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Anti-nuclear movement, Japan

Masuro Sugai

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Eastern Asia » Japan

Period 2000 - present
1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics civil disobedience, ecology, party politics, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00099.x


Nuclear power is among the most crucial topics concerning Japan's democracy movement. Since the late 1940s, electricity companies have worked closely with the Japanese government in opposing local communities who seek to oppose nuclear power. The electric utility industry is exceptionally strong in Japan. Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tokyo Electric) is the largest private electricity company in the world. The government and electric utility industry have long promoted the notion that nuclear power development would “do good to local communities” and “serve as part of a regional revitalization.” In opposition, Japanese citizens have organized in localities to call for direct democracy, or “referendum movements,” opposing indirect legislative measures to build nuclear facilities. Consequently, since the late 1990s, acquiring new construction sites has become a more difficult task for promoters of nuclear power. Some nuclear proponents have resorted to enhancing the capacity of existing plants where communities are dependent on nuclear power, even as local opposition expands. In Japan, the state has used nuclear power development to influence and shape national energy policy. Most municipalities chosen as sites for nuclear power plants or nuclear fuel recycling are dominated by conservative legislative assemblies. From the early 1960s to the early 1970s, public antagonism has grown ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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