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Michael Adam Fisch
University of Chicago (Chicago, IL 60637-5418)

Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan
Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022

Ecological Governance and the Political Cultures of Disaster in Japan

Research and writing leading to a book on how the science and design of disaster-resilient infrastructure have evolved in Japan since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

My study explores modes of ecological governance that have emerged in Japan during reconstruction from the 2011 Great Northeast Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. It pays particular attention to different approaches among Japan's civil engineers and environmental groups to the science and design of disaster resilient infrastructure. I show how Japan's experience distills the dual challenges in ecological governance of creating sustainability and disaster resilience. I argue that Japan thus offers crucial insights for nations throughout the world that are recovering from natural disasters or preparing for anticipated extreme weather events in the near future. Much of the current scholarship on ecological governance is based on short-term case studies in the fields of legal studies, civil engineering, economics, and political science. My study contributes qualitative depth to this work through long-term ethnographic research.