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Responsible for the doctoral project: Ayaka Löschke, M.A.
Funded by: Humer Foudation for Academic Talent (January 2013‒December 2015), Swiss National Science Fond (January 2016‒August 2016), URPP Asian and Europe (since October 2016)
Project duration: since September 2013
Doctoral committee: Prof. Dr. David Chiavacci (UZH); Prof. Dr. Verena Blechinger-Talcott (Freie Universität Berlin); Prof. Dr. Benedikt Korf (UZH)
Research Field: Norms and Social Order(s)
The research project examines changes in the advocacy of Japanese civil society following the nuclear disaster of Fukushima from a social scientific point of view. In general, Japanese civil society has been characterized by its sidelined and state-guided position facing a severe shortage of "advocacy" (i.e. the attempt to influence public policy). As a suitable case study, the research selected mothers who became active politically after Fukushima, more specifically, two groups of mothers: (1) a national network of mothers against radiation, (2) mothers who moved from irradiated areas with their children without sufficient compensation (so-called voluntary evacuees). Both groups of mothers have cooperated sometimes and have done intensive lobbying towards politicians and officials not only at the local level but also at the national level. While the first group of mothers was involved in lobbying for the legislation to support voluntary evacuees and the implementation of the Nuclear Disaster Victims' Support Law until 2014, the second group of mothers, victims themselves, took the leadership in the movement against radiation, instead of their third-party supporters including the first group of mothers, from March 2015 onwards. The project is addressed to four research contexts, namely: 1) the research on the post-Fukushima society in Japan; 2) changes in the advocacy of Japanese civil society; 3) Japanese mothers' activism; and 4) victims' movements (tōjisha undo in Japanese) in Japan, insofar as the research investigates the activities of the mothers after Fukushima not only in the research context of Japanese civil society, but also from the perspective of Gender Studies, and in the context of research on victim-centered social movements in Japan. Thus, the research not only asks how the advocacy of Japanese civil society has changed after Fukushima, but also how the concept of "motherhood", which the national mothers' network has emphasized in the movement against radiation, has shaped mothers' advocacy activities over the course of five years. Moreover, the research analyzes the voluntary evacuees' movement from March 2015 onwards as a victims' movement and elucidates why their advocacy has been unsuccessful.