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Fukushima books

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Mark Willacy
ISBN: 9781742612959
March 2013
RRP A$32.99
Macmillan Australia
Also available as an e-book

'Fukushima' is the story behind the twin catastrophes of the tsunami and nuclear meltdowns, seen through the eyes of witnesses and victims – from the mother patiently excavating the mud and debris left by the tsunami as she looked for the remains of her daughter, to the prime minister of the day, Naoto Kan, to the plant director of Fukushima DaiIchi and his senior engineers, to the elite firefighters who risked their lives to avert the ultimate nuclear nightmare. The book is written by Mark Willacy, a Tokyo-based correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Villains are identified, including the "nuclear village" of power companies, politicians and bureaucrats, aided by a compliant media. And heroes are identified, including the nuclear plant's manager, the 'Fukushima 50' who stayed behind and the 'samurai firemen' who worked to prevent an even bigger disaster, along with the individual officials, scientists, journalists and others who battled against a complacent establishment.

"There's this view that you're either pro- or anti-nuclear in covering this disaster, and I'm not either," Willacy told Japan Times on July 27. "My reporting is about exposing official corporate and regulatory failings. The government ignored repeated warnings from their own panel members, their own seismologists and their own committees. I find it horribly ironic that TEPCO of all people had the closest, most accurate simulation of anyone − their 15.7-metre tsunami wave forecast was the closest anyone got to what actually happened on March 11."

Willacy argues that Japan has much to learn from the nuclear disaster, including the need for independent regulators, an end to 'amakudari' jobs for bureaucrats in nuclear companies and reform of the 'kisha club' media system that helped prevent scrutiny. He warns that another Fukushima is possible if the lessons of the disaster are ignored.

Nuclear Disaster at Fukushima Daiichi: Social, Political and Environmental Issues

Edited by Richard Hindmarsh
Also available as an e-book

Informed by a leading cast of international scholars, including Japanese scholars on the ground as the disaster unfolded, this collection of essays sets the Fukushima disaster against the background of social, environmental and energy security and sustainability. It provides insights into its background and the disaster management options taken and the political, technical and social reactions as the accident unfolded, and critically reflects on both the implications for managing future nuclear disasters and the future of nuclear power itself.

Contributors note that a history of pro-nuclear government policies led to safety, siting and construction of nuclear reactors compromised in a number of areas that inadvertently invited natural disaster. Post-disaster, the book probes the flawed disaster management options taken as radioactive pollution began spreading; and the political, technical, and social reactions as the meltdown unfolded.

The book is edited by Assoc. Prof. Richard Hindmarsh, an Australian academic and co-founder of the Asia-Pacific Science, Technology and Society Network.

The essay titles are as follows:

  • Nuclear Disaster at Fukushima Daiichi: Introducing the Terrain
  • Social Shaping of Nuclear Safety: Before and After the Disaster
  • Social Structure and Nuclear Power Siting Problems Revealed
  • Megatechnology, Siting, Place and Participation
  • Environmental Infrastructures of Emergency: The Formation of a Civic Radiation Monitoring
  • Map during the Fukushima Disaster
  • Post-Apocalyptic Citizenship and Humanitarian Hardware
  • Envirotechnical Disaster at Fukushima: Nature, Technology and Politics
  • Nuclear Power after 3/11: Looking Back and Thinking Ahead
  • The Search for Energy Security After Fukushima Daiichi
  • The Future Is Not Nuclear: Ethical Choices for Energy after Fukushima
  • Nuclear Emergency Response: Atomic Priests or an International SWAT Team?


Fukushima comic

World Nuclear News reports that a former worker at the Fukushima Daiichi site has created a manga comic of his experiences. Kazuto Tatsuta won a manga competition held by large publishing company Kodansha.

Why would World Nuclear News report this? It seems the content is quite bland, "an unusual and sober depiction of the accident site and of normal people who continue to work without extreme apprehension about radiation." Workers are shown "going through strict safety and security routines, working among the water storage tanks and relaxing in the basic facilities."

WNN, 1 Nov 2013, 'Manga shows Fukushima worker's experience',

Who wrote the anti-nuke novel?

A novel released in September illustrates the resurgence of Japan's corrupt 'Nuclear Village' in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. The book, 'Genpatsu Whiteout: Another Reactor Explosion Is Inevitable: Indictment from An Elite Bureaucrat', tells a story about a rush to restart reactors shut down after March 2011, with government officials and politicians wielding powerful personal connections to fight off opposition from local leaders, activists and the media.

A guessing game is underway over the identity of the author, who appears to have an insider's knowledge of the industry. The novel says the author, Mr. Retsu Wakasugi (a pseudonym), is a graduate of the Tokyo University law department and currently works at an unidentified government ministry.

"A search for the culprit is on," Taro Kono, a politician from the governing Liberal Democratic Party, wrote in a Twitter post on September 17: "Suspected: 'someone who is a senior official at the energy agency with considerable career experience but now with lots of free time maybe as a result of being sidelined.'" Kono himself may be the inspiration for one character in the novel, described as a "lone wolf of the conservative party" with an anti-nuclear stance.

Yuka Hayashi, 19 Sept 2013, 'Fukushima Watch: Who Wrote the New Anti-Nuke Novel?',