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Politics in Disaster Japan

August 7, 2012

Important update, 7 Aug 2012. See also David H. Slater, Nishimura Keiko, and Love Kindstrand, “Social Media, Information, and Political Activism in Japan’s 3.11 Crisis,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10, Issue 24, No 1, June 11, 2012.


Speaking of Cultural Anthropology’s Hot Spots, David Slater (Sophia University, Tokyo) has just alerted me to an issue that he edited in 2011 entitled HOT SPOTS: 3.11 Politics in Disaster Japan. See, for instance:

Representational Discontent
Sharon Hayashi, York University

A crazed Tokyo governor tries to smuggle a nuclear power plant into the very heart of Tokyo. Behind closed doors, his ministers weigh the risk of a nuclear meltdown against the city’s hunger for cash, the fate of millions on their plate. Would environmentalists resist the building of a nuclear reactor right in front of Tokyo City Hall, although they all stood silent on Fukui or Fukushima? Could the false threat of blackouts be used to get the population on board? What about celebrities (tarento) — couldn’t they be used to sell the idea?

A Movement of the People vs. Elite Panic
Shibuya Nozomu, Chiba University

After March11, the movement has been growing rapidly. This movement is an amalgam of many elements; those against nuclear power; those demanding to keep exposure limits below 1 mSv/ year for children; those networks supporting evacuation from danger zones; those autonomous movements that measure radiation contaminations, etc. This movement consists of innumerable voices and actions ; movement of movements. Like the web, it has no “head,” no center. In this sense, the political rally held at Aruta-mae-hiroba (plaza), Shinjuku, Tokyo, on June 11 was a symbolic event. In this place, at least 10,000 people were said to have gathered, brought together from information distributed on Twitter or Facebook alone.

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