Japan Moves to Green: Natural Disaster Empowers Japanese Citizens
10 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2012
Date Written: November 16, 2012
This paper examines how the 2011 Tsunami and Fukushima disaster has affected Japanese public opinion towards the government’s energy policy. These events are interpreted as moving Japan and public opinions towards more sustainable and ecologically friendly energy technologies. Nuclear energy had been a national strategic priority since 1973. Development of the new fast-breeder reactor technology was backed by powerful government ministries, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the Federation of Electric Power Companies. Electricity supply from nuclear power was expected to increase to 40% by 2019. This is now under review. The 2011 disaster had a major and disruptive effect on energy supply in Japan. The Tokyo Electric Power Company in Fukushima supplied electricity to eight prefectures that were responsible for 40% of Japanese GDP. This research has monitored media coverage both in Japan and internationally and also public information and government documents in both Japanese and English. It has been found that Japanese society is now questioning the nuclear energy policy and is starting to focus on energy saving strategies leading to sustainable lifestyles. Japan is moving on from grieving to focusing on finding new solutions to its community problems and striving to go nuclear-free.
Keywords: Government Policy, Public Opinion, Natural disaster
JEL Classification: D10, Q42, Q48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation