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The Image Politics of Nuclear Power: How Japan’s decision-making and regulatory process led to Fukushima

Friday, August 26, 2016   19:30 - 21:00

Speaker:
  • Paul J. Scalise (Senior Research Fellow at the IN-EAST Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, and Research Director of its Innovations in East Asian Energy and Low-Carbon Policy division)

Since the tragic events of the triple earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meltdown in March 2011, academic and market practitioners have increasingly tried to understand the past and predict the future. Who controls whom? How do policies change? Why do decision-makers sometimes fail to prevent conceivable tragedies and correct market inefficiencies? The conventional wisdom—both in much of the political economy literature and in journalistic writing—commonly suggests the “politics of interests.” Drawing heavily on microeconomic theory, analysts widely assume rational, goal-oriented actors attempting to fashion public policy in the pursuit of their own material self-interest. But what if the conventional wisdom fails to explain adequately Japan’s energy market development over decades? In this in-depth discussion, Paul Scalise revisits both theory and practice behind public policy. Instead of the “politics of interests,” he develops an alternative perspective and model based on the post-war evidence to understand Japan’s puzzling market development and counter-intuitive actor behavior. He argues that political decision-makers in both Japan and abroad are not only institutionally constrained by time, energy, and resources, but also actively rely on a series of short-cuts, heuristics and policy paradigms — what some call the “politics of image” — to  interpret multiple streams of information and arrive at a dominant policy consensus.

Date & Time:
Friday, August 26, 2016   19:30 - 21:00 (Doors open at 19:00)
Venue:
2F, Azabu Hall
Temple University, Japan Campus
2-8-12 Minami Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Moderator:
Kyle Cleveland (ICAS Associate Director)
Registration:
If possible, we ask you to register by E-mail (icas@tuj.temple.edu) , but we always welcome participants even you do not register. / 参加登録はなしでも参加できますので、直接会場へお越しください。

Speaker:

Paul J. Scalise

Senior Research Fellow at the IN-EAST Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, and Research Director of its Innovations in East Asian Energy and Low-Carbon Policy division

Paul J. Scalise (PhD, University of Oxford: 2009) is Senior Research Fellow at the IN-EAST Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, and Research Director of its Innovations in East Asian Energy and Low-Carbon Policy division. A former JSPS Research Fellow at The Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, Dr. Scalise is also an Associate Fellow at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and Non-Resident Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies, Temple University, Japan Campus. His most recent publication is “In Search of Certainty: How Political Authority and Scientific Authority Interact in Japan’s Nuclear Restart Process,” in Michael Heazle and John Kane (eds) Policy Legitimacy, Science, and Political Authority: Knowledge and Action in Liberal Democracies (New York: Routledge, 2015).