Six years after: ‘Fukushima memories’ and continued willingness to participate in energy and environmental policy-making process in Japan
An internet-based social survey was conducted longitudinally in urbanised and nuclear-power-plant-hosting prefectures from 2015 to 2017, covering 12 prefectures in four regions by 2017, to measure temporal variations and geographical differences in the willingness to participate in random-sample citizen deliberations on energy and environmental policy in post-Fukushima Japan. The four regions were selected to provide extensive coverage of views in relation to perceptions of disaster damage and of nuclear power plant operations after disasters. A χ2 test for independence and regression analysis were applied. Statistical analysis revealed that the willingness of Japanese citizens to be involved in participatory energy and environmental governance has either remained steady or increased. This holds regardless of the prefectures of residence and of different ‘Fukushima memories,’ and despite the apparent indifference to Fukushima in the political arena and in the mass media, as well as concerns of a rapidly decaying psychological Fukushima ‘half-life’ in terms of its significance. Six years later, the damage caused by and the memories of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster are asymmetrically distributed across different regions and individuals. Given the ongoing willingness of Japanese citizens to be involved in participatory governance, a deliberative democratic process could be a tool to reintegrate divided and suffering societies.
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