S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소) Development and Society Development and Society Vol.42 No.1/2 (2013)
“Structural Disaster” Long Before Fukushima: A Hidden Accident
- Matsumoto, Miwao
- Issue Date
- Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
- Development and Society, Vol.42 No.2, pp. 165-190
- Structural Disaster; Secrecy; Fukushima Accident; Functional Disintegration; Science-Technology-Society Interface
- This is a shortened revised version of my paper presented at the Advanced Summer School of Nuclear Engineering and Management with Social Scientific Literacy, July 31-August 6, 2011, University of California, Berkeley.
- This paper attempts to shed fresh light on the structural causes of the Fukushima accident by illuminating the patterns of behavior of the agents involved in the little-known but serious accident that occurred immediately before World War II. Despite the expected incalculable damages caused by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, critical information was restricted to government insiders. This state of affairs reminds us of the state of prewar Japanese wartime mobilization in which all information was controlled under the name of supreme governmental authority. This paper argues that we can take the comparison more seriously as far as the patterns of behavior of the agents involved are concerned. The conceptual tool that is employed to that end is the “structural disaster” of the science-technology-society interface. This paper will contextualize the sociological implications of this prewar accident that happened long before the Fukushima accident for all of us who face the post-Fukushima situation with particular focus on the subtle relationship between success and failure.