The Fukushima nuclear disaster and the challenges of Japanese democratic governance

M. Howe Brendan, S. Oh Jennifer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This article examines the challenges of democratic governance in Japan through the case of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on March 2011. Institutionally, the Japanese people lack access to nuclear policy-making. Major political parties fail to heed the voice of the people while an iron triangle of pro-nuclear bureaucrats, politicians and power industries dominate nuclear policy-making. Japanese civil sodety has remained quiescent for too long and now lacks the capacity effectively to shape nuclear policies. Even recent civil activism and new mechanisms of democratic governance fall short in enhancing the role of civil society in shaping Japan's nuclear agenda. The article concludes with a discussion on the prospects of improved democratic governance in Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-516
Number of pages22
JournalKorea Observer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Civil sodety
  • Democratic governance
  • Fukushima
  • Japan
  • Nuclear policy
  • Political parties


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