Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University


PESD News



September 4, 2012

Higuchi: Fukushima Daiichi failures not uniquely Japanese

CISAC, FSI Stanford in the news: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on September 4, 2012

Toshihiro Higuchi, historian and 2011-2012 CISAC fellow, explains how the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear incident was not due to Japanese cultural shortcomings. He criticizes Japanese officials as using two sides of the the same coin: pre-Fukushima, they praised the safety record as a testament to Japanese self-discipline, harmony and professionalism. In the aftermath of the nuclear accident, they now say the failures are due to obedience, groupism, and narrow-mindedness. Blaming the problem on cultural factors prevents long-lasting reform.