- Series: Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies
- Paperback: 328 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (April 7, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415698561
- ISBN-13: 978-0415698566
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,156,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan: Response and Recovery after Japan's 3/11 (Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies) 1st Edition
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'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 Kingstonis 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).
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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.
In "The politics of Disaster, Nuclear Crisis and Recovery," editor Jeff Kingston looks at the infighting among the DPJ and the LDP, and between the government and TEPCO, who used the Tohoku catastrophe and nuclear crisis as opportunities for political maneuvering, rather than focusing on recovery and reconstruction efforts. Having seen something of the same in the federal emergency response to Katrina, and now faced with our own version of political gridlock here in the U.S., there is something chillingly resonant in Kingston's analysis. By giving us access to such in-depth, inside perspectives, the book fills an important gap in our knowledge of the aftermath of 3/11 which, despite its huge global significance--particularly in the areas of energy and economic policy, has all but disappeared from coverage in the mainstream media.
The collection is skillfully arranged to maximize the resonance between chapters and sections. I especially appreciated the strategy of opening the book with two compelling and humane first person narratives by Gerald L. Curtis ("Tohoku Diary") and J.F. Morris ("Recovery in Tohoku"). These articles attach a human face to the catastrophe at Tohoku, from the opening of the collection, a reminder which resonates through every page which follows.
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. The strength of the volume is that the authors do anticipate subsequent developments and subsequent investigations vindicate their analysis. Experts and those who know little about Japan or disasters will learn a lot from reading this book because it provides the context most readers need to make sense of ongoing developments. I am planning to use this book in an undergraduate course.