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Published Media Articles

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How Japan could have avoided a karaoke Olympics

The politics of "dialling it in" led inexorably to the empty arenas we see in Tokyo. Read More

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Covid and Fukushima legacy persist as hurdles for Japan's 'Recovery Olympics'

Problems that led to the Fukushima crisis remain unresolved. Read More

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Getting the air we deserve

There is an upside to recent tragic events triggered by the outbreak of COVID-19, and it can serve a useful purpose. Read More

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Despite promises of revitalisation from Japan’s government, seven years on from the nuclear disaster the area is still struggling. Read More

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Britain’s Nuclear Cover-Up

 Last month, the British government signed off on what might be the most controversial and least promising plan for a nuclear power station in a generation.

Why did it do this? Because the project isn’t just about energy: It’s also a stealth initiative to bolster Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Read More

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Japan's Plutonium Problem

When Japan marked the 70th anniversary of Nagasaki’s obliteration by a plutonium bomb on Aug. 9, its own cache of weapons-usable plutonium was more than 47 metric tons — enough to make nearly 6,000 warheads like the one that flattened Nagasaki. Read More


Europe's new nuclear experience casts a shadow over Hinkley

With two new UK reactors planned at Hinkley Point C in Somerset and three years after the meltdowns at Fukushima in Japan, it is worth considering whether the design, procurement, construction, and management of nuclear power plants is sufficiently reliable to allay public concern over radiation and value for money. Read More


Hate Week in China

Japan's putative "grabbing" of the Senkaku Islands has been shrilly reported in Chinese media this past month. Known in China as the Diaoyu Islands, this small collection of islets and rocky outcroppings in the East China Sea has lain outside of direct Chinese control since 1895. By 1970, the discovery of probable fossil fuel resources transformed these uninhabited islets into a watery stage for political theatre. Read More

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Fukushima Daiichi Plant Disaster Inflames Japan’s ‘Nuclear Allergy’

The nuclear crisis has rallied a weary nation, but also risks spurring discrimination against the contaminated. Peter Wynn Kirby on the test the disaster poses for Japanese society. Read More

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Why the Fukushima radioactive wastewater release plan is a PR disaster

Welcome to Japan's other radiation crisis. Read More

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In its coronavirus response, Japan must not repeat the mistakes of the Fukushima disaster

Is Japan acting boldly or simply muddling through? Amid the fog of official messaging, it’s impossible to know for sure. Read More

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During a brutal pandemic, a rethinking of the Olympics seems inevitable

An Olympics fortnight, if it went ahead as planned, would certainly qualify as any infectious disease expert’s nightmare scenario. Read More

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The High Cost of High Tech

Peter Wynn Kirby says the long-standing corporate practice of moving heavily polluting manufacturing work overseas has suffered a severe blow thanks to the enlightened approach of a Taiwan court. Read More

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Playing Pass the Parcel With Fukushima

In the five years since the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdowns that devastated Fukushima Prefecture, the Japanese government has undertaken mammoth efforts to decontaminate irradiated communities. Read More

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The Big Lie Behind Japanese Whaling

The International Court of Justice’s decision last March to prohibit Japan’s annual whale hunt in Antarctic waters was greeted by many as an historic step against a reprehensible practice. Yet last month, despite the enormous diplomatic toll, Japan vowed to continue its whaling activities under a controversial research program of dubious scientific merit. Read More


‘Flammable ice’:
a bad choice

Ironically the Japanese ship that a few weeks ago achieved the historic feat of drilling down, extracting and burning “flammable ice” (aka methane hydrate, available in huge quantities underseas globally but notoriously difficult to utilize) was christened Chikyu, the Japanese word for Earth. Read More


Japan’s tale of two stockpiles

Mount Fuji stands as a powerful eco-symbol in Japan, invoked frequently to describe elements of Japanese nature and culture. According to Japanese writers and others, Mount Fuji’s towering summit-cone and elegantly balanced slopes convey the remote majesty of nature, the essence of purity, a trove of immutable values, a model of aesthetic perfection, and a store of Japanese reserve, to name but a few. Read More

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Japan’s Long Nuclear Disaster Film

Peering at the post-tsunami devastation in Japan on miniature YouTube windows or video-streaming displays from Japanese news outlets provokes not only great empathy and concern, but an unmistakable feeling of déjà vu. As a scholar focusing on the place of nuclear energy in Japanese culture, I’ve seen more than my share of nuclear-themed monster movies from the ’50s onward, and the scenes of burning refineries, flattened cities, mobilized rescue teams and fleeing civilians recall some surreal highlights of the Japanese disaster film genre. Read More

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