Democracy and Human Rights Program
“Influence Operations” are Threat to Democratic States [in Japanese]
DateJanuary 21, 2024
BibliographyYomiuri Shimbun
AuthorMaiko Ichihara
Summary On January 21, 2024, an article of Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law, "'Influence Operations' are Threat to Democratic States," was published in the Yomiuri Shimbun. In this article, Professor Ichihara explains that the term "influence operations" may seem irrelevant to daily life, but it is a serious threat. For example, she mentions how China has been trying to influence Japan by spreading disinformation about Japan through various methods, such as calling the treated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant "nuclear-contaminated water" and imposing a total embargo on Japanese seafood. She also points out that influence operations are also directed at elections, which are the foundation of democracy, and that Russia's intervention in the U.S. presidential election and China's intervention in Taiwan's presidential election are also carried out using disinformation. In response to the growing threat of influence operations, we must first understand the harmful effects of the attention economy, reduce the influence of disinformation through reliable traditional media, and ensure that the general public is aware of the need to protect democracy from being undermined and to protect democracy supported by true freedom. Professor Ichihara emphasizes that these measures are extremely effective in countering influence operations by authoritarian states.