Newspaper reports and the Cabinet approval ratings during the Recruit Scandal : By the examples of Asahi Shimbun and Yomiuri Shimbun
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Because of its great impact on the Japanese politics, the Recruit Scandal was regarded as the biggest political scandal after 1945. In addition to the arrest of numerous politicians and businessmen, the then Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita even resigned from the position to take the responsibility when the cabinet approval rating declined to the lowest level in history. At the same time, as an example of the ‘investigative journalism’, the Asahi Shimbun and other major Japanese newspapers reported actively throughout the investigation of the scandal. Thus, this study surveyed how the newspaper reports influenced on the cabinet approval ratings in the Recruit Scandal, or the newspapers’ function on the public opinion in this period. For this research purpose, the article first analyzed the details of the reports on the scandal from Asahi Shimbun and Yomiuri Shimbun, and put up with the hypothesis that the relation between the reports and the cabinet approval ratings was close. Then in the following part, by comparing the reports and the opinion polls with the way of quantitative analysis, the article proved the negative coefficient between the newspaper reports and the Takeshita Cabinet approval ratings. In conclusion, by plenty of reports on the Recruit Scandal, especially on the related politicians, the newspapers played the priming function on the public negative image toward the cabinet, which led to the breakdown of the cabinet eventually.
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