Post-Crisis Japanese Nuclear Policy: From Top-Down Directives to Bottom-Up Activism


Daniel P. Aldrich

AsiaPacific Issues, No. 103


Honolulu: East-West Center

Publication Date: January 2012
Binding: paper
Pages: 12
Free Download: PDF


Over the past fifty years, Japan has developed one of the most advanced commercial nuclear power programs in the world. This is largely due to the government's broad repertoire of policy instruments that have helped further its nuclear power goals. These top-down directives have resulted in the construction of 54 plants and at least the appearance of widespread support for nuclear power. By the 1990s, however, this carefully cultivated public support was beginning to break apart. And following the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 and resulting nuclear crisis in the Fukushima nuclear complex, the political and social landscape for energy in Japan has been dramatically altered. The crisis has raised and reinforced environmental concerns and health fears, as well as skepticism about information from government and corporate sources. A civil society that for decades has appeared weak and nonpartcipatory has awakened and citizens are carrying out bottom-up responses to the accident, effecting change with grassroots science and activism.


The views expressed in this publication are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Center.