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In Order of Session Number 

Session 1: “The Disaster Itself: Victims, Investigations, Blame”

 “Made in Japan” Fukushima Nuclear Accident: A Critical Review for Accident Investigation Activities in Japan
Kohta Juraku (Tokyo Denki University, Japan)

It is common understanding that deliberate, comprehensive and careful investigation for terrible accident is essentially important and must be done officially. It was also the case in Post-Fukushima Japan and three major investigation commissions and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, carried out their own accident investigations. All of them published their final report by the mid of 2012. We can now have them on the web and/or as printed matter, and some of them have already translated into English, for non-Japanese readers.

However, this fact does not necessarily mean we now understand the processes, causes, backgrounds and impacts of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident totally. Rather, some words, concepts or explanations of those accident reports seem to make readers misunderstood as if they could know the everything of this accident and could identify the “criminals” of this horrible accident. Such short-circuited thinking seems to enable us to forget this nightmare event and come back to usual life, much earlier than we had expected just after the occurrence of this accident. In fact, nuclear policy did not become the issue in the national general election in December 2012 at all, thought it was the first nation-level election since 3.11 disaster and we have seen strong public protest campaign which have called for immediate nuclear phase-out since then. Now, Abe LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) Administration is swiftly making a course correction for Japanese energy policy – revival of nuclear utilization program – without any big obstacles.

In this paper, by critical and qualitative review of the discourses, commission member constitutions and making processes of major accident reports, some particular characteristics of accident investigation activities in Japan, which mislead public in such way, will be examined and identified. It will also be discussed the social structure that creates both such misleading interpretation of disaster and devastating accident itself.

Investigating 3.11: Disaster and the Politics of Expert Inquiry
Scott Gabriel Knowles (Department of History and Politics, Drexel University)

By the end of 2011, the year of Japan’s chilling and complicated March 11 “triple disaster,” three separate, high-profile disaster investigations were underway.  Though different in goals and methods, each final investigation report concludes that the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown reveals longstanding failures in the ability of the government and the private sector to prepare for known hazards.  Each documents instances where government regulators and the nuclear power industry have colluded, serially betraying the public’s trust.  Each calls for the end of an era of trust and the rise of an era of watchfulness and reform.  None of the investigating bodies call directly for the eradication of nuclear power in Japan; the investigations agree, though, that under the existing regulatory arrangement, nuclear power generation cannot be done safely in Japan.

Investigation by experts is an anticipated, necessary stage in the life cycle of a disaster—be it weather related, seismic, or technological.  Investigation is a normal outgrowth of the very techno-scientific mode of thinking that brings high-risk technological systems like cities or nuclear power plants into existence in the first place.  Without an investigation the system that fails cannot be redesigned and restarted—the earthquake-resistant building codes, the levees, the back-up generators—none can be restored to normalcy, to profitability, without the formal study and closure that investigation provides.

This paper analyzes the dynamics of modern disaster investigations generally (and comparatively), and the Fukushima investigations specifically.  To start: what does it mean for a disaster investigation to be effective, to sustain authority throughout and effect change?  Does it get to a scientific truth on which experts agree; does it rally the public for a fundamental rethinking about the risks they collectively tolerate; does it shake up governments?  And, what if the answer to all three is yes?  The Fukushima investigations showed innovations (in structure, and in their willingness to criticize broader cultural trends), yet in many ways they followed the patterns of elite technical inquiry established over the past century and a half. Far beyond serving as the arbiters of scientific truth over the causality of the disaster, the investigators and their findings are now part of the larger political debate in Japan (and around the world) about the future of nuclear power as a sustainable technology.  They and their investigations are embedded in society, thus politics.

“How resilient is Japan? “; Response and recovery lessons from the 2011 Tohoku disasters.
Norio Maki (Associate Professor, Research Center for Disaster Reduction Systems, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University)

On March 11, 2011, the eastern part of Japan suffered devastating damage due to an M9.0 earthquake and an induced tsunami. The tsunami was especially devastating to three prefectures near the epicenter — Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima. An important factor for this disaster response was that three prefectures were simultaneously impacted. Until the Tohoku-Oki Earthquake and Tsunami, Japan had not experienced a multiple prefecture disaster since the Disaster Countermeasure Basic Act was established in 1962. Even the Kobe (1995) and Niigata (2004) earthquakes only affected one prefecture, the Hyogo and Niigata prefectures, respectively. Due to the large-scale nature, disaster response coordination among the affected prefectures was crucial, and the role of the national government became more important.

The national government had to concurrently deal with another urgent issue, the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima. The national government is responsible for responses to nuclear power accidents, while local governments are responsible for responses to natural disasters. Consequently, who should coordinate the disaster response caused confusion because Japan had not developed a response scheme to cascading effects of disaster or the simultaneous occurrence of two events requiring national action.

Due to the scale of the impacted area and the number of people involved in the operations, the amount of information generated was immense. As proper information management is key for effective disaster response, it is essential that responders from various organizations have the same information to realize a coordinated response using a common operational picture. Relevant information is necessary for reasonable decision-making. A good disaster response system should therefore support effective information management.

After securing human life of residents during the initial response, the main target of the response moved to relief operations such as providing shelter, food, water, and daily consumption supplies, and long term recovery. In this phase, various actors are involved in the disaster response such as government officials and volunteer workers. Although the actors in the emergency phase are limited to disaster response professionals such as disaster managers, police, fire, and self-defense forces, information sharing among the various actors proved difficult.

This paper discusses how Japan responded to the Tohoku-Oki Earthquake and Tsunami from the following viewpoints: 1) national coordination and mutual aid, 2) multiple hazard operations, and 3) a common operational picture from command and control and information management perspectives. The author was a participant-observer in the Iwata Prefecture’s Emergency Operations Center during the response to the Tohoku-Oki earthquake and tsunami,and continuously monitoring recovery process in the impacted area.

Fukushima and the Memes of Nuclear Disaster
Jen Schneider (Colorado School of Mines)

Thomas B. Farrell and Thomas Goodnight begin their classic 1981 essay on the Three Mile Island nuclear accident by arguing that “the inadequacies of accidental rhetoric at Three Mile Island point to a failure larger than the technical breakdown of 1979:  the failure of technical reason itself to offer communication practices capable of mastering the problems of our age.”  Technical reason, according to Farrell and Goodnight, asserts “visions of public competence and conduct” whose limits are exposed by the specter of nuclear disaster.  I would like to propose a similar analysis of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, from a communication studies perspective, in order to ask whether and how technical regimes defend their “competence and conduct” through new media outlets.  In particular, this study compares the rhetoric of the Nuclear Engineering Institute (NEI), a nuclear industry-funded group, with the rhetoric of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a non-profit organization whose aim is to critically question nuclear power.  Both groups have produced reports and other documents about the accident, which will be used to provide context for the study, and both have archived Facebook and Twitter postings released at the time of the disaster.

In particular, this paper argues that the Fukushima disaster offers us an opportunity to interrogate the event not only for what it might tell us about science and technology, but about the communication of science and technology, and about the communication of nuclear risks specifically.  We might ask what memes—viral “bits” about the accident that were disseminated, modified, and then reintroduced electronically into social media—were most prevalent, and why.

For example, in the days following the accident at the Daiichi plant, nuclear scientists and engineers frequently admonished the public and the media to focus on the victims of the tsunami itself, noting that not one death had been caused by the nuclear meltdowns of the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi.  They frequently diverted attention away from concerns about radiation exposures, which were difficult to explain and also easily dismissed as hysterical, instead urging citizens to see the disaster primarily as a natural one, focused around the earthquake and flood.  Such arguments quickly became memes on social media and, it could be argued, served to shift public attention away from the social and environmental impacts of the nuclear accident itself.  On the one hand, such rhetoric may serve as a compassionate corrective to the hyping of nuclear “disaster” on 24-hour news cycles.  On the other, it serves to police public (over)-reactions to nuclear risk and further reifies the role of the nuclear expert.

This paper will compare these types of rhetoric with those used by technical experts opposed to the expansion of nuclear power—scientists writing for UCS—who issued equally swift responses and generated their own powerful memes in order to make sense of the disaster.  In conclusion, the paper analyzes whether Farrell and Goodnight’s thesis regarding technical reason and science communication in the TMI case still holds true in the case of Fukushima, or whether the introduction of social media and 24-hour news cycles has forced some kind of material and symbolic shift in rhetoric.

A Tale of Two Evacuations
Contrasted Patterns of Displacement following the Tohoku tsunami and the Fukushima-Daiichi accident
By François Gemenne and Reiko Hasegawa (Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations)

The 11 March disaster induced two kinds of displacement: first, the residents of about 400,000 damaged or destroyed houses had to evacuate in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. Then, because of the damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant, residents living in a radius of 20 km of the plant, and later in expanded “hotspot” area, were evacuated by the Japanese authorities. In September 2012, 18 months after the disaster, 330,000 persons were still displaced in temporary shelters, nearly half of which are the evacuees from the Fukushima prefecture (i.e. displaced by the nuclear accident).

This paper seeks to analyse and compare the different patterns of displacement that followed the disasters, and the perspectives of return and reconstruction.  It seeks to understand how the evacuation was processed, which information the displacees were provided with, what caused their decisions to accept the evacuation, and assess the likelihood of a return of the population. The paper is particularly interested in the extent to which social and cultural context affected to the process. In addition, it also seeks to model the medium to long term impact of such a massive population displacement, both with regard to the region of origin and to the host communities.

These patterns of displacement will then be compared with those observed after other disasters, in particular the Katrina disaster on the Gulf Coast of the US in August 2005, the tsunami that hit South Asia in December 2004, and the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. Thus the paper incorporates a strong comparative perspective, with regards to the patterns of the displacement, so that lessons can be learnt. The Fukushima disaster bears similarities with the hurricane Katrina as both disasters occurred in democracies, but also because the perspectives of return are highly uncertain in both cases. The Asian tsunami is the only other tsunami whose magnitude can be compared with the Tohoku tsunami, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people across the region. Finally, the Chernobyl accident is the only other nuclear accident of importance in history. It also led to the evacuation of the zone around the plant. More than twenty-five years after the disaster, the perspectives of return will also be assessed.

The paper builds upon extensive fieldwork conducted with the evacuees in the framework of the DEVAST project, a French-Japanese research project that seeks to assess the social impacts of the disaster:

Variety of Gaps: the Case of the 3.11 Japanese Triple Disasters
Ryuma Shineha (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies)

On March 11th in 2011, a huge earthquake and tsunami struck Japan and had many victims. In addition, the earthquake and tsunami caused a severe accident of the Fukushima first and second nuclear power plants (NPPs). The impacts and damages of these triple disasters, so called “Higashi-Nihon-Daishinsai” or “3.11” have brought more than 16000 victims, and the damage and repercussions still continue.

Keeping in mind a variety of continued issues, we should start to consider problems of social structure and variety of gaps behind the 3.11 from various viewpoints. Particularly in this study, we focused on gaps of damage, social condition, and information environment. We collected and examine the statics and discourses on the 3.11. When we consider this matter, it is obvious that we should not avoid the aspect of “social vulnerability.” Risk of hazard pertains to more than the hazard itself. Risk of hazard consists not only of the impact of hazard but social vulnerability as well (lack of infrastructure, and power, economic disadvantage, etc). In addition, the aspect of “information vulnerability” in the damaged area should not be missed, because the gap of information environment connected to the gap of power in the discourse or media sphere. In fact, the majority of the information society occupied areas of the non-damaged city, and the people in these areas were focused on the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima. As a result, the center of interests in the society quickly moved from “damage of tsunami” to “nuclear power plant accident.” STS as a meta-science should not only treat the NPP accident itself, but also consider the viewpoint of its social effects on discussions and policies concerning disasters.

In our opinion, we have to re-focus on the 3.11 damage and its background problems. What kinds of social problems exist behind and before the 3.11? And what kinds of matters have been missed? In this paper, we would like to discuss these questions with several research data, thinking the politics of artifact and disaster capitalism as auxiliary lines for the discussion.

Session 2: “Institutional Perspectives: Governing, Preparing, Responding”
Call it A ’Wash’?
Conundrums of Technological Modernization and Flood Amelioration
in Early 20th Century Niigata Prefecture, Japan”
Philip Brown (Department of History at The Ohio State University)

Civil engineering projects that shaped the outcomes of the March 11, 2011 Tohoku disaster extended well beyond those that affected the safety of nuclear power plants per se and encompassed dilemmas with which Japan had contended long before the advent of nuclear power generation.  Flood amelioration efforts represent a case in point, and modern approaches to river control – lining rivers with cement and construction of dikes, did much to channel tsunami waters and accelerate their speed as they moved inland.  Designed to protect and permit the development of lowland areas, these modern techniques represent a the current end-point of an extended Japanese tradition of riparian control, a tradition enmeshed in trade-offs between different economic and political interests, and new and older approaches.

Comparison of two older efforts at flood control illustrate.  The construction of the Okotsu Diversion Channel on the Shinano River, Japan’s longest, was the end product of almost two centuries of efforts that was ultimately only realized with the advent of modern construction technologies.  While construction created a clear flood tragedy and illustrates limits to the adoption of new technologies, its construction represents the triumph of the modern which lies at the heart of much English-language writing on Japan’s late 19th and pre-war 20th century history.  In contrast, the town of Tochio, located on a branch stream of the Shinano, about ten kilometers from Shinano as it passes south of the Okotsu project near Nagaoka city, presents a different picture, one arguably more typical of most of Japan.  In 1928, at the same time that the Okotsu project was coming on line, Tochio experienced a major flood. The flood represented a clear illustration of limitations on employment of new technologies, it also illustrated the negative impacts of political modernization, a process which removed control over upland watersheds from locals, and destroyed incentive structures that had limited flood damage in earlier decades.  Just as residents in the Tohoku area ignored stone markers set to remind people of the historical impacts of tsunami waters and built residences, shops and factories at lower levels, the leaders of the new Japanese government swept aside long historical practice that ameliorated flood damage in an effort to create resources for a new, centralized state. Together, these examples illustrate the unevenness of “modernization” and the constraints on that process’s impact on both engineering projects and public welfare.

Designing Collective Action to Build Community Resilience:
The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, March 11, 2011
Louise K. Comfort (University of Pittsburgh) & Aya Okada ( Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan)

Knowing how to reduce risk from natural hazards in vulnerable regions is one set of administrative and policy skills. Persuading residents of a vulnerable region to act on that knowledge is a different matter. Designing collective action to reduce risk to communities exposed to known risk of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, or flooding is a persistent challenge in public policy and administration, and failure to do so leads to loss of lives, injuries, and billions of dollars in damaged infrastructure, disrupted business operations, and social support functions. The cost of failure is clear, illustrated most recently by billions of dollars in damage from Hurricane Sandy and documented relentlessly in public media after an extreme event. Less clear is knowledge of what factors facilitate informed, voluntary action by communities to reduce risk before danger strikes, and what factors inhibit collective response to known risk. What factors enable some disaster-stricken communities to respond with intelligent, collaborative response during disaster operations, and what factors inhibit such action? Further, what factors enable some damaged communities to recover quickly after extreme events, and what factors inhibit recovery in other communities, when collective action fractures into particular interests and stalled actions? What social calculus of power balanced by persuasion defines the threshold of change in mobilizing collective action from one transition to the next for risk-prone communities? Valid metrics for achieving an effective balance of power and persuasion have, to date, eluded policy makers and disaster managers in recurring efforts to manage risk and nurture resilience in communities exposed to known hazards.

Advances in information technology offer promising options to explore these transitions for community residents seeking to manage risk more effectively, but fitting information technology to the diverse set of organizations, people, and tasks in a given context of risk and limited resources is a continuing policy problem. Network analysts have explored social interaction as a means to achieve reliable, coordinated action, but have often neglected technical means of risk assessment, information management, and communications that enable a ‘knowledge commons,’ a forum for interactive exchange of data and knowledge that can be updated in real time.

We examine both technical and organizational systems that were used to communicate risk to the residents of Fukushima Prefecture following the March 11, 2011 nuclear reactor breach at the

Fukushima Daiichi Power Station operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company . We use a ‘complex adaptive system of systems’ (CASoS) approach to model interdependencies among technical, organizational, and socioeconomic systems that were involved in mobilizing response to this critical event. The underlying assumption of the CASoS framework is that people learn, organizations learn, and systems of organizations learn to adapt their behavior to reduce risk, if investment is made in a socio-technical-cultural infrastructure to facilitate access to timely, valid information regarding risk, and accurate feedback regarding consequences of actions taken. We propose a systems design for resilience that traces information flow among sociotechnical  components to enable communities exposed to risk to manage known hazards with maximum effectiveness and minimum costs.

Resituating Radiation in Japanese Genetics Research
Lisa Onaga (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

Biologists have used radiation as part of their experimental design since the late 1920s, when Herman J. Muller found that x-rays could induce mutagenesis in living organisms. Geneticists in Japan were aware of this development in the United States and x-rays were shown to produce gynandromorphs and sex-linked mutations in the one of the most well-studied organisms in the archipelago at the time, the domesticated silkworm. This paper seeks to understand how enthusiasms for radiation biology research were rekindled in the postwar period, especially following the atrocities of the atomic bombings and the 1954 nuclear fallout incident in Bikini Atoll. I make the argument that attention to how Japanese basic researchers in genetics grappled with highly controversial issues related to the generation and use of radioisotopes is necessary to fully comprehend why the public may have had to come to accept the use of radiation to induce mutagenesis in the 1960s. The magazine Iden serves as a focal point for analyzing how risk was discussed in an emergent science and how issues of the external world were brought into the language of cells, chromosomes, and genes. As an associated organization of the National Institute of Genetics that established in 1947, the Genetics Diffusion Group (idengaku fukyūdan) published Iden to popularize genetics. This publishing venture exists to this day. Iden once played a more curatorial role for the field and occasionally published roundtable discussions amongst leading researchers. This paper especially explores a 1960 roundtable on the state of radiation research in Japan. Seven prominent geneticists, including a major silkworm geneticist, Tazima Yatarō, convened to discuss matters of fallout, the food chain, dosimetry and the low-dose effect of radiation in relation to their practices of cutting-edge genetic research, which relied increasingly on the irradiation of organisms. These and other works published in Iden, alongside more formal scientific works produced by researchers who did not exclusively study humans, illuminate how basic researchers in this arena exercised and demonstrated their expertise on this topic. This approach also promotes a fresh analysis of issues that enriches and broadens a historical understanding of genetics in the period following the U.S. occupation of Japan.

Histories (and futures?) of nuclear disaster expertise
Sonja D. Schmid (Virginia Tech)

Up until Fukushima, both the nuclear industry and the general public treated nuclear emergencies at civilian facilities as something too unlikely to occur, or, perhaps, too terrifying to seriously deliberate and prepare for. Trying to avoid all future accidents, nuclear industries all over the world made significant adjustments in the wake of Three Mile Island (TMI). In the United States, the nuclear industry created the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO). Based on peer inspections, a highly confidential system of reporting safety violations, and a tenacious insistence on self-regulation, INPO takes credit for the impressive safety record at U.S. nuclear power plants. And yet, it took another nuclear disaster, Chernobyl, until an international organization for improving nuclear safety was created, the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). Fukushima has demonstrated that this was still not enough. Not only do existing international nuclear organizations fail to prevent nuclear disasters, but today’s nuclear safety watchdogs have almost no means to respond to nuclear emergencies, either.

In the wake of Fukushima, INPO has called for an international nuclear emergency response team. Although they recognize the challenges of technical interoperability and national sovereignty, INPO’s well-intentioned proposal does not address the problems STS scholars would identify: How is the knowledge (explicit and tacit) that’s necessary for the safe operation of a nuclear reactor different from the knowledge needed to respond efficiently to a nuclear emergency? How can such emergency response knowledge be captured, preserved, activated, transmitted, and successfully deployed across technical, economic, cultural, and other boundaries? Can we recover the (admittedly limited) institutional memory of nuclear disaster response?

I propose to present part of my new research project that aims at exploring the challenges a nuclear emergency response team would face, with an emphasis on its organizational and international dimensions. To provide a foundation for this forward-looking piece (which will mobilize ideas of improvisation and creativity), I examine the history of nuclear expertise, especially as it becomes formalized in organizational routines, regulatory bureaucracies, and institutionalized training programs. Nuclear experts and their communities did not grow, and do not operate, homogeneously across the globe.

Focusing on the history of expertise in comparative perspective (national, cultural, and institutional) can connect STS research agendas with those of organization theory, area studies, anthropology, business, security studies, and public policy. Questions about national specifics, economic structures, the role of technology, personnel recruitment and training, and the idea of a “safety culture” allow me to draw on the pockets of existing expertise in other organizations: civil defense and natural disaster response, humanitarian relief organizations and homeland security. For the time being, I consciously eclipse public disaster preparedness and community resiliency. The connections with these areas of research and activism are important, and the STS Forum on Fukushima rightly emphasizes the role of bottom-up engagement. However, in addition to an alert, connected, critical general public, disaster response also needs subject experts – publicly accountable ones, to be sure. But who will these experts be? What will they know, and how will they learn?

The Making of the Map, the Making of Risk
Charlotte Cabasse (Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées)

This paper addresses the elaboration of two maps, the USGS National Seismic Hazard Map and the USGS Community Internet Intensity Map. A look at the production of these two widely used documents forces us to rethink the definition of the earthquake risk, adding to the usual elements of definition some unexpected actants. Making connections between what is considered scientific ‘knowledge’ and lay people ‘perceptions’ has always been a challenge for risk experts and scholars. The study of the elaboration of these maps shows that experience and perception play a major role in the definition of the earthquake risk. I argue that these maps’ complex associations and reticular connections make visible a network of risk awareness also at stake in Real World. Creating bridges between forms of actants will help us grasp the multiple and moving dimensions of the risks we face.

Session 3: “Radiation, Information, and Control”

Why Safecast matters: A case study in collective risk assessment
Yasuhito Abe (University of Southern California)

The Fukushima nuclear crisis has created an alternative space for science communication in Japan and beyond. Since the beginning of the Fukushima nuclear accident, many ordinary citizens or “laypeople” have engaged in DIY (do-it-yourself) reporting of Geiger counter reading for their health safety, and distributed the collected data to those who are concerned about nuclear leaks in Japan and beyond. In so doing, they have created what could be termed “post-Fukushima DIY networks,” and engaged in constructing scientific claims on nuclear risk by using social media. They have yielded valuable data on nuclear radiation that often would be unavailable to scientists and the government. For example, Safecast, one of the post-Fukushima DIY movements, allowed volunteers to upload their own Geiger counter readings, and have aggregated about as many as about four million sensor data around the globe.

Drawing on literatures on collective intelligence, this study focuses primarily on exploring Safecast. In so doing, this paper examines how among post-Fukushima DIY movements, Safecast became arguably the most significant post-Fukushima DIY network in Japan and beyond. Drawing on analyses of its website and social media use, this paper starts by illustrating a brief history of Safecast. Launched in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident, Safecast has been emerging and developing by getting people with different skills and expertise involved. Then, I examine how Safecast has constructed nuclear radiation narratives. Although Safecast considered itself as a “pro-data” organization, which does not get involved in any politics, an analysis of its weblog and social media use indicates that Safecast’s narratives of nuclear risk might be utilized by certain party. Finally, I show how Safecast actually gathered data on nuclear radiation levels by examining the measurement data available to the public. I hope to show how the post-Fukushima DIY network contributes to the renegotiation of the nature of science communication in post-Fukushima Japan and beyond.

Negotiating Nuclear Safety:
Responses to the Fukushima Disaster by the U.S. Nuclear Community
William J. Kinsella (North Carolina State University)

The “triple disaster” of March 2011 comprised an exceptionally powerful earthquake, a tsunami of unanticipated scale, and severe damages to multiple reactors and spent fuel storage pools at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.  The disaster can be understood as triple in another sense, as well, as a convergence of natural, social, and technical elements.  Distinctions among those categories are, of course, discursively constructed and problematic in terms of their analytical and practical implications, and one goal of this paper is to demonstrate their “risky attachments” (Latour, 2004).  To do so, the paper examines how the U.S. nuclear community has responded to the events at Fukushima through a negotiative communicative process, using a   critical analysis of organizational and institutional communication to contribute to STS perspectives on risk, regulation, and democratic engagement.

The “U.S. nuclear community” is a complex sociotechnical, institutional, and organizational system, and the paper’s primary focus is on a crucial communication process within that system, the assurance of nuclear safety.  Expanding concepts of “high reliability organizations” (Roberts, 1990; Rochlin, 1993; Weick & Sutcliffe, 1999, 2007) that “must not make serious errors because their work is too important and the effects of their failures too disastrous” (LaPorte & Consolini, 1991, p. 19), I argue that the nuclear community needs to operate as a high reliability communication system.  Checks and balances across the many components of that system, constituted through communication processes and practices, provide the basis for that reliability.

It is often said that nuclear safety is a “non-negotiable” principle (e.g., Areva Group, 2012; European Nuclear Society, 2011).  However, such statements overlook the degree to which communication regarding nuclear safety regulation is fundamentally negotiative in form.  These characterizations help to allow proponents of nuclear energy, and nuclear regulatory institutions such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC), to portray their domain as a risky but effectively managed one, a “black box” opaque to non-experts but amenable to expert control.  This essay looks inside that black box, examining some of the communication processes that operate within.

The paper examines a series of meetings held by the USNRC in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.  These include three meetings of the Commission’s Near-Term Task Force on responses to Fukushima; a number of additional meetings involving Commissioners, staff members, industry representatives, and other stakeholder groups; and the Commission’s three-day Regulatory Information Conference held in March 2012.  The author has reviewed webcasts and transcripts of the first two sets of meetings, and participated in the 2012 conference.  Together with related documents produced by the USNRC (2011), the American Nuclear Society (ANS, 2011), industry advocacy groups, and critical public interest groups, these meetings provide data for an analysis of negotiative organizational and institutional communication and its implications for nuclear safety and democratic process in the U.S. and beyond.

Radiation Protection after 3.11: Conflicts of Interpretation and Challenges to Current Standards Based on the Experience of Nuclear Plant Workers
Paul Jobin (CEFC Taipei)

The Fukushima nuclear disaster (hereafter “3.11”) has reactivated the controversy over the hazardous consequences for human health of low-dose radiation, an issue dating back to the mid-1950s. Japanese government experts have argued that below a cumulative dose of 100 millisieverts a year the effects of radiation are negligible, basing this assertion of “safe levels” on the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the International Commission on Radiation Protection (ICRP), as well as the conclusions of epidemiological surveys. These surveys have been conducted on various cohorts; some are related to nuclear disasters (like Hiroshima-Nagasaki survivors, Chernobyl liquidators, or victims of the fallout from nuclear testing), while others refer to the regular occupational exposure of medical radiologists and nuclear installation workers. This large corpus and their interpretation by IAEA and the ICRP have shaped the current standards of radiation protection.

Since 3.11, Japanese citizens and labor organizations have engaged in negotiations with the Ministry of Health and Labor to defend the rights of the workers involved in the clean-up of Fukushima Daiichi, and of those hired for the “decontamination” work in Fukushima prefecture. To reinforce their criticism of the current working conditions (like the practice of modifying dosimeters to minimize radiation readings, the limitation of health follow-ups to workers exposed to a cumulative dose of over 50 mSv, etc.), these activists point out that the existing epidemiological surveys posit no safety threshold, either at 100 mSv or at any other level, and many challenge the current standards of radiation protection not only for occupational exposure, but for the whole population.

The authors of the major epidemiological studies related to nuclear plant workers, when asked, confirmed that their results could not be interpreted as downplaying the risks of doses below 100 mSv. As concerns the current standards of radiation protection, they stress the epistemic constraints inherent to epidemiology and suggest the tendency of institutions like the IAEA to present the results so as to downplay the risks.  The conflicts of interpretation between Japanese government experts and activists thus reflect a larger debate, at a global level, within the community of epidemiologists and radiation specialists. This debate needs to be considered within the longue durée of the controversy over low-dose exposure, particularly in regard to its evolution after Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl. For example, did these disasters induce the modification of ICRP standards in 1990 (which established the current framework)? To what extent has 3.11 created a new context that could lead to the further modification of current standards?

This research follows up on a study I started in 2002 on Japanese nuclear contract workers. Further observation and interviews have been conducted since 3.11 in Japan and in Europe, among clean-up workers, government experts, activists and epidemiologists; more fieldwork is planned in Japan in March 2013.

Privileged Science, Citizen Science, and Radiation in Japan and the US:
Exposure, Outsourcing, Secrecy, and un/Authorized Knowing
Sharon Traweek (UCLA)

Miranda Fricker explores epistemic justice and trust, addressing who is entitled to be a knower and what is to be known. I am asking: within that circle of authorized knowers and knowledge, what should be ignored? Within a research community how is silence learned and transmitted across generations; how are boundaries maintained between what is to be known and not? How are those barriers crossed? How does disaster revise who can know what? How does silence and secrecy after disaster shape knowledge makers? Who profits from secrecy? What are the daily practices of secrecy? How is public memory and knowledge regained?

Most high energy physicists [HEP] see no connection between the Manhattan Project, ongoing weapons research, and continuing world-wide support for the HEP research infrastructure. Of course, most records of the Manhattan Project, the bombs and radiation studies designed there, the radiation effects of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, plus over 1000 bomb tests in the US were kept secret until the early 1990s.  Since then public awareness of those radiation records has remained limited, even though during the last twenty years soldiers who worked on the tests, Native Americans whose homelands were bombed, and many people living “downwind” of the tests have organized with some researchers to gain more information and launch several public memory projects and new research about their experience.

Since the Fukushima reactor failures there has been much discussion about collusion among government regulators and researchers with funding from the nuclear industry. [Japanese HEP do not see a link between their own research infrastructure and that collusion.]  Since March 2011 many have reported that outsourced labor is a way for nuclear power facilities to avoid keeping radiation exposure records for many workers. I have conducted research about long term record keeping from dosimeters (measuring radiation exposure) at  HEP labs, including both paper and digital records. I have found that at the Japanese lab records were available only for those officially employed at those labs or for those who received funding from those labs. Those with external funding did not enter into either their official lists of researchers or their dosimeter records. That practice mirrors record keeping at Fukushima.

Some Japanese HEP have become active in civil society projects concerning radiation monitoring and remediation practices in Fukushima. With people in local villages they are designing new monitoring devices and testing mitigation strategies. With government agencies HEP around the world are designing new ways to mitigate the effects of reactor failure. HEP are crossing decades old boundaries around their knowledge domains and making new knowledge with foreigners. Meanwhile, Japanese people have lost trust in government announcements about radiation threats, safety, and monitoring. In response citizen science projects about radiation abound. In a society with a long history of trust in policy making by government bureaucrats and the professional expertise of engineers that loss of trust is likely to have serious consequences as are the new alliances for making knowledge.

In archival and ethnographic research about radiation I have been investigating secrecy, silence, monitoring, documentation, and disclosure practices, as well as  shared public memory and citizen science projects among scientists and the public since 1944. My on-going research in informed by many studies that have investigated links of capital, governmentality, biopolitics, erasure, and knowledge making. In STS we need to remove barriers in our research between un/authoritized knowledge and knowers, between public and secret knowledge; we can begin by studying how those boundaries are maintained and challenged after disaster.

Unwanted Intimacies:
Technostruggle and Radioactive Embodiment after 3.11
Kath Weston (Department of Anthropology at the University of Virginia)

As a form of energy, nuclear power is distinguished by the imperceptibility of the radiation it generates to the body’s unaided senses.  In the months after 3.11, as it became clear that data about the 原発事故 (“nuclear accident”) at Fukushima Daiichi supplied by the Japanese government and TEPCO was at best unreliable, sometimes withheld, perhaps even falsified, ordinary people in Japan began to take measurement into their own hands.  These “citizen scientists,” as they came to be called, began to seize the means of knowledge production about ongoing radioactive emissions by acquiring instruments such as dosimeters and Geiger counters.  They then used digital technologies such as videos circulated through social media and crowd-sourced radiation maps to disseminate their results.  “Unwanted Intimacies” characterizes these developments as a form of technostruggle in which people use technology to seize the means of perception (in this case, perception of radiation) and then organize to control knowledge production about their intimate bodily engagements with potentially lethal derivatives of “natural resources” that were ideologically supposed to sustain them.

In addition to the renegotiation of power relations through the deployment of technology, characterized here as technostruggle, “Unwanted Intimacies” considers the impact of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns on intimacies broadly conceived.  What does it mean to speak of oneself, as some people have after 3.11, as becoming a nuclear fuel rod?  To recognize that your friends, neighbors, and relatives inhabit, post-3.11, a form of what Linda Nash has called “inescapable ecologies,” in which ecology is not something “out there” to which humans relate but something constitutive of bodies, intimately transforming them at the cellular level through toxic or radioactive exposures and altered metabolism? What happens in the aftermath of radiation detection, when technostruggle has accomplished its aims but people disagree about the significance of the results?  When the wedding boom that followed the tsunami gives way to a new phenomenon, the “radiation divorce” that separates partners who cannot agree on the importance of shielding children from low-level radiation?

The inception of this essay was twofold: firsthand experience of the 3.11 earthquake in Tokyo, as people there attempted to make sense of reports on developments at Fukushima Daiichi, followed by the invitation to deliver a talk in the summer of 2011 at the Seminar in Experimental Critical Theory VII: ReWired: Asian+Technoscience+Area Studies conference in Honolulu.  The now fully drafted essay, which I hope to circulate at the workshop for discussion, will appear in my forthcoming book, The Intimacy of Resources: Technology and Embodiment in the Synthesis of Nature.   Most of the intimate engagements examined in that book concern the quest to initiate close encounters with “natural resources” such as food or water.  A chapter on “Lost Intimacies,” for example, explores the revival of artisanal farming, coupled with injunctions to “know your food.”  This chapter, in contrast, makes it clear that not all the intimacies produced in the course of turning “nature” into “resources” for human consumption are necessarily desirable, or desired.

New Expert Eyes Over Fukushima:
Open Source Responses to the Nuclear Crisis in Japan

Luis Felipe Rosado Murillo (UCLA)

In the aftermath of Fukushima disaster, a new and unlikely group of technoscientific experts came to the rescue, computer hackers, but not without help from Internet entrepreneurs, journalists, and non-specialized volunteers. In a matter of days after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, computer experts organized online meetings and started to discuss and elaborate on technical ways to address expected effects of the disaster.

In this paper I will explore the responses of the Open Source community to the Fukushima crisis by analyzing the development of collaborative technologies to measure radioactive contamination across Japan. This paper is offered as a contribution to recent studies of public participation in science and technology by describing the nature of sociotechnical ties among hardware engineers, software developers, businesses, educational institutions, corporations, venture capitalists, volunteers, and activists. Examples of collaborative nuclear radiation monitoring projects in Japan include: “Safecast” (whose volunteers from “Tokyo Hacker Space” drive across Japan to map and measure radiation levels) and “Open Geiger Project” (responsible for the Open Source design of an affordable Geiger Counter). What these projects have in common is the usage of shared Open Hardware platforms for fast prototyping of low cost digital devices and the commitment to information freedom and transparency.

Based on ethnographic data from participant observation at Tokyo Hackerspace and life-history interviews with Safecast expert volunteers, this paper specifically addresses emergent forms of techno scientific expertise – which are remotely distributed, not confined to particular institutions, and organized around social networks of various specialists. This paper also engages with questions of expert authority and legitimacy in respect to the controversy over governmental radiation mapping, availability and reliability of radiation data, health risk assessment, and public participation in collaborative radiation mapping.

In terms of its broader impacts, the case of Open Source development for crisis assessment in Japan post-March 2011 poses the question of shifting power relations in respect to the capacity of State bureaucracies to generate more comprehensive and reliable data on radiation than the volunteer-based organization of a few dozen software developers, hardware engineers, and journalists. By looking at the patterns of relationships of local research institutions, governments, funding agencies, and expert communities, both on a local and international level, we should be able to identify what are the best practices for future risk assessment and crisis response initiatives, as well as to describe new forms of political action that are not only mediated but actively exercised through collaborative technological development.

Session 4a: “When Disasters End (Part I)”

New Data and Analysis on Recovery in Towns, Villages, and Cities in the Tohoku Region
Daniel P. Aldrich

Using new quantitative and qualitative data on more than 280 towns, villages, and cities along the Tohoku coast, this paper investigates the factors which have facilitated or impeded recovery at the communal level following the 3/11 compounded disasters of 2011.  Drawing on face to face interviews with survivors, deep census data, government and think tank data on the recovery, and a review of the Japanese and English language literature, this paper illuminates the ways in which local conditions altered the recovery trajectory.  Looking  closely at more than 300 demographic, civil society, political, socioeconomic, and geographic factors – including the height of tsunami protection, area submerged by the waves, and distance to evacuation shelters – this paper is among the first to move beyond impressionistic analyses of the rebuilding process and focus intently on data-driven analysis of issues thought critical in past disaster recoveries.

The data for this paper include information on pre-tsunami employment, municipal budgetary outlays, the height of the tsunami, the number of people killed and injured by the tsunami, blood donation and crime rates, local political support for different parties, and various measures of education and health care quality.  While our analysis is still ongoing, several striking results have emerged.  Political variables – such as whether or not the town, village, or city merged with a larger municipality in recent years – had a strong effect on recovery.  We have several potential theories to explain this finding, among them weaker political representation for local needs and a weaker sense of shared identity.  Next, interviews indicate that strong social connections reduced mortality and increased survival rates, and our quantitative data allow us to test this hypothesis.  Finally, we are able to evaluate claims that political affiliations with the long dominant Liberal Democrat Party provided certain municipalities with more robust infrastructure and better funding for disaster mitigation measures.

The inaugural meeting of the STS Forum on the 2011 Fukushima/East Japan Disaster will provide a chance to receive feedback on these data collection and analysis methods and the chance to not only improve my own scholarship but to better integrate my research agenda with those of scholars from around the world.  I hope to be part of this exciting event.

Mobilizing Nuclear Bias: The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis
and the Politics of Uncertainty
Kyle Cleveland (Associate Professor of Sociology, Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies, Associate Director Temple University Japan)

The nuclear disaster in Fukushima which followed in the wake of the 3/11 Tohoku earthquake and Tsunami has been one of the most significant public health crises in modern history, with profound implications for how nuclear energy is perceived. This paper analyzes the nature of risk assessment in the nuclear crisis, examining how the Japanese government and its constituent institutions in the nuclear industry, foreign governments and international nuclear agencies responded to public fears and attempted to manage public opinion in the early phase of the crisis. Based on interviews with Japanese government officials, nuclear experts and foreign embassy officials in Japan, the paper focuses on how foreign governments coordinated their crisis management response with the Japanese government while attempting to appease their expat citizens in Japan in the face of alarmist media coverage, criticism from anti-nuclear activists and pressure by nuclear industry officials to maintain the long-term viability of nuclear energy.

In addition to examining how the accident progression in the reactors was addressed and conveyed to the general public, the paper will discuss how evacuations from areas in close proximity to the Daiichi NPP were conducted, and how the exclusionary zones where determined by Japanese and foreign governments in Japan. As the crisis unfolded and efforts to bring the reactors under control were initially proving ineffective, concerns increased that radiation dispersion was unmitigated, and with radiation monitoring by the U.S. military indicating levels significantly beyond TEPCO’s conservative assessments, the United States broke with Japan, recommending an 80km exclusionary zone, and initiating military assisted departures for embassy staff and Department of Defense dependents from Japan. These actions deviated significantly from Japan’s assessments (which had established a 30km mandatory evacuation zone), creating a dynamic where the U.S. provided technical consultation for the nuclear response while striving to maintain a delicate diplomatic balance as they attempted to impose a qualitatively different crisis management response. Alongside the U.S. response, various European Union States moved their embassies to Western Japan, distributed Potassium Iodide (K1) to their expat citizens in Japan, and in some cases, left Japan altogether for the duration of the crisis. This paper will examine the implications of foreign government responses to the nuclear crisis for Japan’s international relations, both in the early phase of the nuclear crisis, and in the long-term, as Japan continues to coordinate its emergency response protocols with international nuclear agencies, and implement internationally recognised standards in its remedial efforts to ensure public health, and, to restore international credibility.

Safe and trustworthy? Food safety after Fukushima
Nicolas Sternsdorff Cisterna

In this paper I explore how uncertainty arises, circulates, is understood and incorporated into everyday life in the aftermath of a disaster. Likewise, how do people engage with scientific knowledge to resolve that uncertainty and render it into practices that are manageable in their everyday lives.

One of the main sources of uncertainty in Japan after 3/11 has been whether domestic food is safe to eat. As the coordinator of risk communication for the government told me, Japan has had many food safety problems in the past, but they have always been about a particular commodity — never before have they thrown into question all food production.

Since the meltdown, consumers, producers and retailers have had to contend with a new environment where previous understandings of food safety have been upended, and where they had to educate themselves on the risks that radiation unleashed on their lives. In particular, after the meltdown there were numerous seminars and study groups designed to teach people about the science of radiation and food, and how to eat safely. I attended approximately seventy such events over 14 months of fieldwork, and did interviews with instructors and attendants. I explore how these experts (who ranged from PhDs in physics to self-taught individuals) framed the science of radiation for their audiences, the places in the food supply where they identified sources of uncertainty, and the practices they advocated to render food once again safe. Conversely, I explore what some of my informants did with that knowledge and the changes they effected on their food habits.

Safe food in Japan is often described as having both anzen and anshin (anzen anshinna shokushin — safe and trustworthy food). Anzen refers to the scientific and measurable ways of measuring safety, while anshin points to the subjective and emotional reactions people have about it. This formulation allows these two interrelated aspects to exist and be acknowledged in the same moment. I use this vocabulary of safety/certainty to think about how scientific knowledge is mobilized to make claims (either to reassure people or to caution them) after a disaster. Central to this formulation is that food safety is not a question of science alone, but also of trust. Scientific findings alone are just part of the story; whose science and from where the message comes from matters. Furthermore, the science behind long-term, low-level exposure to radiation is inconclusive, giving way to multiple interpretations of the danger of eating contaminated food after 3/11. I look at how experts sought to bridge scientific knowledge into something that could be trusted by their audience, and also how attendants dealt with it.

This formulation of safety as including both the scientific and the subjective would be useful to think about a wide variety of disasters and the risks they unchain. It works as a framing device that does not pit science versus irrational fear, but rather suggests that understandings of safety emerge in the interplay between anzen and anshin.

Disaster Scripting in India’s Nuclear Energy Landscape
Monamie Bhadra

Disasters provide a brief window into the previously black-boxed epistemic substrates of political and social systems, where one can explore how knowledge is produced and what kinds of knowledge come to bear on how publics, states and private interests understand, recover from, and attempt to put behind the devastation wrought by disasters. Yet, when previous disasters have mobilized various publics, the period of time leading to the disastrous event is not necessarily a period of quiescence, normalcy or non-disaster. The intervening time between a disaster fixed in history and the uncertain future when another disaster may or may not occur, can be understood as an phase when the script in anticipation of a disaster is negotiated, written and contested by different communities, often through the language of citizenship. In doing so, the contestations between the state, citizens and corporate interests create meaning, frame problems and possible solutions, choose victims and villains, and hash out the political contours of appropriate response long before the disaster ever takes place. In this paper, I aim to illustrate this disaster scripting through a study of the Indian nuclear landscape, particularly India’s burgeoning anti-nuclear movement and the Central Government’s nuclear establishment, and their responses to Fukushima and clashes with one another.

Even after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima and India’s own national tragedy at Bhopal, the Indian government continues to view nuclear energy as a way of ensuring energy security, combating climate change, and jump-starting an innovation-driven economy. Towards that end, India has invested immense political, economic and symbolic capital into realizing its visions of large-scale nuclear energy implementation. Yet, fisher-folk, farmers, and uranium miners affected by nuclear infrastructure siting decisions, including India’s long-standing, middle-class anti-nuclear activists, vehemently oppose this nuclear future, and in turn, have begun to counter with disaster scripts of their own.

Portraying potential nuclear disasters in broad temporal terms that encompass Fukushima, Bhopal and even the India’s Partition, Indian anti-nuclear activists are combining elements from the Standard Environmental Narrative of livelihood destruction and decay, nuclear exceptionalism, and a struggle for democracy into a comprehensive critique of nuclear energy, and expanding the boundaries of disaster to actively include social and political ramifications beyond the ecological devastation. Thus, they draw attention to nuclear energy as a sociotechnical disaster-in-the-making, both in terms of the potential for environmental catastrophe, but also how the existing democratic deficit in the Central Government’s response to the claims of activists, as well as the further marginalization of communities, is an ongoing political disaster, catalyzed by a secretive and obscurantist nuclear establishment. The government also engages in their own disaster scripting by trying to isolate Fukushima, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl as deviations and assert the controllability of future disasters that will likely not happen. Underlying these disaster scriptings, forged through government-civil society contestations, are deeper questions of the politics of knowledge, namely the construction of expertise, credibility and public trust.

Session 4b: “When Disasters End (Part II)”

Repurposing Place Online: Japan’s Push for Foreign Tourists after 3/11
Laura Beltz Imaoka (Department of Visual Studies, University of California, Irvine)

Despite the information rich environment of the Internet or news outlet’s desire to verify the credibility of their sources, global news events sparked by large-scale disasters make disparate sites of action appear as one moving drama with different vectors blurring the line between crisis and media sensation, thus creating geographic dissonance and confounding global understandings of local experiences. In the case of Japan’s triple disaster on March 11, 2011, the media effectively constructed in global minds that Japan, the nation as a whole, had become unsafe. For the tourism sector this had far reaching economic repercussions, resulting in a dramatic downturn of foreign tourists entering the country and a surprising number of tourists cancelling trips to areas located far from the disaster zone. In response, Japan’s government and various industries sought to utilize “Web 2.0” social media technologies to neutralize the negative effect of disaster news and inspire confidence in their country’s stability. These public relations campaigns, from official websites, encouraged positive multi-voiced global communication from foreign residents in Japan, and contests that provided paid-for travel to the country with the stipulation that winners use social media to promote tourism, provide a rich space to analyze not only the tensions between governments and media, but also the anxieties created over media’s new participatory context and the dual objectives repurposed messages cater to. How do local experiences get elided or highlighted within these campaigns? Whose voices are given more weight and for what purpose? In order to fully understand the lived

experiences of those effected by disasters, today’s mediated environment necessitates parsing through their production and consumption via communication technologies.

Furthermore, the mediated effect of the disaster on Japan’s global image highlights the pitfalls of information technology’s ability to improve geo-literacy. A second component to my proposed dissertation research asks how place is being repurposed and understood through communication technologies. In particular, I am interested in the implementation of geographic information systems (GIS) for disaster response and recovery programs, from earthquake maps, person finders, social network trends maps, to news network informational schematics. Defined conceptually, GIS encompasses any computerized system of a broad range of information that becomes geographic by its association with a set of geographic locations. While it is positioned as a functional tool or “technological fix” to better understand and manage the world around us, its application by public and private-sector actors has not necessarily overcome the complications of global cultural communication. Japan’s triple disaster presents an opportunity to study GIS’s “interpretive flexibility,” with questions of how to improve the communication of geographic information during and after global event disasters. To do so, I argue we must understand GIS as a commercial media platform that functions within the push and pull of governments, industries, news outlets, and their globally dispersed and socially connected audiences.

Community-Driven and Clustering Housing Recovery after Devastating Disaster
A Case Study on Hurricane Katrina and Great East Japan Earthquake
Tamiyo Kondo (Graduate School on Engineering, Kobe University) 

After devastating disaster, affected area lost all functions that are necessary for people to sustain their living. One of the most important functions to recover is housing which serves basis for a human life and community .The author has conducted research, mainly focusing on housing recovery, after Hurricane Katrina and Great East Japan Earthquake, both of which have similarities such as long-term flooding, wide area & long-term survivors’ evacuation, and destruction extent of built environment. This indicates that there is similar challenge for post-disaster recovery planning and housing recovery so that Japan can learn from Hurricane Katrina failure.

Kondo (2012) clarifies the housing rebuilding gap and jack-o’-lantern housing recovery phenomenon in three neighborhoods in city of New Orleans based on annual field survey, and find that individual housing rebuilding assistance program, the Road Home program, does not lead to community recovery. Also, the gap is formed not only by individual vulnerability but also by community network and tie which are key element for people to get information and decide to come back to their neighborhood.

The needed future research question is how to implement community-driven and clustering housing recovery that enables holistic community recovery in terms of planning, program, process and stakeholder participation perspectives. The author pay close attention to the housing development projects by community development corporations who are planning to cluster sold properties which are transferred by government institution through Road Home program in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina .In depopulating society and region, such as Tohoku region, this property swapping and clustering is effective to form compact community.

One of the significant points for Tohoku recovery after Great East Japan Earthquake is to regenerate community in socially, economically, and physically sustainable way. The hypothesis is that community-driven and clustering housing recovery would be a key for sustainable recovery.

In Tohoku region, the strongest government-driven planning project is “Promoting Group Relocation for Disaster Mitigation”, totally funded by national government, that is community relocation for mountain, which intends to decrease disaster risk for Tsunami. It is true that community relocation for mountain is one way of clustering housing recovery, but there are several problems. Firstly, there is significant gap in extent of community involvement. Secondly, there is little government support for housing rebuilding outside this program designated area. Historically, the housing policy in Japan is market-driven, same as in the U.S, and this means that there is little financial and technical government support for individual housing rebuilding after disaster. What our global society has to develop is to obtain the knowledge for community-driven and clustering housing recovery which leads to sustainable and resilient community.

Crossing the streams: locals, experts & knowledges in Tōhoku’s participatory recovery planning
Tyson Vaughan (PhD candidate, Dept. of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University
Fulbright-Hays Fellow, International Recovery Platform_

Nearly two years after the March 11, 2011 disasters, communities along the coast of Tōhoku are engaged in a range of recovery efforts, including public participation in recovery planning through machi-zukuri (“community building”) organizations. Local residents are working with (for the most part) non-local technical experts to re-imagine the future socio-technical configurations of their communities. In this context, what kinds of knowledge are salient, what are their roles, and how is this determined? Likewise, what kinds of knowledge are excluded? How does “local” or “expert” knowledge circulate among geographically, culturally and epistemically disparate communities? Drawing upon more than a year of empirical fieldwork, primarily in Kesennuma, Karakuwa and Kobe, this paper presents an analysis of these communities’ participatory recovery planning (PRP) endeavors, with implications for the rich tradition of scholarship in STS concerned with “lay/expert” interactions, “local” vs. expert knowledge, and “upstream” public engagement in initiatives for socio-technical change.

For example, one strain of that tradition has replaced a “deficit model” of an irrational and technically ignorant public with what could be construed as a deficit model of technical experts who appear unreflexively and institutionally blind to the situated character of knowledge, the nuances of local context, and the variegations of local ways of knowing. This study calls into question both models.

Empirical observations of PRP in Tōhoku only partially support either version of the “lay/expert divide,” instead revealing a more complex and nuanced portrait of two groups employing multiple strategies for mutual understanding as they “muddle through” the planning process together, groping toward an uncertain future.

This study focuses upon several communities being aided by experts from Kobe, arguably the hub of Japan’s post-disaster recovery expertise since its own experience with machi-zukuri-based PRP a!er the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995. A symmetrical analysis of the interactions between Tōhoku’s communities of tsunami survivors and Kobe’s “community” of experts requires a detailed understanding of each group’s history and culture. This paper summarizes the project’s historical and ethnographic research in order to trace the impacts of distinct histories and ways of living upon respective ways of knowing — and consequently upon the recovery planning process itself. The resulting analysis presents a cautionary tale for would-be champions of “upstream” public engagement: just as one actor’s “crisis” may be another’s “opportunity,” so is one actor’s “upstream” another’s “downstream,” and discursively rendering a given situation as one or the other constitutes an act of no small political consequence.

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