Florentine KoppenborgNov 18, 2023
Japan's Nuclear Disaster and the Politics of Safety Governance
Cornell University Press 2023
Florentine Koppenborg’s Japan’s Nuclear Disaster and the Politics of Safety Governance (Cornell UP, 2023) begins with the understated observation that the triple disaster of March 2011 “exposed severe deficiencies in Japan’s nuclear safety governance.” This is the starting point for the rather curious story of the regulatory reforms taken up in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and how they created a new system with a strong independent nuclear safety regulator that has refused to back down even as the political tides have changed, and what this has meant for energy policy in Japan in the past dozen years. Koppenborg’s history of nuclear power regulation in Japan also seriously considers the implications of this dramatic break for regimes in other countries. This case study provides a complex and thought-provoking contribution to discussions of the role of nuclear power and independent regulation in global efforts to decarbonize our energy supply.
Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese language and history in the University of Bergen's Department of Foreign Languages.