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Japan's Tipping Point: Crucial Choices in the Post-Fukushima World Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 122 pages
  • Publisher: Nature's Face Publications (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982900430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982900437
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am the author of six books of critically acclaimed non-fiction. The latest is JAPAN'S TIPPING POINT: CRUCIAL CHOICES IN THE POST-FUKUSHIMA WORLD, a short book on a huge topic. Can Japan radically shift its energy policy, become greener, more self-sufficient, and avoid catastrophic impacts on the climate? In the post-Fukushima era, Japan is the "canary in the coal mine" for the rest of the world. I arrived in Japan exactly two months after the Fukushima meltdown. This book is the account of my trip and my alarming conclusions. INSIDE THE OUTBREAKS, is a history of the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service. The others are UNCOMMON GROUNDS, the history of coffee, FOR GOD, COUNTRY & COCA-COLA, the history of the soft drink, MIRROR MIRROR, a history of mirrors, and VICTIMS OF MEMORY, a book about so-called recovered memories. One critic called me "the ultimate freelance journalist with an eclectic mind." I suppose he meant that I write about whatever interests me. I prefer to call myself an independent scholar, since my books are heavily researched. I joke that I should have earned an honorary Ph.D for each of them in their respective subjects. What my books all have in common is that they cover subjects that matter. In my small way, I hope to make the world a somewhat saner, safer place. I'm not sure if my children's book, JACK AND THE BEAN SOUP, will make the world a better place, but I hope it makes it a bit more humorous. The book is a fractured fairytale -- basically, an elaborate fart joke, though it does explain how evil came to the earth and the origin of thunder! I live in Vermont with my wife and dog, and I like to hear from readers. For more information on my books, see www.markpendergrast.com.

Customer Reviews

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I hope I can remember all of my thoughts while reading.
Mark Hem
As I read the book, I could not help thinking that Pendergrast had found and reported on dozens of real reasons for hope.
Kindle Customer
Still, it has enjoyed a reputation for being a leader in environmentally innovative policies.
David Hayes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Hayes on October 19, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the eyes of the world were on Japan. In Mark Pendergrast's e-book, "Japan's Tipping Point," he makes the case for why attention should more broadly focus on the state of the island nation's overall environmental strategies. Japan is a tiny but developed country that imports all of its fossil fuels and has, at least until recently, merrily relied on nuclear power. Still, it has enjoyed a reputation for being a leader in environmentally innovative policies. (The much-hyped Eco-Model City program, for example.) But, as Pendergrast reveals, that reputation is at least partly smoke-and-mirrors. Its renewable energy initiatives lag behind Europe and North America and in some cases even China (an analogy that would be devestating to most Japanese). The story has no lack of strong characters, like Tetsunari Iida, the Ralph Nader of Japan's nuclear industry who heads the Tokyo-based Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, and Naoto Kan, a former Prime Minister and born-again environmentalist who forced a reluctant government to introduce subsidies for wind, biomass, geothermal, solar hot water and micro-hydro development. In fact, Pendergrast believes Japan's main challenge lies in overcoming its own internal political & cultural shortcomings. Japan is important to us all, he writes, because it "is the proverbial canary in the coalmine. As an industrialized island nation, it is facing the same issues as the rest of the globe, only sooner and more urgently." A must-read for everyone interested in the daunting environmental issues facing the world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Blittersdorf on October 18, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Mark Pendergrast's personable, accessible account of post-Fukushima Japan offers an excellent overview of the country's past and current industrial dilemmas, and illuminates the speed bumps slowing down what should be a rapid restructure of its national approach to energy. It also underscores Japan's importance as the proverbial coal-mine canary for the rest of the world, with regard to energy use and energy policy. For these reasons alone, Japan's Tipping Point is an important and topical book for everyone wondering how modern society at large will cope with the urgent need to reduce our crippling reliance on nuclear power and fossil fuels. But it's also a great read: Pendergrast combines systematic, investigative journalism with candid, boots-on-the-ground travelogue in equal measures, to great effect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on May 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Japanese trains run to the minute, and the country's businesses pride themselves on energy-efficiency. The Japanese boast of their eco-services for eco-products in eco-cities. Yet they rely primarily on imported fossil fuel and nuclear power, live in energy-wasteful homes, and import 60% of their food. That may be changing in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Maybe. Japan is at a crucial tipping point. As an island nation, it offers a microcosmic look at the problems facing the rest of the globe. And as Japan tips, so may the world." Mark Pendergrast, Tipping Point (Kindle Locations 65-69).

On May 5, 2012 Japan shut down the last of its 50 nuclear reactors after the Fukashima disaster.

Japan, like the rest of the world is at a tipping point: it can go renewable or continue on its fossil/nuclear path. Pendergrast traveled through post-Fukashima Japan to survey a wide range of small-scale renewable energy projects. Tipping Point is unflinching in looking at the political and economic obstacles facing each of these projects. As I read the book, I could not help thinking that Pendergrast had found and reported on dozens of real reasons for hope. Although none of the renewable energy projects was in itself a single 'magic bullet' to solve Japan's energy crisis, when combined they may offer a profound opportunity. If Japan chooses to go renewable, each of these small projects shows a proven way to implement a workable solution within the Japanese culture and political system.

Tipping Point is a important book about a subject of critical importance to the entire industrialized world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marylen Grigas on January 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed Mark Pendergrast's new book, Japan at the Tipping Point, as a thoughtful and enjoyable blend of travelogue, scientific reporting, and astute observation of Japanese culture. The focus of this book is the need in the post-Fukushima era for strong leadership and clear decision making on the part of Japan's decision makers about not only the future development and regulation of the nuclear power industry in that country, but also the forward vision necessary to shape Japan's energy future. One of the most pressing issues for the Japanese is to decide what mix of technologies (solar, wind, geothermal, petroleum, and nuclear) will balance the energy needs of their island nation with the safety of her people, and what government policies should be put in place to shape a reliable energy grid that doesn't put people at risk from pollution and radiation. It is here that I fear that the Japanese will face their greatest difficulty.

No one in the technological and scientific worlds can fault the quality of Japanese engineering, which for the most part is second to none But the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was not purely the fault of its engineers. Pendergrast's book throws an embarrassing light on the decisions that were made by the plant's owners not to pay for and to put in place backup systems robust enough for the worst eventuality, and on the lax, conflicted and often contradictory muddle of government regulations that allowed the inevitable failure to occur. The Achilles' heel of Japanese culture has been summed up by the expression. "deru kugi wa, utareru", meaning, "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down".
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