Two Processes of Organized Irresponsibility in Post-Fukushima Japan

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Satoshi IGUCHI, Kyoto University, Japan
In this presentation I aim to grasp the paradoxical relationship between the two processes of "organized irresponsibility" in risk society and to discuss how it appeared in the Post-Fukushima Japan in a specific manner.

Ulrich Beck conceptualizes the organized irresponsibility as the system that tends to negate an existence of a new type of risk and responsibility for it. He observed it in the Post-Fukushima Japan and criticized that nobody accepts responsibility for Fukushima disaster. As one of the solutions, he stressed an importance of investigating and attributing responsibility.

On the other hand, Beck points out as another process of organized irresponsibility a transformation of "new risk" to "old risk" (Beck, 1988, Gegengifte, S.104). While new risk is characterized as decision-related but unpredictable, uncontrollable and unable to take responsibility, risk society tends to observe and underestimate it as predictable, controllable, responsible “old risk” and to make it invisible.

Based on it, I will point out that the transformation can be promoted through the very process of pursuing responsibility. Because in order to pursue someone's responsibility for a certain accident, it is necessary to prove that the accident could be predicted, controlled and avoided by someone. This process can strengthen “illusion of control” for the future new risks.

Finally, I will discuss that the latter process relates to the reason why Japanese energy policy could return to nuclear power in spite of the experience of Fukushima disaster. It should be noted that an intensive pursuing responsibility of government and companies has also prevailed in Japan after Fukushima disaster and in this process the Fukushima accident was gradually represented as an accident that could be certainly predicted and prevented. Japanese government cleverly inverted the very diagnosis and insisted that nuclear power technology is controllable by human and thus secure.