nhkby Lucas W. Hixson / via / February 3, 2014 / It is well known that sometimes, we humans experience unintended consequences for conscious decisions we have made.  Some of these unintended consequences are so frequently encountered that they are named.

The Streisand Effect describes a situation where an attempt to suppress, censor, or remove information brings more attention to it.  It is named after Barbra Streisand, who unsuccessfully sued a photographer and a website in order to remove an aerial photograph of Streisand’s mansion from a collection of publicly available California coastline photographs.  Prior to the filing of the lawsuit, the photograph of Streisand’s house had only been viewed 4 times, as a result of the lawsuit, nearly half a million viewers looked at the photograph in the next month alone.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK has also apparently fallen into the Streisand Effect this week, and the story is going viral internationally.

Toru Nakakita, a professor of economics at Toyo University, has regularly appeared on an NHK morning radio broadcast called “Radio Asa Ichigan”, but cancelled his appearance this week after being asked by NHK to change the subject of the program from the cost of restarting nuclear reactors, the fact that the cost of decommissioning nuclear power plants is not adequately reflected on licensees’ balance sheets, and the risk of accidents at nuclear power plants to something else.

When Nakakita submitted his script to NHK the day before his broadcast, NHK officials ordered him, “Please do not take up this subject because it could affect voting behavior.”

The head of the NHK Radio Center would later contact him and tell him he could talk about the issue if he still wanted after the Tokyo election.

The story has been picked up by main stream media outlets in Japan and around the world.  In the last two days, articles have been printed in the Mainichi Daily News, Japan Times, Asahi Shimbun, New York Times, Russia Today, to name a few.

NHK had a problem with Nakakita saying “Economic growth can be achieved even with a zero-nuclear policy.”  This is interesting because on Friday, Prime Minister Abe told lawmakers in the Lower House committee that it is irresponsible for him to say that Japan will end using nuclear power because that would assume that it were possible.  This infers that Prime Minister Abe does not believe that it is possible.  Seeing as the President of NHK, Katsuto Momii, has already stated to the press that “We (NHK) cannot say left when the government says right,” it seems that the broadcaster could not allow the Professor of Economics to say that economic growth could be achieved with a zero-nuclear policy, because the Prime Minister does not believe it to be true.

All NHK wanted to do, was prevent the nuclear issue from becoming an even bigger part of the Tokyo elections, but their very actions made it not just a Tokyo issue, or a Japanese issue, but an international issue which may not easily go away.

If NHK does not want to lose credibility with its viewers both at home and abroad internationally, it should remember that the main job of the press is to educate the public, not to play a part of information management in order to produce a desired outcome at the expense of truth.

RELATED: Japan’s Public Broadcaster Faces Accusations of Shift to the Right


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By Broc West| 8 Comments | Editorials, Featured


  1. When are the people of Japan going to cancel their cultural programme and hold their government and Teoco responsible for this disgrace? It is a threat to our entire way of life ( and by we I mean every human being on the planet). The lies, the disinformation must stop. The incredible incompetence must be halted. There are elections coming up. Make them count. And don’t forget: even without the Fukushima disaster, Japan has nowhere to store the ever increasing mass of radioactive rubbish being generated. In fact, no nation on earth does. It is a 100,000 year legacy of death!

  2. The thing is though, it has ALWAYS been an international issue. Environmental pollution of most kinds does not only affect the country creating it because it knows no borders and stops wherever nature takes it. When it comes to nuclear, there really is no safe way to store the waste or isolate the sites either. Nations come and go, but the long lived fission isotopes remain. What was once a big, powerful, stable nation (like the USSR) can be broken up into smaller, poorer countries that cannot afford to deal with the legacy left behind (like Kazakhstan, Ukraine, etc.)

    It is a complex problem. While it can be argued that we should do away with nuclear and fossil fuels for the sake of the future, doing so would destroy billions of lives for those who live today. Our entire world is built upon relatively cheap energy. The world’s population can no longer be supported without it. It’s easy to say that we need to just get on with it and let the chips fall where they may, but it is very likely that those reading this will be part of the have nots of a renewable only future. If you stop using petroleum products then you also lose plastics and the ability to build many of the items our society relies upon. All of a sudden you will have a bifurcated society of a wealthy few who can afford the expensive replacement technologies and huge impoverished masses of everyone else, struggling and dying in a world devoid of our current infrastructure. What’s the solution? I wish I knew. The best solution I can see is for us to keep working on developing a renewable infrastructure for the future while gradually weaning off of what we have now over the next few generations. It’s the only politically tenable solution as anything else will lead to wars and revolutions.

    • You are wrong! It took me two months, and $25,000 to build a solar system to FULLY provide power for my parents farm, it IS feasible now, I built it myself, AND it is functioning flawlessly. You do not need to be a whizz kid to do it yourself. I believe every household should be built to be self-powered. Decommissioning nuclear reactors, and going green with renewable resources HAS to start NOW. Change isn’t going happen overnight, it’s going to take people that actually do make a change; to change the minds of others. Baby steps to a cleaner future, watcha got on your roof? Jim Hofoss

  3. We must flush the toilet and rid ourselves of greedy corporate leaders in all country`s and return power to the people not Govn`t officials who have made all the problems in the first place. Can this really happen.

    • I don’t think it can happen. The same evil bankers who run Japan and Africa run Europe and the USA so we keep praying for Jesus to return.

  4. It seems mostlgovernments try to control or OWN the public media channels to support agendas. Its a very obvious tactic in the USA. For example, many major news items are NEVER discussed such as Fukushima radiation, or the sudden black out of the Bengazi Terror attack, bad reports on the Obamacare fiasco, or the on going NSA data collection. Then there is the use of government office to stop or jail citizens who don’t ‘follow the party line” which seems to be the situation in Russia, North Korea, China and even in the USA. For one more example, USA has used the US IRS tax system to threaten private or business assets of perceived troublemakers. While still being investigated by US Congress, both the NSA and IRS activities put a chilling fear in to most people that they are being traced/tracked by their own government agencies–without any justification of wrong doing. Of the above, from big brother spying, to government ‘audits’ and business damaging actions, to forced and poorly implemented government programs, the control of information is the most dangerous to a free society. Crippling information dissemination to the public to push government agendas’ is dangerous for the free world.

  5. Everyone standing around with their hands in their pockets watching this disaster unfold for three years are as much to blame as TEPCO, the designers of the reactor, or the Japanese Government. It is a worldwide problem, and it merits a Worldwide response. Japan has no right to try to censor. International pooling of resources to build a manmade coastline that extends a kilometer around the sticken plants, then utilize radiocontrolled equipment for cleanup. Costly? Yup. Can you put a price on your childrens heads? Or all of humanity as we know it? This is not Japan’s problem, it is the Worlds. International aid NOW , to hell what Japan wants to do, it’s not their call. Death to the nuclear industry, Dismayed, Disgusted, Jim Hofoss

  6. Well I just can see that the broadcasting corp. are facing serious trouble. And I think they should work freely and we need to raise voice for them

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