Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Fukushima Catastrophe: The Challenge of Complexity (Collective Reflexivity, Adaptive Knowledge, Political Innovation)

  • Alain-Marc RieuEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27737-5_621-1

Fukushima: A Systemic Event, a “Black Swan”

More than 3 years after the catastrophe, the initial shock is integrated in our daily lives, memories, and practices. Nothing is forgotten, but a collective and adaptive learning process is at work. From the beginning, the experience of this event opened an intense collective inquiry and learning process. This wave keeps growing. As an event, Fukushima is constantly evolving, reshaping our bodies, minds, and societies, even when we behave as if nothing had happened. In this collective learning process, the time has come to debate Fukushima’s historical meaning. This disaster cannot be reduced to an unpredictable earthquake and tsunami. Because of the size of the disaster, it is impossible to take the full measure of the event. The world has changed. Fukushima is the name of a turning point in world history: relations between technology, politics, industry, society, and ecology are forever transformed. Its long-term impact is unpredictable and...


Complexity Catastrophe Reflexivity Risk Epistemic disruption Political innovation 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Arimoto T (2006) Innovation policy for Japan in a new era. In: Whittaker H, Cole R (eds) Recovering from success: innovation and technology management in Japan. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 237–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arimoto T (2011) Japan’s new science and innovation policy in a changing world. In: Conference of Japan Science and Technology Agency, Washington, DC. 12 Jan 2011Google Scholar
  3. Beck U (1986) Risikogesellschaft. Suhrkamp, FrancfortGoogle Scholar
  4. Beck U, Giddens A, Lash S (1994) Reflexive modernization. Politics, tradition and aesthetics in the modern social order. Stanford University Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  5. Callon M, Lascoumes P, Barthe Y (2001) Agir dans un monde incertain. Essai sur la démocratie technique. Seuil/MIT Press, Paris/CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  6. Crowell T (2011) The roots of Fukushima. Asia Sentinel, 24 MarchGoogle Scholar
  7. DeWit A (2012a) Japan: building a Galapagos of power? The Asia-Pacific Journal 10(47):3ADSGoogle Scholar
  8. DeWit A (2012b) Distributed power and incentives in post-Fukushima Japan. The Asia-Pacific Journal 10(49):2ADSGoogle Scholar
  9. DeWit A, Iida T (2011) The ‘power elite’ and environmental-energy policy in Japan. The Asia-Pacific Journal 9(4):4Google Scholar
  10. Foucault M (1976) La volonté de savoir. Gallimard, ParisGoogle Scholar
  11. Foucault M (2004) Naissance de la biopolitique. Gallimard, ParisGoogle Scholar
  12. Fukuyama F (1995) Trust. The social virtues and the creation of prosperity. Simon & Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Godard O, Henry C, Lagadec P, Michel-Kerjan E (2002) Traité des nouveaux risques. Gallimard “Folio”, ParisGoogle Scholar
  14. Heidegger M (1977) The question of technology (1950). In: The question of technology and other essays (trans: W. Lovitt). Harper and Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Hindmarsh R (2013) Nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Iida T (2012) What is required for a new society and politics: the potential of Japanese civil society. The Asia-Pacific Journal 10(46):1Google Scholar
  17. Johnson C (1995) Japan: who governs? Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Kamisato T (2012) How to formulate a strategy for energy supply. Nippon.com, Sept 11Google Scholar
  19. Kingston J (2012a) Japan nuclear village. The Asia-Pacific Journal 10(37):1Google Scholar
  20. Kingston J (2012b) Power politics: Japan’s resilient nuclear village. The Asia-Pacific Journal 10(43):1Google Scholar
  21. Kobayashi T (2012) The reality of Japan’s National Debate: Citizen participation and the nuclear energy issue. Asteion (Hankyu-Communications) 77:192–208Google Scholar
  22. Koide H (2011) The truth about nuclear power: Japanese nuclear engineer calls for abolition. The Asia-Pacific Journal 9(31):5Google Scholar
  23. Lacan J (1966) Le séminaire sur la lettre volée (1956) In: Ecrits, Le seuil, Paris, pp 11–61Google Scholar
  24. Nishioka N (2011) Toward a peaceful society without nuclear energy: understanding the power structures behind the 3.11 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The Asia-Pacific Journal 9(52):2Google Scholar
  25. Official report of the Fukushima nuclear accident independent investigation commission (2012) The National Diet of Japan. http://naiic.go.jp/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/NAIIC_report_lo_res.pdf
  26. Rawls J (1972) A theory of justice. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. Rawls J (1993) Political liberalism. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Rieu A-M (1996) Japan as a techno-scientific society: the new role of research & development. National Institute for Research Advancement Review, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  29. Rieu A-M (2005) What is knowledge society?, STS Nexus, Santa Clara University, Center for Science, Technology and Society, San Jose, Sept. http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00552293/fr/
  30. Rieu A-M (2011) Beyond neo-liberalism: research policies and society. The case of Japan. Copenhagen J Asian Stud 29(2):58–78Google Scholar
  31. Rieu A-M (2012) Penser après Fukushima. Technologie souveraine et contrôle démocratique, Tokyo, revue Ebisu no 47, Spring-Summer 2012, pp 69–78. http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00701743
  32. Rieu A-M (2013) Japanese translation Sonoyama Chiaki. Akashi Shoten, Tokyo, AvrilGoogle Scholar
  33. Sakaiya T (1985) The knowledge-value revolution or the history of the future. PHP kenkyujo, Kyoto. English translation (1991) Kodansha International TokyoGoogle Scholar
  34. Samuels R (2013) Disaster and change in Japan. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  35. ScienceWise (2011) International comparison of public dialogue. http://www.sciencewise-erc.org.uk/cms/sciencewise-erc-resource-library/>
  36. Shiokura Y (2011) Asahi Shimbun, 18 Aug 2011. Comment un pays irradié est devenu pronucléaire, translation Courrier international, Paris, 23 AugGoogle Scholar
  37. Takeuchi Y (2004). What is modernity? (1959). In: Calichman R (ed) What is modernity. Columbia University Press, New York, p 75Google Scholar
  38. Van Wolferen K (1989) The enigma of Japanese power. Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of philosophyUniversity of Lyon-Jean MoulinLyonFrance
  2. 2.Institute of East-Asian Studies (CNRS)Ecole Normale Supérieure de LyonLyonFrance