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SEJJIR: Volume 1, 2007





Shingetsu Electronic Journal of Japanese-Islamic Relations,
Volume 1, 2007
Research Papers

Editorializing 9/11: A News Discourse Analysis of the Asahi Shinbun, the New Straits Times, and the New York Times
By Tan Chee Kuan and Tan Ban Chong

Abstract: This study analyzes interpretations of 9/11 in the editorials of the Asahi Shinbun (Japan), the New Straits Times (Malaysia) and the New York Times (U.S.) for a two-month period from September 12 to November 12, 2001. News discourse analysis methods are applied to examine textual structures for topics or themes beyond sentences within the editorials. This study seeks to analyze the overall characterization of 9/11, the contextualization (causes) of the event, and the perceived consequences and recommended response by the newspapers. The findings suggest that the newspapers have limited news frames in their contextualization of 9/11, with the differences in their arguments reflecting their respective country’s national interests, and to a certain extent, the cultural values of their society. In the aftermath of 9/11, terrorism has become more of an imminent peril than a theoretical one for many people around the world. The news media may report on people being terrorized by a wide range of events, but it is the limited framing of such events in the news that runs the risk of stoking public fears.

Tan Chee Kuan is an editorial staff member at the Kuala Lumpur Bureau of the Nihon Keizai Shinbun.

Tan Ban Chong is a teaching assistant at the Department of Japanese Studies, National University of Singapore.

The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance and the Decision to Deploy the GSDF to Iraq
By Michael Penn

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine Tokyo’s decision to send elements of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces (GSDF) to the city of Samawa, al-Muthanna Province, Iraq. In particular, the focus here will be on the American factor; that is, to what degree and in what ways the U.S.-Japan security alliance conditioned Tokyo’s responses to this issue. The paper finds that the U.S.-Japan security alliance was indeed the main factor determining Tokyo’s choices in this period—particularly because it coincided with a crisis on the Korean peninsula. However, this study finds that the role of Prime Minister Koizumi, Tokyo’s desire for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, and the rising influence of Japanese neo-nationalists also played supporting roles in these decisions. Finally, the paper suggests that Japanese neo-nationalists are most likely to be the main political beneficiaries of the Koizumi Administration’s policies toward Iraq.

Michael Penn is the Executive Director of the Shingetsu Institute for the Study of Japanese-Islamic Relations.

Diversity as Advantage in a "Homogeneous" Society: The Educational Environment for Muslims in Japan
By Hideki Maruyama

Abstract: Japan is one of the most homogeneous major nations in the world and needs to take action against population decline in order to maintain its economic future. Education based on efficient teacher-centered approaches accelerated past economic development, but today's dynamic world requires more flexibility in coping with rapid changes. The number of children is decreasing in Japan; and meanwhile, the proportion of non-Japanese children is increasing. These children represent different cultures and bring the necessity for change in schools. However, school administrations and classroom teachers have not accumulated and shared enough experience to understand different cultures such as Islam. This article focuses on the educational environment for Muslims, and the potentials for endogenous development of the Japanese educational system. The author briefly summarizes the concepts of Islam and education, the Muslim experience of Islamophobia, and human resources development for both Muslim and non-Muslim students. He suggests that Muslim students can be key people in shaping the future of a more tolerant Japanese society.

Hideki Maruyama is at the National Institute for Educational Policy Research (NIER).

Source: Shingetsu Institute