Aldrich, Daniel, James Platte, and Jennifer Jennifer. “Post-Fukushima Nuclear Politics in Japan, Part I.” Blog. The Monkey Cage, April 1, 2013.
In this three-part blog post, Daniel Aldrich, James Platte, and Jennifer Sklarew summarize development in Japanese politics, bureaucratic organization, and the anti-nuclear protest movement since March 2011. The authors outline the tensions caused by the plummet in popular support for nuclear power and the technological momentum created by heavy investments in nuclear power by utilities and business, which necessitate their continued support. The political parties are caught between these rival concerns, further complicating an already complex policy debate. The authors provide a clear discussion of the bureaucratic reorganization resulting in the newly independent Nuclear Regulatory Authority, which has to balance pressure from politicians and the business community to restart the now idle reactors and the need to reform nuclear regulation that has long been lax and has repeatedly lost credibility since the 90s.
These blog posts are relatively short, about 1,000 words each, and should be fairly accessible to people without much background in Japanese politics. Since these posts provide multiple viewpoints, they should provide a catalyst for classroom debate and discussion, as well as provide an excellent overview of a set of complicated issues. The focus of these posts is on the national debate over the future of nuclear power in Japan, so supplementary materials related to the direct impact of nuclear disaster on the people and environment of Fukushima might be a useful supplement for classroom work.
–Craig Nelson, Ohio State University