Prof. Dr. Koichi Hasegawa, Tohoku University
October 23, 2014, 16:15–18:00
University of Zurich, Room KOL H-317, Rämistrasse 71, 8006 Zürich
The Fukushima nuclear accident raised important questions concerning Japan’s civil society: first, what was the role of civil society prior to the accident; second, what were civil society’s reactions to the accident; third, what impact has civil society had on Japan’s nuclear policies following the accident. Focusing on societal, organizational, and local community-level activities, this article explores these questions analyzing documents and news clippings pertinent to the accident, participant observations of protest activities, and a comparative analysis of Japan’s nuclear policies with Germany’s policy shift. The relative weakness of civil society provided the context for the accident. After the accident, however, energetic citizen protests became frequent. The structures around which protests and public demonstrations were organized changed substantially over time. Civil society has begun to influence public policy, and is fostering a deeper public discourse, while advancing policy proposals.