains in people’s
minds as showing the power of media, the mid-to-long term trend may show
that the incident was just an opportunity for Arab authoritarian governments
to upgrade their adaptability to the new media environments.
This paper clarifies the relationship between solidarity activities by journalist
networks in Japan and the possibility of supporting socially vulnerable people.
The Japanese mainstream media, which is vast and bureaucratized, only
examines superficial aspects of the lives of socially vulnerable people, such as
poverty and violence. In recent years, however, the existence of a journalist
network which goes beyond the framework of companies and individuals has
been confirmed by the complexity of social structure and the increasing sophistication
of information. The organizational form of network is diverse and
includes NPOs, NGOs, and voluntary organizations, which work to solve the
same social problems.
This article focuses on the relationship between the activity of the Baratoge
study group, an association of female journalists consisting of more than
600 female journalists from Japanese TV stations and newspaper companies,
and the relationship between this association and legislation.
So far, the dominant discourse has been about “terrible mothers who abandon
their babies after giving birth” based on “motherhood” thinking. However,
the network declared a new agenda of helping “suffering pregnant women and
children who should be helped together.” Furthermore, they delivered a message
to policy makers through repeated coverage. In this study, I used discourse
and agenda setting analysis to track the process. This showed the possibility that women’s solidarity together with empathy could mobilize politics and
society, thereby supporting vulnerable people.
This report analyzes the flyers of the 11th Army spread in the inland areas
of China during the second Sino-Japanese War, as a case study on propaganda
It is possible to classify 314 different flyers made and spread by the 11th
Army from the Fall of Wuhan and the breakout of the Pacific War into three
categories: the article flyer, the picture flyer and the newspaper flyer. Furthermore,
according to the forms and the contents of these flyers, the development
of the flyers can generally be divided into three periods: the first period when
the flyers focused on callings with persuasive contents; the second period when
visual elements in the flyers improved; and the third period when the information
contained in the flyers was emphasized.
Through this investigation, this report aims to clarify the propaganda strategies
and tactics used in Japanese army propaganda during wartime.
Many scholars have pointed out that in Meiji and Taisho period Japan,
event culture and the media industry （particularly newspaper companies）
came to be deeply involved with each other. However, what was the process
through which such media events came into existence? In this paper I focus on
a geisha popularity contest called “Tokyo-Hyaku-Bijin” （literally, “One Hundred
Beauties in Tokyo”）, which was held in Asakusa in July 1891, and examine thekind of media-related event it became. I found that, first, the event’s reality was
constructed both on the pages of newspapers and in the world outside of them
due to their sharing of a variety of information about it. Second, the event was
a forerunner of the modern celebrity system in its use of photographs that
made it possible for many unspecified people to consume images of these geisha.
Namely, in “One Hundred Beauties” we find an experience involving two
forms of media. Furthermore，this event was also the beginning of the media
event cycle in which newspaper media outlets would report on and advertise
events they had planned themselves.