The focus of this article is on equivocation in Japanese televised interviews, broadcast over a 14-month period in 2012-2013 (before and after the general election of December 16, 2012). An analysis was conducted of responses to questions by three different groups (national politicians, local politicians, and nonpoliticians). Results showed a striking level of equivocation by both national and local politicians, who together equivocated significantly more than nonpoliticians. Furthermore, national-level Diet members equivocated significantly more than local politicians, and both coalition groupings when in power were significantly more likely to equivocate than when in opposition. The results were interpreted in terms of the situational theory of communicative conflict and also in terms of cultural norms characteristic of Japanese politics and society. The failure to consider the role of such norms, it is proposed, represents an important omission in the original theory of equivocation.
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