What We Know, and What We Have Not Yet Learned: Triple Disasters and the Fukushima Nuclear Fiasco in Japan


Akira Nakamura is professor emeritus and director of the Research Center for Crisis and Contingency Management at Meiji University in Tokyo. He was both vice president and dean of the graduate school of the university until 2008. He is the incumbent president of the Asian Association for Public Administration and vice president of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences.

Masao Kikuchi is an associate professor of public policy and management in the School of Business Administration at Meiji University in Tokyo. Previously, he was a research fellow at the Institute of Administrative Management and a research associate at the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry.


Japan is the only country to suffer twice from the terrible consequences of atomic bombs. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are renowned internationally for experiencing the first twin devastating nuclear attacks in history. Unfortunately, Japan has witnessed several other serious nuclear-related disasters in recent years. The much-publicized Fukushima disaster in 2011 is one of them. How could such a serious accident occur in a modern, highly sensitive, nuclear-conscious country?, The answer to that central question is complex, involving not only political and administrative issues but also technical and human dimensions. In retrospect, both government officials and private industry were far too lax with the operation and development of nuclear policies and facilities. The Fukushima debacle was the result of a lack of rigorous management and control of nuclear issues by both public authorities and private industry.