The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 46. 2011  
November 14, 2011  
New Articles Posted
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In This Issue

Our home page has two new features. One is a regularly updated guide to the more than 100 articles we have published on the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power meltdown which is transforming Japan and reshaping issues of nuclear power and energy policy globally. Articles are arranged topically. In addition, we have added a guide to some of the most important, and liveliest, online and print sources on 3.11 including blogs and websites. Secondly, the list of articles now indicates all articles available in Japanese translation or original, as well as other languages. Please draw the attention of colleagues and friends to our comprehensive coverage of 3.11.

Many of our most important articles appear in What's hot and they bring a diversity of sources and reports from Ground Zero in Tohoku and Tokyo. "What's hot" presents breaking stories and provides information beyond the headlines, to cast them in broader perspective. What's hot is regularly updated, at times on a daily basis, and we invite you to consult it and contribute to it.

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David H. Slater, Fukushima women against nuclear power: finding a voice from Tohoku


From the very first, it has been quite difficult to politicize earthquake and tsunami hit Tohoku, despite the poor planning, the slow and uneven response, the failure to provide aid in a timely way in the days and weeks afterward, and the often poorly organized evacuation centers-an issue which resulted in a number of unexplained deaths. Now, the temporary housing facilities virtually insure that communities, or what is left of them, will stay dysfunctional for a while, even as their residents are often the ones called upon to manage their own relief. While the silences of fatalism and the shock of such a terrible disaster have been noted,  anyone who has been to the Northeast on a regular basis is aware that the frustration and anger  erupt in different ways almost every day. The point, however, is that rarely does it emerge in the unified voices of protest, rarely in coherent demands for systematic help, almost never in anger expressed in a way that the rest of the nation can hear.
In contrast, the threat of nuclear radiation and critiques of the nuclear industry have been skillfully politicized in ways that have led to the largest set of demonstrations in Japan (with the exception of Okinawa) since the US-Japan security treaty protests of the 1960s and 1970s. These protests have been based in Tokyo, utilizing urban networks of activists who have provided the digital framework for organization that has brought together an older generation of anti-nuclear activists, young families, hip urbanites, office workers and union protesters. This is, perhaps ironic, considering that many of the protesters and marchers rarely have contact with Tohoku. The nuclear threat, organizers say, extends beyond Tohoku, even beyond Japan. And indeed, this is the message that has been heard around the world, as the anti-nuke protest and politics were staged with specific reference to Fukushima (sadly, rarely with respect to the wider 'Tohoku' region).

Posted November 9, 2011. David H. Slater is an associate professor of cultural anthropology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and the Graduate Program of Japanese Studies at Sophia University, Tokyo. He is currently completing a book on youth labor in neoliberal Japan.


Read more . . . 
Sachie MIZOHATA, Amartya Sen's Capability Approach, Democratic Governance and Japan's Fukushima Disaster

The capability approach (CA) pioneered by Amartya Sen and developed by many others has become decisively influential over the last two decades as a normative framework for assessing social arrangements, social justice, equality, and quality of life, as well as for designing policies. The CA has also been seen as a theory of social justice seeking to reduce social exclusion and inequalities and to enhance global justice. The CA is probably best known for having inspired the creation of the Human Development Index (HDI) in 1990 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to annually rank countries by level of human development or well-being. This well-known approach has played a key role in advancing alternative ideas about development and welfare, rather than GDP growth. Thus, evaluated in CA theoretical terms, countries like Japan, for example, may not necessarily be judged to be rich, although on paper, by such measures as GDP and per capita GDP they may rank amongst the world's most prosperous nations.

This paper has three parts. I begin with a short review of the capability approach. Second, I explore the "yutakasa" of Japan, based on the CA. As the Japanese word yutakasa (richness or affluence) encompasses not only economic and material but also sociopolitical and spiritual dimensions of human welfare, it links up with the theoretical insights of the capability approach. Third, I turn to Sen's impor­tant work on famines in authoritarian regimes to consider, by analogy, exposure to radiation in order to reflect on the ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima.

Sachie Mizohata is an independent consultant based in Luxembourg. She is the co-founder of, a collaborative online community platform for social scientific research, through which she promotes e-humanities and collective modeling of social phenomena such as human well-being based on knowledge elicitation system used for OECD surveys. Recently, she contributed four chapters to Japan's Shrinking Regions in the 21st Century (Matanle and Rausch with the Shrinking Regions Research Group, Cambria, 2011).

Recommended citation: Sachie MIZOHATA, 'Amartya Sen's Capability Approach, Democratic Governance and Japan's Fukushima Disaster アマルティア・センのケイパビリティ・アプローチ、民主政と福島の大惨事,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 46 No 2, November 14, 2011.

 Read more . . .
Anzai Ikuro, An Agenda for Peace Research after 3/11

At 14:46 on 11 March 2011, a tremendous earthquake occurred in Japan's northeast (Tohoku), depriving approximately 28,000 people of their lives. More than 300,000 people took refuge from the quake, the following tsunami, and radiation originating from damaged nuclear power stations in the area.

When I learned about this serious nuclear accident that evening, I regretted not having been able to prevent such a catastrophe, although I am a specialist in radiation protection who has been criticizing governmental nuclear power policy since 1967. As a scientist involved in nuclear science and technology, I was ashamed of my incapacity to persuade the government and people of Japan of the risks of nuclear power generation, such as the Fukushima accident.

In light of his personal experience as a scientist and activist, the author offers an agenda for peace research in the wake of 3/11.

Anzai Ikuro authored a number of books on nuclear power in the 1970s and 1980s, including Nuclear Power Generation in Japan (1974), Nuclear Power and the Environment (1975), Radioactivity in the Body (1979), Handbook of a Nuclear Power Plant Accident (1980). His recent books on nuclear energy issues include Fukushima Power Plant Accident, published by Kamogawa Shuppan in 2011.

This article is an abbreviated version of a Keynote Speech at the Opening Session of the 2011 International Conference of the Asia-Pacific Peace Research Association.

Recommended citation: Anzai Ikuro, 'An Agenda for Peace Research after 3/11,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 46 No 1, November 14, 2011.

 Read more . . .