Decision Makers and Those Affected in the Japanese Expert Community--the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Friday, July 18, 2014: 8:30 AM
Room: Booth 52
Oral Presentation
Satoshi IGUCHI , Department of Literature, Kyoto University , Kyoto, Japan
An aim of this presentation is to describe the great distance in risk evaluation regarding Fukushima nuclear disaster between two types of the scientific experts in Japan and to analyze its structure and background by applying the insight on a distinction between decision makers and those affected in risk sociology of Niklas Luhmann(1993). After 3.11 in 2011 the most Japanese experts appearing in mass media followed the government report which was underestimating a seriousness of the disaster and a possibility of spreading of radio activities. In contrast some experts such as Hiroaki Koide and Tetsuji Imanaka from Kyoto University pointed a high possibility of core meltdown in the nuclear plants and warned citizens of the great dangers of the serious nuclear disaster through local or community media from the early period on. A distinction between experts and lay people which is very common in the previous risk analysis might be useless to explain this distance, because it appears within the expert communities. Therefore the author focuses on the other distinction and takes into account the diagnosis of Luhmann that the serious conflicts over the perception and evaluation of future loss between decision makers and those affected who are excluded from decision making process cross into the every functional area in the society. It implies the splitting of the scientific experts into such two unintegratable positions. To analyze this tendency in the case of Fukushima the author will focus on the different types of positionality for warning risks and dangers and will analyzes the different degrees of their trust on one’s own or other’s controllability of the risky situations. These elements might influence their discourses at the more basic level than their differences in scientific-theoretical assumptions on a safety of nuclear plants and a nature of radio activities.