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Post-Fukushima Japan: The continuing nuclear controversy

Fam, Shun Deng, Xiong, Jieru, Xiong, Gordon, Yong, Ding Li, Ng, Daniel
Energy Policy 2014 v.68 pp. 199-205
energy, fossil fuels, industry, issues and policy, nuclear power, politics, renewable energy sources, Europe, Japan
The Fukushima disaster was a wake-up call for the nuclear industry as well as a shocking revelation of the inner workings of the Japanese power sector. The political fallout from the event was far-reaching, pushing governments into abandoning nuclear expansion, turning instead to fossil fuels and renewable energy alternatives. While the move away from nuclear energy was deemed a move critical to political survival in Europe, we find that political candidates running on anti-nuclear platforms did not win elections, while the pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party won government in the 2012 elections. Against this backdrop, we analyse the energy conflict in Japan using a framework of values versus interests and consider the regulatory and cultural conditions that contributed to the disaster. A number of considerations lie in the way of an organised phase-out of nuclear power in Japan. We also consider the possible policy paths Japan may take.