Failures in Leadership
How and Why Wishy-Washy Politicians Equivocate on Japanese Political Interviews
This paper examines how Japanese leading politicians deal with the communicative problems posed to them during broadcast political interviews. Based on data gathered during 14-month period in 2012–2013, the paper replicates and modifies the “Theory of Equivocation” to explore the extent to which national and local level politicians endeavor to affect the content of information distributed to the public and to influence the way people perceive events that take place in the public domain. Differentiating among selected groups of politicians, i.e., ruling and opposition parties’ members, Cabinet ministers and prime ministers, and local level politicians, the paper focuses on the ways Japanese politicians (and for comparison also nonpoliticians) equivocate during televised programs and the conditions underlying this equivocation, thereby also assesses the significance of these talk shows in the broader context of political communication in Japan.
Keywords: Political interviews, Television, Media discourse,
Theory of Equivocation
, Political issues, Japan
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