The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and the DPJ: Leadership, Structures, and Information Challenges During the Crisis

The Japanese Political Economy, Vol. 40, No. 1, Spring 2014, pp. 29-68

57 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2013 Last revised: 5 Mar 2014

Kenji E. Kushida

Stanford University Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

The Fukushima nuclear disaster was a critical juncture in the world’s relationship with nuclear energy, as well as Japan’s postwar political economy, society, and national psyche. The DPJ, and particularly Prime Minister Kan, were later widely criticized for mismanaging the disaster, contributing to the party’s loss of power. This paper closely examines the crisis as it unfolded, assessing the degree to which the government’s chaotic response can be attributed to the DPJ’s political leadership. It finds that the DPJ inherited a difficult hand when coming to power in 2009, with deep structural problems developed under the long LDP rule. Existing procedures and organizations were drastically inadequate, information and communications problems plagued decision-making and coordination. Kan’s leadership was, on balance, beneficial, taking control where the locus of responsibility and decision-making was ambiguous and solving several information and communication problems. This paper is one of the first readily accessible English language analyses examining this critical juncture, including a broadly readable account of primary government decision-makers as the disaster unfolded.

Keywords: Fukushima nuclear disaster, nuclear energy, crisis decision-making, Japan political economy

Suggested Citation

Kushida, Kenji E., The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and the DPJ: Leadership, Structures, and Information Challenges During the Crisis (2014). The Japanese Political Economy, Vol. 40, No. 1, Spring 2014, pp. 29-68. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2334523

Kenji E. Kushida (Contact Author)

Stanford University Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
188
Rank
131,783
Abstract Views
688