Mobilizing Mothers: The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Catastrophe and Environmental Activism in Japan

Abstract

The citizens’ and environmental movements of the 1960s and 70s hadgreat political success in Japan, culminating in the Special Session of the Diet in1970 that enacted 14 anti-pollution laws. These activist groups fought denials ofresponsibility on the part of industry and unresponsiveness on the part of localgovernments. Women were at the forefront of this type of activism during the 1960sand 70s, and led many of the citizens’ environmental movements during this time.More recently, during the environmental catastrophe caused by the meltdown of theFukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, women and mothers have been vocal protesters.Environmental movements have particular political salience because of the successwomen have achieved in this area both in policy change and also roles in formalpolitics. Women have consistently achieved these successes at the same time as theyperformed their roles as mothers and home managers; these roles have been usedstrategically to mobilize women with great effect, and also were central to the valueswith which the citizens’ movements defined themselves politically.

Keywords

Asia, Japan, Environment, Women, Nationalism, Confucianism

How to Cite

Freiner, N., 2014. Mobilizing Mothers: The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Catastrophe and Environmental Activism in Japan. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 21(1), pp.27–41. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.37

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Authors

Nicole Freiner (Bryant University)

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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