Changing Characteristics of Taiwan’s Anti-Nuclear Movements from Politically-Oriented to Grassroots Movements

Monday, 16 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Shiqi WANG, Meiji University, Japan
Anti-nuclear power plant movements in Taiwan emerged in the mid-1980s and the thriving movements made considerable achievement. In 2014, the construction of what would be Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant in New Taipei City was successfully suspended due to the rise of citizens’ anti-nuclear actions. In 2016, Taiwanese government decided to abolish nuclear power plants by 2025, which met the public demand for a nuclear-free society. As scholars have shown, social movement is a tool for democracy. Environmental movements, anti-nuclear movements, in particular, have been strategically mobilized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in taking political power from the Nationalist Party (KMT) in 2000 (Ho, 2004). However, the research fails to explain why anti-nuclear organizations are still working towards the goal even after the DPP came into the cabinet and made a compromise with its anti-nuclear stance. Owing to the 3.11 great East Japan earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, the social concern for the environment, especially for nuclear accident risks, drastically changed even in Taiwan. Some organizations began to distance themselves from political parties and became independent in to attract support from wider range of the public. This paper analyzes the organization's characteristics, strategies, and movement based on interviews with four non-profit organizations in Taiwan. The movement stressed educating community residents, creating the citizen’s network, designing the symbols used in daily life, and constructing social programs to demonstrate shifting into using renewable energy; which would pressure society into concern for the environment. The depoliticization by grassroots movements in Taiwan has similarities with Japan’s environmental movement from the 1960s. This depoliticization can be interpreted as a strategic reconstruction of the problem from party politics to livelihood issues in order to broaden public support from the perspective of environmental sociology.