2017: Transnational Environmental Activism in Japan

Security in East Asia  -  China - USA - Japan - Korea
The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus,  Volume 15 | Issue 14 | Number 2 | Jul 15, 2017
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Foccus

Transnational Environmental Activism and Japan’s Second Modernity

Simon Avenell

This article examines the new sphere of transnational activism in the Japanese environmental movement of the 1970s. What was previously a domestic phenomenon of local mobilizations against pollution and development expanded into a new array of transnational initiatives, many with a specific focus on pollution in the countries of East Asia. The article focuses on a transnational movement involving South Korean and Japanese activists to stop the relocation of a polluting mercurochrome plant from Japan to South Korea. I argue that such transnational involvement had a significant impact on activist identity. Within the framework of the Japanese nation, activists could seamlessly position themselves as victims of the state and industry. But transnational involvement upset this schematic by exposing their complicity in the transgressions of Japanese industry abroad. The result, I argue, was a more self-reflexive activist identity and the development of a kind of grassroots regional consciousness within some Japanese civic movements throughout the 1970s.

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