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Japan’s Evolving Civic Environmentalism

Occupy the Earth: Global Environmental Movements

ISBN: 978-1-78350-697-2, eISBN: 978-1-78350-686-6

ISSN: 2051-5030

Publication date: 26 November 2014

Abstract

Japan’s civic environmentalism combines a tradition of local protest and activism with a national environmental movement that is limited in size and policy influence. A strong legislative and administrative response to the country’s severe pollution crisis of the 1960s and 1970s helped tamp down that era’s wave of protests and keep the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in power. While the state has generally supported local organizations engaged in environmental improvement activities, it has erected barriers that limit the scope of non-governmental organization (NGO) activities and inhibit the development of an influential national environmental movement. The 1990s reforms, inspired in part by the citizen response to the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, made it easier for NGOs to attain legal status and raise funds. Yet Japan’s civic environmentalism – by most measures – still lags well behind that of peer industrialized countries. The 2011 tsunami and nuclear crisis brought another opportunity for major reforms to the nation’s civic environmental culture – but the evidence to date indicates that the much anticipated transformation is turning out to be of a lesser magnitude than many had initially expected.

Keywords

Citation

Mason, R.J. (2014), "Japan’s Evolving Civic Environmentalism", Occupy the Earth: Global Environmental Movements (Advances in Sustainability and Environmental Justice, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 37-61. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2051-503020140000015001

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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