By Dr. Nancy Snow, Social Science Research Council Abe Fellow & Visiting Professor at Keio University
Dr. Snow’s FCC talk on media and politics comes at a most precarious time in Japan’s global and regional relations. As reported in the Wall Street Journal (January 15, 2015) the Japanese government added “¥50 billion ($427 million) to its budget this year to promote global understanding of Japan, including its positions on wartime history and territorial disputes. Of the total, ¥4.3 billion is for communicating its message, including strengthening its ability to analyze and respond to global opinion. An additional ¥7.7 billion will go toward nurturing Japan-friendly academics by supporting Japan studies programs at universities and think tanks. The total allocation to public relations and cultural exchanges under the foreign ministry more than tripled from the previous year, while its overall budget grew by 2.9%.”
Dr. Snow applauds the increase in public relations and cultural exchanges as a much-needed priority, but so far the budget increase has led to some serious missteps, such as a failed outreach from the foreign ministry to U.S. publishers to change references to comfort women in an American textbook,and the government’s response to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper corrections about errors it made in reporting the comfort women issue, trying to discredit the newspaper as a whole because the liberal Asahi does not always toe the government line. If anything, the government’s hypersensitivity to Japan’s wartime history is hurting Japan’s image as a modern capitalist democracy. Unless and until Japan can reconcile its past with the present, these image campaign missteps will continue.
Japan needs to figure out how it is going to present its image in the world. Will it be a proactive, realistic image of a country coming to terms with its twentieth century past or will it maintain an on-the-defensive posture, driven by the need for corrections and apologies? Dr. Snow will talk about concrete steps she believes Japan needs to take to effectively promote Japan’s image and reputation to the world.
Dr. Nancy Snow
She is currently a Social Science Research Council Abe Fellow and Visiting Professor at Keio University. She is a former United States Information Agency official involved in marketing Brand America to the world, and she is a two-time recipient of prestigious Fulbright academic exchange program (Germany, Japan). She has published nine books in the area of U.S. foreign policy, media and politic, including her most recent edited volume, Propaganda and American Democracy (LSU Press). Snow has over twenty years of professional life in academia and government, including a full professorship in communications at California State University, Fullerton and adjunct professor positions in the international MBA program at GLOBIS University, the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy in Herzliya, Israel and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. Dr. Snow has also been a visiting professor at Tsinghua University in China, Syracuse University (Maxwell/Newhouse Schools) in New York, and UiTM in Malaysia. She holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from American University’s School of International Service and a B.A. in Political Science from Clemson University.