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Emergent Platform Stage of Japanese Civil Society after the Fukushima Accident: The End of " Winter of Social Movements" in Japan?

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:45 PM
Room: 418
Distributed Paper
Reeya KOMODA , Hitotubashi University, Japan
After the severe accident in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, major campaign issues in anti- nuclearpower have become variable. Before the accident, these issues were related to the anti-nuclear power plant construction in particular regions and anti-atomic weapon for the risk of causing radioactive contamination. However, this crisis broadened the range of these issues and changed the risk. Not only living environments in Fukushima were destroyed by the tsunami, but also the environments in other regions were influenced by the risk of the unseen health problem which may be caused by radioactive contamination. How did Japanese civil society organizations respond to the arising issues? What are the differences and commonalities of the organizations working through each issue?

To investigate the questions mentioned above, we conducted interviews with leaders of civil organizations on related issues in Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukushima, and a questionnaire survey on hundreds of the organizations which appeared in newspaper after the March 11.

From these researches we find out that the wide range of issues in nuclear power which was caused by the crisis gave way to the emergence of, not only the anti-nuclear power organizations which passed through the “winter of the social movements” before the Fukushima accident, but also new comer organizations which keep sometimes ambiguous or neutral stance on nuclear power. But, for example, a new comer movement proposed a law request for the victims, which was finally got through, to the local government. In other words, a newcomer organizations can have the means of accessing Japanese society. So, these organizations can provide the alternative means to fight against the government for  Japanese civil society organizations of the issues in nuclear power. These research findings must make important resources to predict the future of the civil society after the great earthquake.