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Transnational Japan in the Global Environmental Movement$

Simon Avenell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824867133

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824867133.001.0001

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Japan and the Global Environmental Movement

(p.1) Introduction
Transnational Japan in the Global Environmental Movement

Simon Avenell

University of Hawai'i Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces the central arguments of the book. It discusses how industrial pollution in 1960s Japan produced a powerful environmental injustice paradigm which helped to fuel later transnational activism. The chapter highlights the role of leading activists who served as “rooted cosmopolitans,” connecting struggles separated by national borders. The chapter suggests that Japanese transnational environmental activism is a good example of the ways local experience can engender border-crossing solidarities and struggles.

Keywords:   environmental injustice paradigm, rooted cosmopolitans, localism, Japanese industrial pollution

I’ve often said that the problems of pollution in Japan, though regarded as a trifling matter by some, portend the destiny of the whole world.

Ui Jun, 19751

In a document prepared for the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE) in 1972, the activist-engineer Ui Jun declared that Japan prob ably had “the worst environmental pollution problems of any country in the world.”2 Rejecting triumphalist rhetoric about Japan’s economic “miracle,” Ui described instead an archipelago disfigured by “pollution department stores” with all measure of ground, water, and atmospheric contaminants.3 Richard Curtis and Dave Fisher of the New York Times could only agree. In a 1971 article for the newspaper, the journalists included smogchoked Tokyo in their list of the “seven pollution wonders of the world,” and they irreverently advised travelers to pack a “gasmask.”4 Echoing this sentiment, at the first Earth Day in the United States in 1970 and at UNCHE in 1972 environmental activists marched with placards demanding “No More Tokyos!” and “No More Minamatas.” For the influential biologist and environmental advocate Paul Ehrlich, Japan was akin to the coal miner’s canary of old: just as the tiny bird had alerted miners to potentially fatal gases, the situation in Japan presaged for humanity an impending global crisis born of industrial pollution and overpopulation.5 Even William D. Ruckelshaus, head of the newly established Environmental Protection Agency in the United States, found the Japanese case expedient. In arguing for the merits of the Clean Air Act of 1970, Ruckelshaus invoked frightening images (p.2) of Tokyo, with its “world-class smog” and traffic policemen shielded by pollution-filtering facemasks.6 Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, engineers designing a state-of-the-art petrochemical facility in Finland carefully scrutinized Japan’s infamous Yokkaichi petrochemical complex, site of asphyxiating air pollution that had caused nearby residents to literally cough themselves to death.7

Indeed, Japan’s ascent as a polluters’ paradise and the struggles of its pollution victims propelled the country to the very forefront of a historic global environmental awakening in the 1960s. Japanese industrial pollution, its victims, and the country’s environmental activists became influential components of what Ursula Heise has called the environmental imagination of the global: a moment when the entire planet arguably became “graspable as one’s own backyard.”8 Metaphors such as “Spaceship Earth” and the hauntingly beautiful images of Earth from the Lunar Orbiter satellites and the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s encapsulated this sense of a solitary planet with a finite stock of resources and a fragile biosphere. The famous Apollo 8 “Earthrise” image, of the planet appearing from behind the moon, and the later “Blue Marble” photo graph taken from Apollo 17 helped shape a growing sentiment that the environmental issues of one region could no longer be ignored as the problems of those “over there.”

One only need consider the simultaneity of environmental events worldwide to appreciate how Japan became part of a genuinely global-historical moment. In the United States in 1962, marine biologist Rachel Carson shocked the nation with her best seller Silent Spring on pesticides and environmental poisons (translated into Japanese in 1964). Only two years later, in 1964, economist Miyamoto Ken’ichi and engineer Shōji Hikaru provoked similar outrage in Japan with their book Osorubeki Kōgai (Fearsome pollution), which documented chronic industrial contamination throughout the archipelago. Antipollution and environmental conservation movements proliferated worldwide at this time, not only in the rich “North” but also in developing nations of the global South, as in India where the Chipko or “tree-hugging” movement began in the early 1970s and in Kenya where Wangari Maathai established her famous Green Belt Movement in 1977. Influential international environmental nongovernmental organizations (ENGOs) such as Friends of the Earth (FoE) (1969) and Greenpeace (1971) also formed during this period, and mass media reportage increased dramatically, fueled by numerous high-profile pollution disasters such as Minamata disease in Japan in the late 1950s; the Torrey Canyon oil tanker spill off the (p.3) coast of Cornwall, Eng land, in 1967; and the Union Oil Company platform explosion off the Santa Barbara coast in 1969. Governments were also drawn into the environmental maelstrom as they groped to address mounting public concern about pollution. In 1970 the British government established the world’s first cabinet-level Environment Department, followed shortly thereafter by establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States in 1970, the Environment Agency of Japan (EAJ), and Ministère de l’Environnement in France in 1971.9 And, at the international level, the convening of UNCHE (the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment) in 1972 broke ground not only as the first UN conference dedicated to a single issue—namely, the environment—but also as a formative networking opportunity for NGOs, including Japanese victims’ groups, which traveled to Sweden to participate.

It was against this backdrop of worldwide environmental awakening that Ui Jun could speak of the global-historical significance of his country’s pollution situation. As he argued in the 1970s, people elsewhere cared about Japan’s polluted archipelago because they could see in it the fate of their own countries. Moreover, they were genuinely interested in the movements of ordinary Japanese citizens, which were battling environmental contamination and human poisoning of a form, scale, and intensity never before experienced by humanity. For Ui’s colleague Miyamoto Ken’ichi, Japan had become a “laboratory for pollution” without precedent in world history, with its toxic mixture of “new pollution” born of recent breakneck economic development and “old pollution” carried over from the first phases of heavy industrialization in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.10 As the historian Julia Adeney Thomas has more recently observed, Japan has been less a “peculiarity” than “a participant in the global problematic.”11 “Demographically and in other ways,” Thomas suggests, Japan “provides a laboratory for thinking about the global future in relation to the national past.”12 The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after an earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and the resultant worldwide debate about the safety of nuclear power attests to the ongoing relevance of particular national experiences like those in Japan for debates concerning our global future.

Japan’s Environmental Injustice Paradigm and the Role of Rooted Cosmopolitans

In this book I use the national history—or, more correctly, the many local histories—of pollution and protest in postwar Japan as a springboard to (p.4) investigate an untold transnational history of Japanese environmental activism. I argue that the seminal encounter with industrial pollution—encapsulated in what I call Japan’s “environmental injustice paradigm”—has been a critical and ongoing source of motivation for Japanese environmental activism not only within but also, importantly, beyond the archipelago. The agonizing experience of industrial pollution victims in local communities throughout the archipelago inspired some Japanese activists to look abroad, and it profoundly shaped the messages they sent to the world—even when interest shifted from localized pollution to the global environment in the late 1980s. For many Japanese activists who became involved transnationally, industrial pollution victims represented living proof of an unbreakable chain linking political and economic power, environmental degradation, and the violation of basic human rights. On a personal level, the encounter with shocking environmental injustices served as a powerful motivation to act. As scientists, activists, and victims from the world’s most polluted nation, individuals such as Ui Jun felt an intense responsibility to ensure that such human injury and injustice did not occur elsewhere.

Although this environmental injustice paradigm underwent important modifications in the process of transnational involvement, throughout the book I show how it provided a coherent vocabulary and concrete vision for groups engaged in a diversity of transnational initiatives over many decades. In essence it was a decidedly anthropocentric and localistic vision of environmentalism that focused attention on the grassroots victims of environmental contamination and degradation, such as industrial pollution disease sufferers and, later, the marginalized people of developing nations. The paradigm pointed to the responsibility of conscientious and knowledgeable individuals to offer support for these local victims and to resist the forces of industrial modernity and capitalist expansion that wreaked havoc on marginalized communities. Although this vision was sensitive to the class implications of environmental injustice, it recognized that class alone was insufficient to explain such injustice or to fashion an effective grassroots response. As the Japanese experience revealed, the victims of pollution did not always fit easily into orthodox class categories, nor did the allies and enemies of protest movements. Moreover, born as it was in the context of local suffering in the face of all-encompassing ideologies of economic growth and the national interest in postwar Japan, the paradigm incorporated a degree of skepticism toward collectivist global discourses like “Spaceship Earth” or “our common future” because experience in Japan taught that such ideas tended to obscure (p.5) instances of local injustice, marginalization, and discrimination as much as they expressed any sense of comradery or common predicament. Coming as it did at a moment of heightened attention to both the environment and human rights worldwide in the 1970s, this focus on the local and injustice propelled Japanese environmental advocates and victims to the very center of debates about the environment and development, the “limits to growth,” and the objectives of environmentalism in a world of extreme inequity.13

There is a vigorous debate among theorists in globalization studies over the positioning and significance of the local in a global age. Some, such as the eco-critic Ursula Heise, subscribe to a resolutely cosmopolitan and globalist agenda that privileges an enlightened “sense of planet” over a blinkered “sense of place.” Heise is skeptical about the value of local knowledge in the environmental movement, arguing that while a “sense of place” might be useful “for environmentally oriented arguments,” it “becomes a visionary dead end if it is understood as a founding ideological principle or a principal didactic means of guiding individuals and communities back to nature.”14 Heise points to the “ambivalent ethical and political consequences that might follow from encouraging attachments to place,” and she criticizes proponents of the local, such as deep ecology founder Arne Naess, who assume the spontaneity and naturalness of “sociocultural, ethical, and affective allegiances” at the local level while disregarding the possibility of meaningful attachments at larger scales.15 Instead of “focusing on the recuperation of a sense of place,” argues Heise, “environmentalism needs to foster an understanding of how a wide variety of both natural and cultural places and processes are connected and shape each other around the world, and how human impact affects and changes this connectedness.”16

At the other end of the spectrum are thinkers like Arif Dirlik, who see the local as a necessary counterweight to the hegemony of globalism. Dirlik argues that, precisely because of the entanglement of “contemporary place consciousness” within globalization, “places offer a counter-paradigm for grasping contemporary realities,” and “an alternative vision that focuses not on the off-ground operations of global capital … but on the concrete conditions of everyday life.”17 From a slightly different perspective, Sheila Jasanoff and Marybeth Long Martello have questioned the “wholesale adoption of shared environmental ontologies among the nations of the earth.”18 They point to the centrality of the local in environmental activism, which has derived “emotional force” from attachments to “particular places, landscapes, livelihoods, and to an ethic of communal living that can sustain (p.6) stable, long-term regimes for the protection of shared resources.”19 They criticize social science for not adequately incorporating “the resurgence of local epistemologies and their associated politics in the context of globalization,” and they call for a conceptualization of the local beyond the epitome of every thing “prescientific, traditional, doomed to erasure, and hence not requiring rigorous analysis.” Jasanoff and Martello note how the local has been reconstituted and made “richer” through policymaking for the environment and development. No longer is the local constrained to “spatial or cultural particularity,” but it becomes also a signifier for “particular communities, histories, institutions, and even expert bodies.” The “modern local,” Jasanoff and Martello argue, is distinguished not by parochialism but by the way it produces “situated knowledge” that creates “communal affiliations” built on “knowing the world in particular ways.”20 Here they borrow from the globalization scholar Roland Robertson, who famously proposed the notion of “glocalization” in an attempt to highlight the entanglement of the local in translocal, supra-local, and global processes.21 The local is certainly being reconstituted through globalization, but it retains import as a situated perspective. As the feminist scholar Donna Haraway has astutely put it, “The only way to find a larger vision is to be somewhere in particular.”22

The local is at the center of the transnational history I recount in this book. For the Japanese activists and groups I explore herein, the local—whether understood as national or subnational space(s)—was a key source of inspiration and by no means a visionary dead end when it came to engaging with global environmental problems. In the 1960s and 1970s, for instance, pioneering advocates for local pollution victims such as Ui Jun and the physician Harada Masazumi undertook overseas investigative tours, which offered the domestic movement an invaluable comparative perspective on the dynamics of Japanese pollution—how it differed from and how it resembled pollution elsewhere. These early transnational environmental advocates used such opportunities to communicate the tragic story of Japanese industrial pollution and injustice to the world. In turn, their knowledge informed and invigorated environmental struggles worldwide, as in Canada where indigenous communities battled mercury contamination in the 1970s, and at UNCHE in 1972 where the Japanese experience became a leitmotif for environmental decay under advanced capitalism. In the 1970s and 1980s Japanese environmental activists extended their reach throughout Asia and the Pacific, protesting the relocation of polluting industries to (p.7) other East Asian nations and governmental plans to dump radioactive waste in the Pacific Ocean. Articulating their critique, activists pointed to the Japanese pollution experience, arguing that corporations and the government had a moral obligation to not replicate these injustices elsewhere. With the emergence of global-scale environmental issues such as climate change in the late 1980s, Japanese activists modified their message of environmental injustice again: rich countries that were primarily responsible for global-scale environmental problems had no right to demand environmental compliance from developing nations without guarantees of substantive material compensation for centuries of imperialism and exploitation.

What this history reveals, then, is a Japanese environmental movement deeply enmeshed in the contemporary global movement yet driven by a profound sense of responsibility born of very local experiences with environmental injustice. In other words, this is not a history in which “parochial” or “narrow” local sentiments and perspectives finally matured into a “superior” cosmopolitan mentality. On the contrary, it is a history in which transnational involvement became a conduit through which the local could be relativized, understood, and repositioned within regional and global imaginaries without losing its centrality as a site of struggle and identity.

Scholarship to date has masterfully recounted this tortuous, often-tragic, and occasionally redemptive local experience in Japan.23 It began around the mid-1950s, when numerous cases of toxic industrial contamination and urban pollution emerged. In regional communities methyl mercury, cadmium, and other chemical pollutants contaminated local ecosystems and poisoned human bodies, while in cities like Tokyo children collapsed in school playgrounds from photochemical smog pollution. In response, people in isolated villages, regional cities, and crowded metropolises mobilized in protracted struggles against the corporations that poisoned their bodies and the government officials who obstructed protest and accused victims of local egoism. Their wave of protest and struggle for justice was, to a great extent, a response to the idiosyncrasies of the country’s modern political and economic institutions, which endorsed essentially unrestrained industrial—and, for a time, military—expansion from the mid-nineteenth century onward. This postwar history of industrial pollution is also a story of how legislative and institutional changes ensued, how local governments flexed their progressive muscles, and, ultimately, how by the early 1970s a national pollution disaster was, if not eradicated, significantly ameliorated. To be sure, there were very important instances of industrial pollution in (p.8) Japan before this period, for instance at the Ashio and Besshi copper mines and at the Northern Kyushu Yahata Steelworks. But the postwar encounter with and reaction to industrial pollution was of a scale, intensity, and impact unique in modern Japanese and, perhaps, global history. For certain activists such as Ui Jun, it even portended the “destiny” of the whole world.

As Brett Walker, Timothy George, Ui Jun, Iijima Nobuko, Ishimure Michiko, and others have masterfully and sensitively shown, industrial pollution victims occupy a central place in this history.24 According to Walker, the core of the national pollution experience in Japan was pain, especially pain inflicted on the weak, the old, the young, the unborn, the marginalized, and the politically disenfranchised. In order to legitimize its claims upon citizens to endure pain and even death for the nation, the Japanese state (but, of course, not only the Japanese state) has devoted a great deal of energy to what Walker characterizes as a process of “interpreting and contextualizing such pain as dignified national sacrifice.” Yet, as Walker points out, not all forms of pain have been so easily absorbed into national narratives and mythologies of selfless sacrifice. In particular, “pain caused by industrial pollution is less easily interpreted and contextualized as dignified and so can prove … dangerously subversive to the nation and those who tell its stories.”25 Indeed, so subversive was the experience of pain and discrimination from industrial pollution in Japan, I argue, that it formed the foundations of a powerful environmental injustice paradigm that inspired some Japanese to take action even beyond the archipelago—to communicate the national experience of environmental injustice to the world. The groups I explore in this study took great care to conscientiously knit this local experience of pain and injustice into the very fabric of their movements to address environmental problems threatening other countries and the globe. They were convinced that local experience, sentiment, and suffering such as that at Minamata Bay or along the Jinzū River could be—in fact, had to be—translated across geographical, political, and cultural space to become the raw material for struggles elsewhere.

In this book I first want to show how Japanese transnational activists have practiced agency beyond, yet always in connection to, the national and the local. The Ghanaian philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah has articulated this sentiment most eloquently in his musings on the plausibility of a “rooted cosmopolitanism.” For Appiah, the rooted cosmopolitan experience is made possible not because of some “common capacity for reason” but via “a different human capacity that grounds our sharing: namely the grasp of (p.9) a narrative logic that allows us to construct the world to which our imaginations respond.”26 For Japanese transnational activists this meant understanding narratives of pollution and resistance from abroad through the familiar lens of local experience, as if observing a different yet recognizable reflection in a mirror. As Appiah puts it, “Cosmopolitanism can work because there can be common conversations about these shared ideas and objects.”27 He prefers a “form of universalism that is sensitive to the ways in which historical context may shape the significance of a practice.”28 This is, admittedly, an elusive sentiment to pin down, hovering, as it does, between the particular and the universal. But it seems to me to best encapsulate the standpoint of most transnational environmental activists in Japan throughout the period under study.

The social movement scholar Sidney Tarrow offers an excellent characterization of this locally informed yet globally sensitive “rooted cosmopolitan” mindset that I see emerging and developing within Japanese activists and groups involved transnationally from the late 1960s onward. Tarrow defines transnational activists as “people and groups who are rooted in specific national contexts, but who engage in contentious political activities that involve them in transnational networks of contacts and conflicts.”29 Rootedness for Tarrow stems from the fact that, even as activists “move physically and cognitively outside their origins, they continue to be linked to place, to the social networks that inhabit that space, and to the resources, experiences, and opportunities that place provides them with.”30 It is not a process of activists “migrating” from the domestic to the international but, rather, activists deploying local “resources and opportunities to move in and out of international institutions, processes, and alliances.”31 In this way, transnational activists become the “connective tissue of the global and the local, working as activators, brokers, and advocates for claims both domestic and international.”32 This aspiration among some Japanese environmental activists to act as the connective tissue between geographically separated struggles and to project their worldview of environmental injustice onto movements in other countries and global initiatives is at the heart of the concept of agency I will illustrate throughout this book: specific local experiences of environmental injustice provided them with the raw material for a larger vision and mission. The activities of these rooted cosmopolitans provide a marvelous methodological tool for tracking the ways notions of environmental injustice were first absorbed within the activist community in Japan and then transmitted by some across borders.

(p.10) Transnational Activism and the Historical Development of Japanese Civic Activism

The second and related argument of this book is that a transnational historical perspective can tell us important new things about the trajectory of Japanese environmental activism—and, perhaps, Japanese civic activism more generally—after the country’s massive wave of domestic environmental protest in the 1960s and early 1970s. Most obviously, this transnational history complicates notions of a social movement “ice age” in Japan from around the mid-1970s onward. Throughout the book I show the palpable influence of Japanese activism on environmental developments in countries as far afield as Finland and in international organizations such as the United Nations. Japanese activists injected their struggle against environmental injustice into a range of movements addressing issues such as chemical contamination in Canada, Italy, and Thailand; air pollution in the Philippines; radioactive waste dumping in Micronesia; deforestation in Malaysia; and global climate change. Moreover, a transnational perspective reveals how exogenous forces (i.e., extranational forces) may have shaped civic activism in the country in a kind of boomerang effect.33 A key objective of this work is to show how transnational involvement stimulated ideational transformations within some leading civic activists and groups in Japan, especially with respect to notions of victimhood prevalent in many Japanese movements of the early postwar period.

Leading civic activists and scholars alike have spoken of an “ice age” for contentious activism in Japan after the high point of antipollution protests in the early 1970s.34 Herein Japanese environmental activism—actually, contentious, advocacy-focused activism more generally—arguably entered a period of prolonged stagnation, only to reignite again in the 1990s fueled by the new political opportunities of a recessionary Japan and the influence of new norms supportive of civil society.35 The ice age thesis is highly persuasive to the extent that it explains the mechanisms behind the waning of overt, widespread protest in the early 1970s. Robert Pekkanen, for instance, explains the mid-1970s transition from contentious activism to an “ice age” of “inward-looking consumer identity-focused groups” in terms of the “regulatory framework,” which made it extremely difficult for most civic movements to grow and institutionalize.36 In his classic study on the law and social change in Japan, Frank Upham pointed to the role of officials in formulating countermeasures to preempt and manage open conflicts like the one they (p.11) faced at Minamata Bay.37 From a different perspective, I have also identified the role of leading civic activists in endorsing noncontentious forms of associational activity after the turbulence of the late 1960s and early 1970s—ineffect facilitating the “deep freeze.”38

But, as Pekkanen, I, and many other scholars recognize and have shown, an ice age should not be interpreted as an extinction.39 Just as some life survives—indeed thrives—in climatic ice ages, so too in social movement ice ages. After the cycle of protest receded (as all protest cycles do), contentious environmental activism continued in myriad ways both domestically and transnationally, albeit in a different and far less visible or widespread manner than the 1970s high point.40 As I show in subsequent chapters, one of these historical trajectories played out transnationally in manifold movements that crossed the borders of the archipelago relatively unnoticed, only to become visible periodically when they confronted national and international political institutions and multinational corporations. In fact, the notion of a movement ice age is, no doubt, partially a by-product of our choosing a particular scale of analysis. Focusing on the national level and below has made the transnational movements I explore in this book virtually invisible to date and has arguably contributed to both activist and scholarly notions of an ice age for contentious civic activism from the mid-1970s onward. There was undoubtedly a waning of high-profile and widespread environmental protest in the early 1970s in Japan, but shifting the spotlight to transnational activism complicates the sense of complete rupture or dis-juncture implicit in the idea of a movement ice age followed by a thawing in the 1990s. Indeed, the following chapters point to fascinating continuities in contentious environmental activism linking the era of pollution protest to the 1990s resurgence of civil society and the rise of movements advocating for the global environment in Japan.

By examining involvement beyond the archipelago, we discover how Japanese activists and groups contributed to a nascent environmental “transnationality” worldwide based on “the rise of new communities and formation of new social identities and relations” not definable “through the traditional reference point of nation-states.”41 As these activists searched globally for answers to Japanese pollution, they became part of the global environmental awakening of the 1960s and 1970s. They were drawn into what Sheila Jasanoff and Peter Haas have called “epistemic” networks and communities, and they became part of emergent environmental “transnational advocacy networks.”42 Some of these spaces Japanese activists helped (p.12) to construct were actual physical places such as the parallel NGO forums at UN environmental conferences, while others were more like shared experiential spaces such as the meetings between Japanese Minamata disease sufferers and Canadian Indians poisoned by mercury in the 1970s. As Mathias Albert and others contend, such “transnational political spaces” become “crucial locations for the production of cultures and cultural spaces,” and, even more significantly, they can also become “new political spaces above and beyond the nation-state framework.”43 At NGO conferences held parallel to UNCHE (1972) and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, 1992), for example, Japanese activists played a role in the construction of an emergent transnational, even global, civil society in which participants were beginning to experiment with new forms of citizenship “beyond the state.”44 As I discuss further in the conclusion, the transnational engagement of the Japanese environmental groups analyzed in subsequent chapters was, in fact, part of a wider spectrum of Japanese transnational activism that began to expand and diversify from the 1970s. Along with environmental groups, activists involved in peace and antiwar issues, women’s liberationism, Asian developmental assistance, and Japan–South Korean grassroots relations all became active from around the early 1970s. This study hopes to contribute to this largely unresearched history through its focus on transnational Japanese environmental activism.

Significantly, participation in these spaces emboldened and empowered Japanese groups to exert pressure back on to Japanese political and economic institutions and, in some cases, to force substantive modifications in behaviors, policies, and practices. Margaret E. Keck and Kathryn Sikkink’s groundbreaking research on transnational advocacy networks is particularly important in this context.45 As Keck and Sikkink explain, such networks are “bound together by shared values, a common discourse, and dense exchanges of information and services.” They are influential on multiple levels—locally, nationally, regionally, internationally, and transnationally. They build “links among actors in civil societies, states and international organizations,” thereby multiplying “the opportunities for dialogue and exchange.” Importantly, through their engagement in advocacy networks, activists “bring new ideas, norms and discourses into policy debates, and serve as sources of information and testimony.” By making “international resources” such as ideas about the environment available in domestic struggles, (p.13) they blur “the boundaries between a state’s relations with its own nationals” and, in the process, challenge the previously impermeable barrier of national sovereignty.

Keck and Sikkink also describe a “boomerang pattern of influence” of transnational networks, in which “international contacts can ‘amplify’ the demands of domestic groups, pry open space for new issues, and then echo these demands back into the domestic arena.”46 Faced with new pressures from without, unresponsive states are often left with no choice but to act. The Japanese government’s abandonment of plans to dump radioactive waste in the Pacific Ocean in the early 1980s, which I explore in chapter 5, is a good example of Japanese activists shrewdly using transnational alliances to influence domestic policymaking.

But this boomerang pattern of influence operated not only at the level of political and economic institutions: activists often found themselves, their messages, and their movements transformed in the process of engaging abroad. Thus, another central objective of this study is to examine the ways Japanese environmental activists and their environmental injustice paradigm changed in response to transnational involvement and, moreover, the consequences of this for the development of civic activism in Japan more generally. In the following chapters I endeavor to show how transnationalism—“the ongoing interconnection or flow of people, ideas, objects, and capital across the borders of nation-states”—had a lasting effect on the way the Japanese activists involved contextualized and positioned local and national phenomena, most notably the trauma of industrial pollution in Japan.47 Interactions abroad forced them to think very carefully about the possible limitations of understanding environmental injustice through the lens of Japanese victimhood alone. As they engaged with activists throughout East Asia and the Pacific in the 1970s and 1980s, for example, Japanese activists learned that the success of their local struggles might even, and ironically, be contributing to the suffering of people elsewhere as Japanese companies relocated polluting industries offshore. I believe activists’ reflexive awakening to their complicit “aggression” in this system marks an important ideational development in the mentality of postwar civic groups in Japan.

The kind of ideational change I am referring to becomes clearer if we consider what came before. Social movements (labor, student, antipollution, women, peace, and antiwar) flourished in post–World War II Japan in great part because of the legal and institutional reforms carried out by the US-led (p.14) occupation from 1945 to 1951. In terms of popular political empowerment, these were critical reforms indeed because, until the enactment of the postwar constitution, legally there were no sovereign citizens in Japan, only subjects of a sovereign emperor. The postwar constitution, however, abolished imperial sovereignty and made almost all Japanese people fully enfranchised citizens of a liberal-democratic polity for the first time in the country’s history. The constitution also guaranteed a space for Japanese people to legally engage in civic activism and protest without the fear of imprisonment. The country’s conservative politicians and bureaucrats did their very best to stymie these newly won freedoms and to curtail the new civic movements, but they could not control popular energies as clinically and violently as had been possible under the prewar regime. So, in this sense, de jure (i.e., national state) citizenship in a democratized Japanese nation made possible—for the first time—citizenship as a normative project constructed through the collective and individual practices and ideas of individuals in a civil society. As Wesley Sasaki-Uemura and others have shown, the Japanese people embraced their new freedoms of association and speech and, through grassroots civic activism, they imagined new forms of citizenship beyond (and often in conflict with) national state citizenship—what we might call the citizenships of civil society.48 These new imaginations of citizenship in turn served as the ideological foundations of social movements that challenged the state and its postwar drive for reconstruction and relentless economic growth.49

In their earliest formations, civic movements tended to adhere to a reactive or defensive model of activism premised on a model of victimized citizens mobilizing to resist the infiltration of powerful political and economic institutions into their daily lives.50 Civil society was most often understood as the sanctuary inside which activists could form tight bonds of solidarity and mount their mobilizations of resistance. There was no gray area here: the state and corporations were aggressors and Japanese citizens were always victims. This imagination of victimhood based on “civil society versus the state and the corporation” bore the imprint of history, since it grew directly out of activists’ experience of suppression under war time militarism coupled with their visceral reaction to the reemergence of conservative rule in the postwar era.

But the late 1960s and 1970s marked a turning point in this mentality, thanks in great part to the influence of transnationally active groups and individuals. The earlier defensive model of citizenship based on defense of the local did not dis appear as a motivating factor and key source of identity but, through transnational involvement, the activists involved now also recognized (p.15) and advocated the need for a reflexive activist agenda cognizant of their ambivalent position as both victims and aggressors. The novelist and anti–Vietnam War activist Oda Makoto was the earliest and most vocal mouthpiece for this sentiment in his characterization of ordinary Japanese people as both victims and aggressors in the context of the Vietnam War. Prior to this conflict, Japanese antiwar pacifism was characterized by a strong sense of popular victimization by the war time Japanese state, the American atomic bombings, and the continued US military presence in the country. This mentality carried over into the Japanese anti–Vietnam War movement to the extent that activists superimposed their past experience as “war victims” on to the current plight of the Vietnamese people. But seeing the multidimensional involvement of the Japanese economy and government in the Vietnam War prompted Oda to challenge this logic. As he explained in a seminal 1966 essay, “Heiwa o Tsukuru” (Making peace), Japanese citizens were certainly victims to the extent they had suffered in the latter stages of the Pacific War and afterward as residents of a quasi-US protectorate. But, according to Oda, to the extent Japanese benefited and prospered as citizens and consumers in this system, they also became accomplices and “aggressors” against the Vietnamese people—albeit indirectly.51 Oda’s presentation of Japan and, more importantly, Japanese civic activists as aggressors provided the ethical foundations for later mobilizations against so-called Japanese Hyena corporations profiting from the Vietnam War, but it also complicated seamless discourses of grassroots victimhood prominent in earlier movements.

Women’s groups active transnationally from the early 1970s also expressed a growing sensitivity toward their complicity as Japanese citizens. Activists opposing so-called kiseng sex tourism by Japanese men in South Korea, for example, called on Japanese women to bravely face their “aggression” toward Asia both in the past as “women on the home front” who had supported the war and, in the present, as the mothers and wives of “corporate warriors” involved in sex tourism in South Korea and elsewhere. Among the various subcommittees at the 1974 Conference of Asians (discussed in chapter 4) was a women’s group that addressed issues such as political oppression, labor discrimination, and the sexual exploitation of women in Asia. The group highlighted the “shocking reality” that the expansion of Japanese industry into Asia was forcing women to “live and work in even more oppressive circumstances” than in the past. Even worse, the “advance of Japanese capitalism” brought with it other forms of exploitation such as Japanese (p.16) sex tourism in the Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea. In their resolution at the conference the women’s group concluded that “the true liberation of Asia” was not “merely a matter of national economic and political struggle” but also depended on “the struggle to liberate women.” To this end they resolved “to maintain even closer bonds of contact and cooperation among Asian sisters.”52

We witness a similar shift in the mentality of environmental activists and groups involved transnationally. As the student activist Aoyama Tadashi observed in 1976, the Japanese people had waged many battles against industrial pollution in the country. As a result the living environment was now undeniably cleaner and the public strongly opposed to industrial pollution. Yet, despite all of this, the Japanese had been oblivious to those in foreign countries suffering in the shadows of Japanese affluence, especially throughout Asia.53 “Haven’t we essentially ignored the voices and existence of our neighbors up until now? I believe that it is necessary for us to listen to the appeals of our neighbors if we are to truly understand our position and the path Japan is attempting to set out upon.”54 Indeed, involvement in Asia and the Pacific encouraged—even demanded—that the activists involved engage in a critical, historically sensitive self-reflection on Japan’s tainted legacy in Asia and the Pacific just as antiwar and women’s groups were doing. In the process these activists discovered that fellow Asians and Pacific Islanders tended to understand Japan’s environmental incursions into their regions in the context of a longer, agonizing history of Japanese imperialistic misbehavior. This was a completely unanticipated and unsettling perspective for the Japanese, who had not drawn connections between environmental problems and the country’s militarist past. Thus, even more than in their global encounters, regional engagement encouraged the Japanese activists involved to fundamentally rethink the notion of victimhood underwriting their environmental injustice paradigm.

Transnational interaction thus became a vehicle for Japanese activists to relativize the local by positioning it in a much wider network of relationships and exchanges in which victims could simultaneously be aggressors and solutions were often no more than the offloading of problems onto others in localities across the sea. Activists too had to reconsider their own positions as a result of transnational engagement. It was not enough to see themselves as simply virtuous victim advocates. As citizens and consumers of a nation committing environmental injustices abroad, they also needed to acknowledge and deal with their simultaneous position as complicit (p.17) aggressors—albeit indirectly and by association. As I discuss further in the conclusion, one outcome of this realization was the growth among some activists of a more reflexive, expansive, and multidimensional agenda and mentality. The anthropocentric and localistic foundation of their environmental injustice paradigm remained central, but the range of environmental victims in their field of view increased tremendously, as too did the reflexivity of their activism.

To summarize, then, this book argues, first, that the trauma of industrial pollution in Japan produced a potent environmental injustice paradigm among victims, activists, and environmental groups. This paradigm fueled the domestic movement, and it became the ideational and motivational basis for the transnational activities of some activists and groups—so called rooted cosmopolitans—from the late 1960s onward. Although this paradigm evolved in the course of transnational involvement, its focus on the marginalization and inequity experienced by environmental victims at the very base of society remained constant across geographical space and over time. Indeed, I argue that Japanese groups’ advocacy of a justice-driven, rights-focused, emancipatory environmentalism represents their principal contribution to the contemporary global movement. Second, in historical terms, the book suggests that a transnational focus helps to explain important developments in Japanese civic activism after the high point of domestic protest in the early 1970s. In a kind of boomerang effect, involvement in environmental transnational advocacy networks in East Asia, Eu rope, and North America encouraged Japanese activists to reconsider and reposition their conceptualization of environmental injustice beyond notions of victimhood defined within the container of the nation. The result was a more reflexive and multidimensional activist identity and agenda, which arguably fed into a reimagination of civil society in the country from the late 1980s onward.

Organization of the Study: Scalar Iterations of Environmental Injustice

As noted above, scholarship to date has carefully and sensitively documented the ways victims and their supporters mobilized against industrial pollution at home from around the late 1950s to the early 1970s. In the following chapters I focus on how the environmental injustice paradigm born in these domestic movements subsequently operated and evolved through activism at different scales of activity—in regional spaces such as East Asia and the Pacific, and in global spaces like UNCHE (1972) and UNCED (1992). The (p.18) earliest transnational interactions were dominated by a handful of leftist social and natural scientists like Tsuru Shigeto and Ui Jun who had also been leading figures in the domestic environmental movement. But the activist networks these individuals established opened the door for other actors to become involved in the ensuing years—students, industrial pollution victims, former anti–Vietnam War activists, anti–nuclear power protesters, and, eventually, full-time activists in professional ENGOs.

Rather than charting a chronological history of one or more of these networks or groups from start to finish, however, the case studies that follow are designed to investigate the impact of and on Japanese activists’ environmental injustice paradigm at and within different scalar imaginaries—local, national, regional, and global—from around the late 1960s to the turn of the century. For that reason certain actors will become prominent in the narrative at times only to fade to the background and then return later (which, as Sidney Tarrow notes, is actually how transnational activism tends to operate).55 Although I certainly trace in detail the historical trajectory of specific Japanese activists and groups such as the Independent Lectures on Pollution (ILP) movement started by Ui Jun, my primary interest is in how these groups deployed their environmental injustice paradigm over time and at different scales of involvement and the resulting outcomes. How, for example, did engagement with environmental problems in the East Asian region—site of Japan’s former colonial empire—influence the way those Japanese activists involved understood and articulated concepts of environmental injustice?

I move through six iterations of the environmental injustice paradigm: first, its emergence in the domestic pollution crisis and the response of the pioneering Research Committee on Pollution (RCP) in the 1960s; second, in RCP members travels and activism in North America and Eu rope from the late 1960s to mid-1970s; third, in Japanese pollution victims’ and activists’ involvement at the landmark UNCHE conference in 1972; fourth, in movements addressing Japanese corporate pollution in East Asia throughout the 1970s; fifth, in movements opposing the planned dumping of Japanese radioactive waste in Micronesian waters in the early 1980s; and sixth, in Japanese involvement in global-scale environmental problems beginning around the late 1980s and marked by events such as the Earth Summit (UNCED) in 1992 and the Kyoto climate conference in 1997.56 Japanese activists mobilized their environmental injustice paradigm to great effect in each of these scalar iterations by informing discourse, imparting knowledge, (p.19) and supporting movements. But each scalar iteration also served to complicate the notion of environmental injustice and push it in new directions beyond the defining core of Japanese industrial pollution and its victims. In the process, the environmental injustice paradigm arguably became richer and more reflexive, as too did the mentalities of the activists involved.

In terms of historical scope, I focus on the period from the 1960s to the turn of the century for three reasons. First, empirically speaking, this is when Japanese transnational environmental activism emerged, developed, and diversified from a state of almost nonexistence to a vibrant realm of transnationally engaged ENGOs. Second, this period witnessed a critical transition in environmentalism worldwide as the problems of localized industrial pollution were overlaid (although not replaced) by concerns for global-scale issues such as climate change. Third, in relation to Japanese civic activism, the period stretches from the era of heightened civic protest in the 1960s and early 1970s through to the apparent resurgence of civil society in the country from the 1990s onward. Needless to say, I believe these processes are interrelated although, as I show throughout the study, in more complex ways than a simple linear narrative of globalization might suggest.

In chapter 1, I begin in Japan, tracing the formative moment of the environmental injustice paradigm in the industrial pollution crisis at home from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. I show the intensifying attention to the horrific human costs of industrial pollution by the victims, the mass media, public intellectuals, the law courts, officialdom, and specialist groups like the Research Committee on Pollution (RCP) established in 1963. As I explain, although RCP members’ initial interest grew out of their program to decipher the class dynamics of pollution, it was the environmental injustices experienced by victims that affected them most viscerally and shaped their agenda to find some kind of solution. Researchers such as clinician Harada Masazumi and engineer Ui Jun wanted desperately to understand not only the epidemiology of pollution but, more critically, the political and social “physiology” of environmental injustice. If orthodox Marxian class analysis could not explain phenomena on the ground, then new responses and modes of resistance would be required that perhaps crossed even class boundaries or national frontiers. As highly educated individuals with a cosmopolitan outlook, RCP members quickly recognized the global-historical significance of Japanese industrial pollution. Moreover, they realized that, as experts, they possessed knowledge that could potentially circumvent (p.20) pollution in other places—even in other countries—and perhaps prevent further human misery at the hands of industry. It was through groups such as the RCP that the “local” began to take on an enhanced significance.

In chapter 2 I follow RCP members on their initial tours to polluted sites in Eu rope and North America and in their interactions with foreign pollution victims and environmental activists from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s. Such activities offered RCP members an opportunity to test their assumptions about industrial pollution and the roots of environmental injustice. For instance, were the advocates of socialism, who claimed that socialist states had solved the problem of industrial pollution, to be believed, and, if they were wrong, what would be the consequences for the popular struggle against industrial pollution? In fact, what RCP members discovered in socialist countries was horrific pollution equal to, and often worse than, that in Japan and other capitalist countries. Thereafter they became convinced that the battle against pollution worldwide would not succeed if left to atomized local movements or the traditional class protagonists of Marxian political theory. Instead, they concluded that local movements needed to be strengthened by the creation of new spaces for victims of environmental injustice that cut across class lines and national boundaries. This conclusion found concrete form in a historic transnational engagement facilitated by the RCP between Minamata disease sufferers in Japan and Native American communities afflicted by mercury contamination in Canada.

In chapter 3 I shift scale to one of the earliest moments of global environmentalism in the contemporary era, the landmark United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972. The RCP, the ILP, and Japanese industrial pollution victims figured prominently here, with the economist Tsuru Shigeto as an influential intellectual voice in elite academic and intergovernmental circles and pollution victims as vocal participants in the NGO forums run parallel to UNCHE. Together these groups and individuals made important contributions to fiery debates over economic growth and development. On the one hand, pollution victims used their experience of environmental injustice to emphasize the human as opposed to environmental “limits to growth,” while, on the other, Tsuru Shigeto advocated a reformulation of development that transcended the narrow GNP index and included fundamental human welfare concerns. Both approaches advocated a strongly anthropocentric environmental agenda in keeping with the local experience in Japan.

(p.21) In chapter 4 I turn to the region, analyzing Japanese movements opposing the relocation of pollutive industrial processes to East Asia in the 1970s. This regional awakening compelled activists involved in the ILP and other spin-off movements to problematize their position as victims (or spokespersons for victims) of environmental injustice. What did local victories against industrial pollution mean if Japanese industry simply relocated pollution and environmental injustice to Asia? If the nation-state became a tool to protect localities in Japan at the expense of those in Asia, were not those Japanese localities accomplices or “aggressors” in the overseas pollution of Japanese corporations? In the chapter I argue that engagement with pollution issues in Asia in the 1970s became a conduit through which the Japanese groups involved began to reflexively critique the aspect of local victimhood implicit in their environmental injustice paradigm. Within the “container” of Japan, the victims and perpetrators of environmental justice had been relatively distinct, but the discovery of Japanese pollution in Asia deeply complicated such distinctions.

Chapter 5 shifts to another regional imaginary, namely the Pacific, focusing on a particularly toxic and long-lived pollutant: radioactive waste material. With the commencement of domestic commercial nuclear-powered electricity generation in the late 1960s, Japanese nuclear officials became more and more concerned about the growing stockpile of both high-level and low-level radioactive waste material. Pressed for storage solutions for this growing mountain of radioactive waste, in the early 1970s nuclear officials hatched a plan to dispose of up to 60 percent of low-level radioactive waste in steel canisters in the Pacific Ocean near the Northern Mariana Islands. Outraged Pacific Islanders mobilized in opposition on learning of the plan in the late 1970s. Importantly, these protesters brought their struggle to Japan in the early 1980s, speaking at rallies, meeting with activists and officials, visiting nuclear power plants, connecting with local struggles against new plant constructions, and coordinating worldwide signature campaigns with their Japanese supporters. As with the earlier industrial pollution export problem in East Asia, this transnational involvement forced Japanese antinuclear activists (whether opposing A-bombs or nuclear power plants) to rethink the powerful narrative of local victimhood in their movements. After all, like the inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, peoples of the Pacific had had their homes vaporized by nuclear weapons and their bodies poisoned by radionuclides. Moreover, Japanese nuclear power plants were contributing to the destruction of communities at both the front end (i.e., (p.22) uranium mining on indigenous lands in Australia) and, potentially, at the back end (i.e., plans to dump radioactive waste in the Pacific) of the global nuclear fuel cycle. Such problems stimulated the Japanese antinuclear activists involved to rethink their movement in the context of a longer history of Japanese colonialism in the Pacific and the ongoing culpability of Japan in contemporary neocolonialism or, as one Pacific leader branded it, “nuclearism.”57

In chapter 6 I shift scale to the global, examining Japanese activists’ involvement in movements addressing global-scale environmental problems from the late 1980s onward. Stratospheric ozone damage, rainforest destruction, biodiversity depletion, and climate change posed environmental problems of an immeasurably larger scale than anything before. These were truly global problems that demanded globally coordinated responses if humanity was to secure its “common future” on the planet. But, as I explain, the Japanese activists involved approached these issues through the familiar paradigm of local environmental injustice, refined of course through many decades of domestic and regional struggle. Connecting their empathy for industrial pollution victims to victims in the marginalized peripheries of the developing world, Japanese activists proposed notions of local empowerment and endogenous development as the necessary starting points for any solutions to global-scale environmental problems. They challenged discourses of shared human fate like “our common future,” calling instead for people and institutions in the rich “North” to reform their modern, convenient lifestyles built on ravenous consumption of resources, often sourced from the “South.” The problems may have become global and, in a sense, everywhere at once, but through the lens of environmental injustice, it appeared obvious that the burdens were never so evenly dispersed.

In 1974, when Japanese antipollution activists were considering a study tour to pollution sites worldwide, some of them wondered if it was a necessary endeavor. After all, was Japan not a polluters’ paradise full of “pollution department stores”? Why look abroad when all kinds of pollution problems remained in their own backyard? Opinions were divided, but eventually even the most reluctant decided to participate. After the tour one participant recounted just how valuable an experience it had been. Not only did it help him and others rethink Japanese pollution in a wider context, it also represented a historic recalibration of Japanese interactions with the outside world. Since the beginning of Japan’s hurried rush to modernize in the mid-nineteenth century, international engagement—especially with the industrialized (p.23) West—had been mostly about learning the secrets of growth, development, and so-called civilization. But this tour to connect with victims elsewhere and to explore the shadows of Western success signaled a new, more mature, engagement. More to the point, it involved communicating an important story of local environmental injustice to the world.

This book charts the emergence and evolution of that environmental injustice paradigm from its birth in Japan’s pollution nightmare to the multiscalar transnational movements it subsequently informed and invigorated. On one level, it points to the transformations made possible by repositioning the local in spatial imaginaries that transcend the nation, but, on another, it also confirms the critical importance of the local as an ideational platform and motivating factor in environmental knowledge and transnational action in the modern world.


(1) Ui Jun, “Interview with Ui Jun: Minamata Disease in Canada,” AMPO: Japan-Asia Quarterly Review 26 (October–December 1975): 69.

(2) Ui Jun, ed., Polluted Japan: Reports by Members of the Jishu-Koza Citizens’ Movement (Tokyo: Jishu-Koza, 1972), 8, 9.

(3) Ui Jun, “Kōgai Genron I,” in Kōgai Genron Gappon, by Ui Jun (Tokyo: Aki Shobō, 1990), 22.

(4) Richard Curtis and Dave Fisher, “The Seven Wonders of the Polluted World,” New York Times, September 26, 1971, 21.

(5) Paul Ehrlich, “Foreword,” in Island of Dreams: Environmental Crisis in Japan, ed. Norie Huddle, Michael Reich, and Nahum Stiskin (Rochester, VT: Schenkman Books, 1987), xiv.

(6) John R. McNeill, Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World (London: Penguin Books, 2000), 98.

(7) Miyamoto Ken’ichi, Kankyō to Jichi: Watashi no Sengo Nōto (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1996), 134–138.

(p.232) (8) Ursula K. Heise, Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 4.

(9) John McCormick, Reclaiming Paradise: The Global Environmental Movement (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991), 127.

(10) Miyamoto Ken’ichi, Nihon no Kankyō Mondai: Sono Seiji Keizaigakuteki Kōsatsu (Tokyo: Yūhikaku, 1981), 322.

(11) Julia Adeney Thomas, “Using Japan to Think Globally: The Natural Subject of History and Its Hopes,” in Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power, ed. Ian Jared Miller, Julia Adeney Thomas, Brett L. Walker (Honolulu: University Hawai‘i Press, 2013), 293.

(12) Ibid., 303.

(13) See Samuel Moyn, “The Return of the Prodigal: The 1970s as a Turning Point in Human Rights History,” in The Breakthrough: Human Rights in the 1970s, ed. Jan Eckel and Samuel Moyn (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), 1–14; and Jan Eckel, “The Rebirth of Politics from the Spirit of Morality: Explaining the Human Rights Revolution of the 1970s,” in The Breakthrough, ed. Eckel and Moyn, 226–259.

(14) Donna Haraway, “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective,” Feminist Studies 14, no. 3 (1988): 590.

(16) Ibid., 21.

(17) Arif Dirlik, “Globalism and the Politics of Place,” in Globalisation and the Asia-Pacific: Contested Territories, ed. Kris Olds, Peter Dicken, Philip F. Kelly, Lily Kong, and Henry Wai-Chung Yeung (London: Routledge), 38.

(18) Marybeth Long Martello and Sheila Jasanoff, “Introduction: Globalization and Environmental Governance,” in Earthly Politics: Local and Global in Environmental Governance, ed. Sheila Jasanoff and Marybeth Long Martello (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004), 6.

(19) Ibid., 7.

(20) Ibid., 13–14.

(21) Roland Robertson, “Glocalization: Time-Space and Homogeneity-Heterogeneity,” in Global Modernities, ed. Mike Featherstone, Scott Lash, and Roland Robertson (London: SAGE, 1995), 26.

(23) Seminal research on industrial pollution and protest in Japan includes (in chronological order): Shōji Hikaru and Miyamoto Ken’ichi, Osorubeki Kōgai (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1964); Shōji Hikaru and Miyamoto Ken’ichi, Nihon no Kōgai (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1975); Kenneth Strong, Ox against the Storm: A Biography of Tanaka Shozo: Japan’s Conservationist Pioneer (Folkestone, UK: Japan Library, 1977); Margaret McKean, Environmental Protest and Citizen Politics in Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981); Julian Gresser, Koichiro Fujikura, and Akio Morishima, Environmental Law in Japan (London: MIT Press, 1981); Norie Huddle, Michael Reich, and Nahum Stiskin, eds., Island of Dreams: Environmental Crisis in Japan (Rochester, VT: Schenkman Books, 1987); Kawana Hideyuki, Dokyumento Nihon no Kōgai, vols. 1–13 (Tokyo: Ryokufu, 1987–1996); Ui Jun, ed. Industrial Pollution in Japan (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 1992); Jeffrey Broadbent, Environmental Politics in Japan: Networks of Power and Protest (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Iijima Nobuko, Kankyō Mondai no Shakaishi (Tokyo: Yūhikaku, 2000); Timothy S. George, Minamata: Pollution and the Struggle for Democracy in Postwar Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001); Brett L. Walker, Toxic Archipelago: A History of Industrial Disease in Japan (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2010); essays in Ian Jared Miller, Julia Adeney Thomas, and Brett Walker, eds., Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013); Robert Stolz, Bad Water: Nature, Pollution, and Politics in Japan, 1870–1950 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015).

(24) Walker, Toxic Archipelago; George, Minamata; Iijima, Kankyō Mondai no Shakaishi; Iijima Nobuko, Kaiteiban Kankyō Mondai to Higaisha Undō (Tokyo: Gakubunsha, 1993); Ishimure Michiko, Paradise in the Sea of Sorrow: Our Minamata Disease, trans. Livia Monnet (Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2003); Ui Jun, Kōgai Genron Gappon (Tokyo: Aki Shobō, 1990).

(26) Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Ethics of Identity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), 257.

(27) Ibid., 258.

(28) Ibid., 256.

(29) Sidney Tarrow, The New Transnational Activism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 29.

(30) Ibid., 42.

(31) Ibid., 28.

(32) Ibid., 206.

(33) See text for further discussion of this “boomerang” idea.

(34) See Simon Avenell, Making Japanese Citizens: Civil Society and the Mythology of the Shimin in Postwar Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), 195; Robert Pekkanen, Japan’s Dual Civil Society: Members without Advocates (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006), 165–169.

(p.234) (35) On the latter see Kim D. Reimann, The Rise of Japanese NGOs: Activism from Above (Oxon, UK: Routledge, 2010).

(37) Frank Upham, Law and Social Change in Postwar Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987); Frank Upham, “Unplaced Persons and Movements for Place,” in Postwar Japan as History, ed. Andrew Gordon (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 325–346.

(40) Important research includes (in chronological order): Jeffrey Broadbent, Environmental Politics in Japan; Robin LeBlanc, Bicycle Citizens: The Political World of the House wife (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); Patricia L. Maclachlan, Consumer Politics in Postwar Japan: The Institutional Boundaries of Citizen Activism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002); Hasegawa Kōichi, Constructing Civil Society in Japan: Voices of Environmental Movements (Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press, 2004); Daniel Aldrich, Site Fights: Divisive Facilities and Civil Society in Japan and the West (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008); Pradyumna P. Karan and Unryu Suganuma, eds., Local Environmental Movements: A Comparative Study of the United States and Japan (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2008); Peter Wynn Kirby, Troubled Natures: Waste, Environment, Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2010).

(41) William Robinson, “Theories of Globalization,” in The Blackwell Companion to Globalization, ed. George Ritzer (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), 136.

(42) Sheila Jasanoff, “NGOs and the Environment: From Knowledge to Action,” Third World Quarterly 18, no. 3 (1997): 581; Peter Haas, “Introduction: Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination,” International Organization 46, no. 1 (1992): 1–35.

(43) Arif Dirlik, “Performing the World: Reality and Representation in the Making of World Histor(ies),” Journal of World History 16, no. 4 (2005): 407; Mathias Albert, Gesa Bluhm, Jan Helmig, Andreas Leutzsch, and Jochen Walter, “Introduction: The Communicative Construction of Transnational Political Spaces,” in Transnational Political Spaces: Agents—Structures—Encounters, ed. Mathias Albert, Gesa Bluhm, Jan Helmig, Andreas Leutzsch, and Jochen Walter (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2009), 18.

(44) John Hoffman, Citizenship beyond the State (London: SAGE Publications, 2004).

(45) See Margaret E. Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, “Transnational Advocacy Networks in International and Regional Politics,” International Social Science Journal 51, no. 159 (1999): 89–101; and Margaret E. Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998). (p.235)

(47) Nina Glick-Schiller, “Transnationality,” in A Companion to the Anthropology of Politics, ed. David Nugent and Joan Vincent (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 449.

(48) See Wesley Sasaki-Uemura, Organizing the Spontaneous: Citizen Protest in Postwar Japan (Hawai‘i: University of Hawaii Press, 2001). Also see Avenell, Making.

(49) See Simon Avenell, “Transnationalism and the Evolution of Post-national Citizenship in Japan,” Asian Studies Review 39, no. 3 (2015): 375–394.

(50) On victimhood in postwar Japan see James J. Orr, The Victim as Hero: Ideologies of Peace and National Identity in Postwar Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2001).

(51) Oda Makoto, “Heiwa o Tsukuru: Sono Genri to Kōdō—Hitotsu no Sengen,” in Oda Makoto, Oda Makoto Zenshigoto vol. 9 (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 1970), 113–131; and Avenell, Making, chapter 4.

(52) Women’s Group of the Conference of Asians, “Resolution on Women,” AMPO: Japan-Asia Quarterly Review 21–22 (1974): 15.

(53) Aoyama Tadashi, “Nikkan Jōyaku 10-nen to Kōgai Yushutsu Hantai Undō,” Jishu Kōza 58 (January 1976): 64, in Ui Jun Shūshū Kōgai Mondai Shiryō 1 Fukkoku “Jishu Kōza” (hereafter FJK), 3–2, ed. Saitama Daigaku Kyōsei Shakai Kenkyū Sentā (Tokyo: Suirensha, 2006), 70.

(54) Ibid., 68.

(56) Officially “The Third Conference of the Parties (COP3) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).” See http://unfccc.int/cop3/.

(57) This was the prime minister of Vanuatu. On “nuclearism,” see chapter 6.