Fukushima fallout: Gauging the change in Japanese nuclear energy policy
- 1.6k Downloads
The Fukushima nuclear disaster is a special case: a major twin natural disaster (earthquake and tsunami) incited a large-scale technological disaster, which resulted in a serious nuclear accident. Because the various costs are so tremendous, this triple disaster has had a pervasive impact on all aspects of life in Japan. This article describes nuclear energy policy transformation in the aftermath of the Fukushim a disaster. The study draws on theoretical propositions of governance and disaster risk governance, and demonstrates that a vested interest perspective is important to understanding the results of Japan’s energy policy before Fukushima. Safety, democracy, and openness were the fundamental principles of Japan’s nuclear energy policy when the country decided to diversify its energy sources in the 1950s. But these basic premises were undermined by the vested interests that controlled policy administration and implementation as the nuclear energy industry developed. Analysis of Japan’s recent nuclear energy policy transformation covers such dimensions as policy targets, policy issues such as safety, the fuel cycle, waste disposal, administrative structure, public awareness, and national and local policy considerations. The study identifies process deficiencies in Japan’s post-Fukushima nuclear energy policy transformation and evaluates possible ways to eliminate defects through administrative reorganization and independent safety oversight.
KeywordsJapan nuclear energy policy nuclear safety vested interest structure
- Aoki, M., and G. Rothwell. 2011. Coordination under Large Uncertainty: An Analysis of the Fukushima Catastrophe. http://ssrn.com/abstract=1940207.
- Cabinet Secretariat. 2011. Recommendation from Advisory Committee for Prevention of Nuclear Accident. http://www.cas.go.jp/jp/genpatsujiko/info/teigen/recommendation.pdf.
- Colignon, R. A., and C. Usui. 2003. Amakudari. The Hidden Fabric of Japan’s Economy. New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- DeWit, A. 2011a. Fallout From the Fukushima Shock: Japan’s Emerging Energy Policy. The Asia-Pacific Journal 9(45): No. 5.Google Scholar
- —. 2011b. Japan’s Nuclear Village Wages War on Renewable Energy and the Feed-in Tariff. The Asia-Pacific Journal. 08 December 2011. http://www.japanfocus.org/events/view/119.
- DeWit, A., and M. Kaneko. 2011. Moving Out of the “Nuclear Village”. In Tsunami: Japan’s Post-Fukushima Future, edited by J. Kingston, 213–224. Washington, DC: Foreign Policy.Google Scholar
- Hall, P. A. 1986. Governing the Economy. The Politics of the State Intervention in Britain and France. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). 2012. IAEA Mission to Review NISA’s Approach to the “Comprehensive Assessments for the Safety of Existing Power Reactor Facilities” Preliminary Summary. http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/fukushima/pre_report310112.pdf.
- Ishibashi, K. 2007. Why Worry? Japan’s Nuclear Plants at Grave Risk from Quake Damage. The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. 11 August 2007. http://www.japanfocus.org/-Ishibashi-Katsuhiko/2495.
- JAEC (Japan Atomic Energy Commission). 2009. White Paper on Energy (Enerugii hakusho). http://www.aec.go.jp/jicst/NC/about/hakusho/hakusho2009/index.htm (in Japanese).
- Jaeger, C. 2010. Risk, Rationality, and Resilience. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 1(1): 10–16.Google Scholar
- JAIF (Japan Atomic Industrial Forum). 2012. Japanese Political Parties Begin Debate on New Nuclear Power Regulatory Organization in Lower House. http://www.jaif.or.jp/english/news_images/pdf/ENGNEWS01_1338802034P.pdf.
- Japan Energy Economics Institute. 2012. Japan Energy Brief No. 17, January 2012. http://eneken.ieej.or.jp/en/jeb/1201.pdf.
- The Japan Times. 2012a. Nuclear Watchdog Autonomy. 14 May 2012. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20120514a1.html.
- —. 2012b. Kansai Governors: Oi Reactors Restart is State’s Call. 31 May 2012. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120531a3.html.
- —. 2012c. Policy of Recycling All Spent Nuclear Fuel May Be Axed. 23 June 2012. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120623a3.html.
- Johnson, C. 1982. MITI and Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Jupesta, J., and A. Suwa. 2012. Sustainable Energy Policy in Japan Post Fukushima. IAEE Bulletin 2012(4th Quarter): 23–26. International Association for Energy Economics.Google Scholar
- Kanashima, H. 2012. Government Shows Plan for 15% Power Cut in Kansai. The Yomiuri Shimbun. 16 May 2012. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-290494921/govt-shows-plan-15.html.
- Kasperson, R. E. 2010. Science and Disaster Reduction. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 1(1): 3–9.Google Scholar
- Kiyonaga, Y., and Y. Saito. 2012. Noda Shows Unyielding Stance on N-Reactors. The Yomiuri Shimbun. 10 June 2012. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120609003006.htm.
- Kuhn, T. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Legewie, J. 2012. For Better or Worse, Japan Might Remain Nuclear-Free Forever. The Japan Times. 21 May 2012. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20120521ve.html.
- Lesbirel, H. S. 1990. Implementing Nuclear Energy Policy in Japan. Top-Down and Bottom-Up Perspectives. Energy Policy 1990 (April): 267–281.Google Scholar
- —. 1998. NIMBY Politics in Japan. Energy Siting and the Management of Environmental Conflict. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Matsuo, Y., Y. Nagatomi, and T. Murakami. 2011. Thermal and Nuclear Generations Cost Estimates Using Corporate Financial Statements. Japan Energy Economics Institute. http://eneken.ieej.or.jp/data/4103.pdf.
- METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry). 2008. Cool Earth-Innovative Energy Technology Program. March 2008. http://www.meti.go.jp/english/newtopics/data/pdf/031320CoolEarth.pdf.
- —. 2011. White Paper on Energy (Enerugii hakusho). http://www.enecho.meti.go.jp/topics/hakusho/2011/index.htm (in Japanese).
- —. 2012. Reform of Japan’s Nuclear Safety Regulation. http://www.cas.go.jp/jp/genpatsujiko/info/kokusaiws/siryo/reform_of_regulation.pdf.
- Minoura, K., and S. Nakaya. 1991. Traces of Tsunami Preserved in Inter-Tidal Lacustrine and Marsh Deposits: Some Examples from Northeast Japan. Journal of Geology 99(2). http://www.jstor.org/pss/30081120.
- Moe, E. 2007. Governance, Growth and Global Leadership: The Rise of the State in Technological Progress. Aldershot and Burlinton: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- —. 2012. Vested Interests, Energy Efficiency and Renewable in Japan. Energy Policy 40: 260–273. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03014215/40.Google Scholar
- Morita, Y. 2011. Japan’s Issues and Concerns on Energy Supply and Demand after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Report. Japan Institute of Energy Economics. http://www.pecj.or.jp/japanese/overseas/conference/pdf/conference08-07.pdf.
- Nagata, K. 2012. Further Restarts Hinge on New Watchdog. The Japan Times. 17 June 2012. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120617b4.html.
- The National Government Organization Law. Law No. 120. 1948. http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/constitution_and_government/the_national_goverment_low.html.
- National Policy Unit. 2011. Strategy for Rebirth of Japan. http://www.%20npu.go.jp/policy/pdf/20120127/20120127_en1.pdf.
- NISA (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency). 2011. Comprehensive Assessments for the Safety of Existing Power Reactor Facilities. http://www.nisa.meti.go.jp/english/press/2011/08/en20110831-2-1.pdf.
- Nuclear Safety Commission. 1955. Atomic Energy Basic Act. Act No. 186. http://www.nsc.go.jp/NSCenglish/documents/laws/1.pdf.
- Olson, M. 1982. The Rise and Decline of Nations. London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Onitsuka, H. 2012. Hooked on Nuclear Power: Japanese State-Local Relations and the Vicious Cycle of Nuclear Dependence. The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. http://www.japanfocus.org/-Hiroshi-Onitsuka/3676#.
- Pew Research Center. 2012. Disaster Weakened Nation. http://www.pewglobal.org/2012/06/05/japanese-wary-of-nuclear-energy/.
- Podvig, P. 2012. Japanese Mislead About Spent Fuel Reprocessing Costs. IPFM Blog. http://fissilematerials.org/blog/2012/01/japanese_mislead_about_sp.html.
- Prime Minister and His Cabinet. 2012. Press Conference by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, 8 June 2012. http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/noda/statement/201206/08kaiken_e.html.
- Samuels, R. J. 1987. The Business of Japanese State: Energy Markets in Comparative and Historical Perspectives. Ithaca: Cornel University Press.Google Scholar
- Schumpeter, J. A. 1983. The Theory of Economic Development. New Brunswick and London: Transaction Books.Google Scholar
- Shi, P. J., N. Li, Q. Ye, W. J. Dong, G. Y. Han, and W. H. Fang. 2010. Research on Integrated Disaster Risk Governance in the Context of Global Environmental Change. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 1(1): 17–23.Google Scholar
- Toki, M. 2012. Fukushima’s Impact on Japan’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Policy. James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. http://wmdjunction.com/120309_fukushima_japan_nuclear.htm.
- Yergin, D., and J. Stanislaw. 2002. The Commanding Heights. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney: Free Press.Google Scholar
- The Yomiuri Shimbun. 2011. Nuclear Crisis: How it Happened. “Nuclear Power Village” a Cozy, Closed Community. 16 June 2011. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110615005652.htm.
- Yoshioka, H. 1999. Technology versus Commercial Feasibility: Nuclear Power and Electric Utilities. In Science, Technology and Society in Contemporary Japan, edited by M. Low, S. Nakayama, and H. Yoshioka, 66–81. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- —. 2005. Forming a Nuclear Regime and Introducing Commercial Reactors, and Nuclear Power Research and the Scientists’ Role. In A Social History of Science and Technology in Contemporary Japan: Road to Self-Reliance, 1952–1959, edited by S. Nakayama, K. GotŌ, and H. Yoshioka, 80–143. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press.Google Scholar
- —. 2006. Future Plans for Nuclear Physics Research, The Rise of Nuclear Fusion Research, The Development and Utilization of Nuclear Reactors. In A Social History of Science and Technology in Contemporary Japan: High Economic Growth Period, 1960–1969, edited by S. Nakayama and H. Yoshioka, 189–273. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press.Google Scholar
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.