Japan: Media Bias in Potato Field Eviction?

Images appearing on Japanese TV on October 16th of government forces evicting crying nursery school children from potato fields in Osaka, part of plans to extend a highway (the Second Keihan Highway) between Kyoto and Osaka, has sparked many on the Japanese net to respond with accusations of media bias. Kitasumoto Nursery [ja] in Kadoma, who once owned the fields but had them forcefully expropriated by the Osaka prefecture government, had plans for the end of October to dig up potatoes that had been planted in May of this year [ja]. The face-to-face confrontation that ensued, with nursery teachers and children on one side and government forces sent in to evacuate the area on the other, had all the elements of a made-for-TV drama. Osaka Governor Tōru Hashimoto has claimed that the children's tears were used as a ploy in the confrontation.

Blogger rollcabbage agrees with Governor Hashimoto's move:


There are of course differences of opinion regarding the construction of the Second Keihan Highway,
but even if you are going to protest about it, there are better ways to do it.


Governer Hashimoto sometimes does things that make me think, “Huh?”,
but in this case I support him 100%.
Looking around the net, it seems that there are many people voicing support for him there as well.

At tantei-tiu, another blogger makes a similar observation [ja]:


I saw this news first on TV, and thought to myself, wow, [Governor] Hashimoto is doing terrible things.


But looking around, that doesn't really seem to be the case.
Seems like it's the nursery school that's in the wrong…
that's what I'm starting to think.


Or I should say, it's in the way [this story] has been covered that there are problems.

At Smoky Quartz Forest, one blogger remarks [ja]:


When it was broadcast in the news, it was made to look as if the eviction demand by the Osaka prefectural government was unreasonable, and [the question of] “why have they demanded that they be evicted?” only received minor attention.
The way the story is being portrayed, one has to imagine that the mass media and the owners are using the power of the media to pigeonhole the Osaka prefectural government and governor Hashimoto.


The question that came to my mind when watching this news was, why were they planting produce in land that they knew would have to be vacated?
Normally, you would avoid a place like that, if it were me I would look for another plot of land to rent.
In the end, I can only see this as some kind of systematic strategy to destroy the administration, and so I have no interest in defending the nursery school.

Blogger hitonochikara questions the story [ja] of “authority trampling over children's spirits” as presented in news reports:


Is this really true? The prefectural government says that it began its acquisition of the site back in 2003. Is a result that the prefectural government and the nursery school [worked out] over 5 years something that should make children cry? At the very least, the nursery school could have foreseen that this would happen during the period that it was planting vegetables. Why did they plant potatoes in those fields? Even if we suppose that they could not have predicted what would happen, what in the world was the nursery school doing in the ten days after they were notified about the eviction?

In a popular post on the topic, blogger KoshianX analyzes an article on the topic published in Sankei [ja] and makes a similar observation:


I found this article horrible in so many ways. The reason I felt this way is that the story that is written here, about the Osaka prefectural government as making innocent children cry, is just too one-sided; if you take it as it is written, you just have to think, “Governer Hashimoto is horrible!”, but if you dig deeper, you come out [thinking], “This nursery school seems just like a suspicious political organization.”

Comments on 2-Channel expressed similar sentiments. In an early comment, one person writes:

3 名前: 韓国外相(東京都) :2008/10/16(木) 11:51:25.36 ID:XFrZVa+b

Looking at the bratty kids in the video, I thought the government made the right decision.

Others questioned the moves by the daycare:

10 名前: 四柱推命鑑定士(神奈川県) :2008/10/16(木) 11:52:59.00 ID:uJD1SyPq

What are they doing in the first place planting fields in a place where there will be such confusion going on?

13 名前: 嫌煙派(福岡県) :2008/10/16(木) 11:53:45.84 ID:Gg+lDFTH

Seriously, why didn't they dig up the potatoes two weeks ahead of schedule?
They were notified about [what was going to happen] a while ago.

Finally, one commenter makes a suggestion:

14 名前: 9条教徒(鹿児島県) :2008/10/16(木) 11:53:57.68 ID:F9qMgyq7

Couldn't they have just bought some potatoes, planted them in a different field and had the children dig those up?

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.