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Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan: Response and Recovery after Japan's 3/11 (Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies) [Paperback]

by Jeff Kingston
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 7, 2012 0415698561 978-0415698566

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan plunged the country into a state of crisis. As the nation struggled to recover from a record breaking magnitude 9 earthquake and a tsunami that was as high as thirty-eight meters in some places, news trickled out that Fukushima had experienced meltdowns in three reactors. These tragic catastrophes claimed some 20,000 lives, initially displacing some 500,000 people and overwhelming Japan's formidable disaster preparedness.

This book brings together the analysis and insights of a group of distinguished experts on Japan to examine what happened, how various institutions and actors responded and what lessons can be drawn from Japan’s disaster. The contributors, many of whom experienced the disaster first hand, assess the wide-ranging repercussions of this catastrophe and how it is already reshaping Japanese culture, politics, energy policy, and urban planning.

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Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan: Response and Recovery after Japan's 3/11 (Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies) + Reimagining Japan: The Quest for a Future That Works
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Editorial Reviews


'The triple disasters of 11 March 2011 will change the face of Japan and this is the best place to understand how. This timely and excellent publication is packed with important insights into the consequences of these disasters and challenges mainstream media views and misperceptions concerning PM Kan’s disaster management.' - Sven Saaler, Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan

"One of the most impressive and memorable features of the book edited by Kingston is its tone of immediacy: the various contributors draw on many years of scholarly insight and experience to describe events and scenarios in a style of narrative that aspires beyond common journalistic analysis."Keith Jackson, SOAS, University of London

About the Author

Jeff Kingston is Professor of History and Director of Asian Studies at Temple University, Japan. He is the author of Japan's Quiet Transformation (2004) and Contemporary Japan (2011).

Product Details

  • Series: Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (April 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415698561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415698566
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #998,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An invaluable Resource August 19, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In the still-unfolding aftermath of the Tohoku triple catastrophe, this multi-authored volume provides an invaluable early record of the major issues that have emerged from the crisis. There is a freshness and urgency to the analyses included here. Nearly every piece conveys what editor Kingston describes as "a sense of what it has been like to experience Japan in crisis, a revealing moment and fraught climate that will fade as time passes." Many of the contributors are long-time residents of Japan, with intimate, on-the-ground perspectives of the intricacies of national policy-making and power politics. Though clearly a valuable resource for specialists and policymakers, the collection is informative and interesting reading for members of the general public, like myself, who are concerned with the lessons to be learned from Fukushima which extend far beyond the boundaries of Tohoku, into cities and towns all around the world.

The chapters are organized along a timeline which progresses from the disaster through recovery and reconstruction. Included are cogent and insightful comparisons of pre- and post-3/11 energy and economic policies and the potential for reform, discussions of strategies for urban planning, critiques of emergency preparedness and response, and the impact of civil dissent on the power dynamics of Japan's iron triangle.

As a member of a small town community attempting to transition to a greener energy economy I found the discussions (in "Hard Choices" by Paul Scalise and "Fukushima and the Political Economy of Power Policy" by Andrew De Wit, et al. ) regarding the challenges Japan faces in developing a sustainable energy policy of particular interest.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent July 12, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent compendium on the 3.11 natural disaster and nuclear crisis. I read the exchange between the reviewer and editor and decided to post my review because AJ Sutton distorts and unfairly slags a fine book. The editor of the book pointed out some major mistakes in the original review and Sutton has now deleted his own embarrassing comments. You can look at the comment thread following the Sutton review.
I am baffled by Sutton's gratuitously negative comments because the chapters are informative, well written and accessible, although Sutton seemed to have trouble comprehending the straightforward analysis and totally misread what the contributors wrote about the prospects for Tohoku's recovery...he wrote that they were optimistic when in fact they are pessimistic. Oops! Such basic errors raise questions about whether he actually read the book before reviewing it and whether he is a credible reviewer. Sutton should also be embarrassed that he complained in his mid-June posting that the contributors failed to explain why the anti-nuclear energy movement was fizzling out ...yes he actually did write that blooper... precisely at a time of massive rallies in Tokyo protesting nuclear energy. Keep this in mind when you read Sutton disparaging the book for not remaining meaningful today...he has got that totally wrong too.
As the editor points out, the contributors' findings about the nuclear village, regulatory capture and the shape of the energy debate have been vindicated by subsequent events.
I liked the combination of chapters that relate personal experiences at the time of the crisis and more analytical chapters on themes ranging from energy and social media to volunteerism and the history of disasters. The Duus chapter on the latter subject is superb.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The official publication date of this book is roughly 1 year after the quake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown of March 11, but the contributions were written much earlier: no later than July or early August 2011. In other words, the articles were written about 4 months after the disasters, but another 7 or 8 had gone by between writing and publication. As a result, very few authors were able to form a perspective that remains meaningful today. While some essays are still useful as chronicles of events close to the time of the tsunami, most of them, or at least big chunks of most of them, have been superseded by subsequent events, revelations and changes of administration. (All of the essays, other than the editor's, were written while Naoto Kan was prime minister; the editor's seems to have been completed a couple of weeks into the Noda Administration.)

[MODIFICATION, 2012/07/08: In several comments on this page and separate emails, the editor of this book has taken me to task for the original version of this review, on the grounds that it "misinformed" readers about the book's "prescience." (See comments below.) Although I live in both Tokyo and Tohoku, and have visited the areas affected by the tsunami, including both last year and shortly before reading this book, I don't claim to have expertise in the subject matter. On the other hand, I'm not entirely new to it either, and have read some earlier books, articles and reports about 3/11 -- including one from the same editor -- in addition to living through it. I don't write from the perspective of, say, a college student or overseas person who's learning about this for the first time; their reaction to the book might be different.
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