Nuclear power policy in Japan as a resonance problem

Andrew Mitchell

Using insights from Niklas Luhmann’s Social System Theory, I shall argue that the economic and environmental factors resonated with
Japan’s policymakers in the wake of the Pacific War, leading over time to nuclear policy becoming entrenched and an excessive resonance developed between nuclear advocates and policymakers. While Fukushima has reduced this resonance, leading to regulatory reform that has increased safety standards and reduced economic influence on nuclear power, Japan’s energy security imperative has not changed in the wake of Fukushima, nor are the ways nuclear power solved this easy to replace. There is an insufficient resonance between public opinion and party politics in Japan, and the issue of nuclear power is not an item in current legislative debate. This makes further changes to nuclear power policy unlikely in the medium term.

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