Indignez-Vous! ‘Fukushima’ New Media and Anti-Nuclear Activism in Japan

Indignez-Vous! ‘Fukushima’ New Media and Anti-Nuclear Activism in Japan

Article written by Nicola Liscutin a visiting research fellow at the University of Tokyo.

Nicola LiscutinIndignez-Vous!
‘Fukushima,’ New Media and Anti-Nuclear Activism
in Japan

Indignez-vous! Get angry, resist and fight
against the blatant social injustices in our world! Thus Stéphane Hessel, the
93-year old French former Resistance fighter, called on the youth in France,
and everywhere else, in his inspirational pamphlet published in France in 2010.
It has since been translated into dozens of languages, though not yet into
Japanese. Indignation, for Hessel, provided the fundamental motivation for the
Resistance movement in Nazi-occupied France, and he finds plenty of reasons for
outrage today.

Anti-nuclear activism in Japan has grown at
astonishing speed in response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis and its
handling by the authorities. Over the past months, not a week has gone by
without anti-nuclear protests taking place somewhere in Japan (see the
nation-wide action calendar). In September, an intriguing array of new and
established citizens’ movements had called for an ‘anti-nuclear action week’
that was packed with rallies, lectures, symposia, film screenings, exhibitions
and various other events. On 9.11, protests were staged across Japan, with
three demonstrations in Tokyo alone. The action week culminated in a c. 60,000
people rally in Meiji Park on September 19 kicking off a movement to collect 10
million signatures for the Sayonara Gempatsu petition. Given that by the
summer, forgetting seemed already to have begun, at least beyond Tohoku, the
nation-wide spread of these protests and their demographics are remarkable:
from seasoned demonstrators to the many who confessed that this was their very
first protest action; from families bringing their toddlers and children, to
teenagers, students, freeters, the middle-aged, and pensioners. This article
examines the structures of resistance.

Nicola Liscutin is currently a Visiting
Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo.

Recommended citation: Nicola Liscutin,
‘Indignez-Vous! ‘Fukushima,’ New Media and Anti-Nuclear Activism in Japan,’ The
Asia-Pacific Journal Vol. 9, Issue 47 No 1, November 21, 2011.

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