Continuities and discontinuities of Japan’s political activism before and after the fukushima disaster

Kōichi Hasegawa

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    Since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in March 2011, we have been facing a severe post-accident reality. One part of this reality is changing citizens’ activism after the accident. What are the continuities and discontinuities of political activism before and after the accident from the theoretical perspective of social movements? This chapter analyses the historical and current Japanese situation, focusing on the structure of political opportunity, the mobilisation of resources and the cultural framing using documents, news clippings and participant observation of protest activities. After the accident, the frequency of protests and the number of participants has drastically increased. More than fifty thousand protesters was not unusual in the summer of 2012. Before the Fukushima accident, demonstrations were very limited in frequency as well as the number of participants. The support base of activism came to be much wider (mobilisation of resources), and they are stressing self-expression with music (framing). However, protesters have not yet succeeded in finding an effective political route to change the whole nuclear policy to denuclearisation (political opportunity structure). Increasing their political influence is still a tough challenge due to the limits of the organisational background. Under the political backlash fuelled by ethno-centrism and populism, Japan’s civil activism is facing a crossroads, whether it will still move forward or decline.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSocial Movements and Political Activism in Contemporary Japan
    Subtitle of host publicationRe-Emerging from Invisibility
    PublisherTaylor and Francis
    Pages115-136
    Number of pages22
    ISBN (Electronic)9781351608145
    ISBN (Print)9781138091931
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences(all)

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