Quality & Quantity

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 2081–2101 | Cite as

Identifying the ‘Fukushima Effect’ in Germany through policy actors’ responses: evidence from the G-GEPON 2 survey

  • Manuela G. HartwigEmail author
  • Leslie Tkach-Kawasaki


The nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, on March 11, 2011 (“3.11”) prompted global changes in national energy policies. Public discourse created the image that “Fukushima” had prompted Germany’s Energiewende, and much research asking why the reaction of decision makers in Germany was significantly different from those in Japan has been conducted since that time. However, the effect on policy actors themselves in the policy-making network has been overlooked. Taking Germany’s socio-political history into account, we question such conclusions and argue that the measurable effect is much less than some conclude. Using an unconventional merged methods research design and innovative survey instrument with a policy-actor-network approach (the G-GEPON 2 Survey), we asked major German policy actors, interest groups, stakeholders, and civil society actors about their opinions, attitudes and governmental support regarding energy policy decisions pre- and post-Fukushima. We found that an established institutional landscape of policy actors and their cooperation in policy processes has not been affected by 3.11. New forms of inquiry for policy research show the potential to provide insights into policy processes which were not measurable with traditional single-method inquiries. Furthermore, we have found that emulation of national legal frameworks must consider socio-political traditions. We attempt to create new forms of investigation to reveal hidden structures in policy processes which are empirically difficult to grasp.


Fukushima Germany Energy policy Nuclear phase-out Merged methods G-GEPON 2 


  1. Beck, U.: Risikogesellschaft. Auf dem Weg in eine andere Moderne. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main (1986)Google Scholar
  2. Belli, R.F., Callegaro, M.: The emergence of calendar interviewing. A theoretical and empirical rationale. In: Alwin, D.F., Stafford, F., Belli, R.F. (eds.) Calendar and Time Diary Methods in Life Course Research. SAGE, Thousands Oaks (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. BMWi: Infografik Wie hat sich die EEG-Umlage über die Jahre entwickelt? BMWi. (2014) Accessed 29 Aug 2018
  4. BMWi: Unsere Energiewende: sicher, sauber, bezahlbar: BMWi. (2017). Accessed 29 Aug 2018
  5. BMWi: Das Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz: BMWi. From Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie. (2019). Accessed 29 Aug 2018
  6. Bossler, M., Geis, G., Stegmaier, J.: Comparing survey data with an official administrative population: assessing sample-selectivity in the IAB Establishement Panel. Qual. Quant. 52, 899–920 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. EU: EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS): European Commission. (2018). Accessed 30 Aug 2018
  8. Findlay, T.: Nuclear Energy and Global Governance. Taylor & Francis, New York (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fischer, S.: Die Energiewende und Europa. Europäisierungsprozesse in der deutschen Energie- und Klimapolitik. Springer VS, Wiesbaden (2017)Google Scholar
  10. Gerstenberger, K.: Störfälle: literary Accounts from Chernobyl to Fukushima. German Stud. Rev. 37(1), 131–148 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Glass, J.M.: Paranoia as a marker for theory. In: Dryzek, J.S., Honig, B. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory. Oxford University Press, New York (2006)Google Scholar
  12. Gobo, G.: Re-conceptualizing generalization: Old issues in a new frame. In: Alasuutari, P., Bickman, L., Brannen, J. (eds.) Sage Handbook of Social Research Methods, pp. 193–227. Sage, London (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gobo, G.: Back to Likert. Towards a conversational survey. In: Vogt, P., Williams, M. (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Innovation in Social Research Methods, pp. 228–248. Sage, London (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grasselt, N.: Die Entzauberung der Energiewende. Politik- und Diskurswandel unter schwarz-gelben Argumentationsmustern. Springer VS, Duisburg (2016)Google Scholar
  15. Gross, J.H., Jansa, J.M.: Relational concepts, measurement, and data collection. In: Victor, J.N., Montgomery, A.H., Lubell, M. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Political Networks. Oxford University Press, New York (2018)Google Scholar
  16. Grossi, L., Heim, S., Waterson, M.: The impact of the German response to the Fukushima earthquake. Energy Econ. 66, 450–465 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hartwig, M., Kobashi, Y., Okura, S., Tkach-Kawasaki, L.: Energy policy participation through networks transcending cleavage: An analysis of Japanese and German renewable energy promotion policies. Qual. Quant. 49(4), 1485–1512 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hindmarsh, R., Priestley, R.: The Fukushima effect. Traversing a new geopolitical terrain. In: Hindmarsh, R., Priestley, R. (eds.) The Fukushima Effect: A New Geopolitical Terrain. Routledge, London (2016)Google Scholar
  19. Hubbard, C.: Fukushima and Beyond. Nuclear Power in a Low-Carbon World. Routledge, New York (2014)Google Scholar
  20. Jahn, D., Stephan, S.: Germany’s Energiewende after Fukushima. Nuclear politics at the forefront of change. In: Hindmarsh, R., Priestley, R. (eds.) The Fukushima Effect: A New Geopolitical Terrain. Routledge, London (2016)Google Scholar
  21. Kim, S., Kim, S.: Impact of the Fukushima nuclear accident on belief in rumors: the role of risk perception and communication. Sustainability 9(12), 2188 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Knoke, D., Kostiuchenko, T.: Power structures of policy networks. In: Victor, N.J., Montgomery, A.H., Lubell, M. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Political Networks. Oxford University Press, New York (2018)Google Scholar
  23. Lee, J., Tkach-Kawasaki, L.: The relationship between information-sharing and resource-sharing networks in environmental policy governance: focusing on Germany and Japan. J. Contemp. East. Asia 17(2), 176–199 (2018)Google Scholar
  24. Lüthi, S., Prässler, T.: Analyzing policy support instruments and regulatory risk factors for wind energy deployment—A developers’ perspective. Energy Policy 39(9), 4876–4892 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Marshall, M.N.: Sampling for qualitative research. Fam. Pract. 13, 522–525 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Moe, E.: Renewable Energy Transformation or Fossil Fuel Blacklash. Vested Interests in the Political Economy. Palgrave Macmillan, London (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Morris, C., Jungjohann, A.: Energy Democracy. Germany’s Energiewende to Renewables. Palgrave Macmillan, London (2016)Google Scholar
  28. Murakami, M., Matsui, S., Kumagai, A., Orita, M., Kuroda, Y.: Communicating with Residents about Risks Following the Fukushima Nuclear Accident. Asia Pac. J. Public Health 29(2S), 74S–89S (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nebehay, S.: Higher cancer risk after Fukushima nuclear disaster: WHO. (2012). Accessed 31 Aug 2018
  30. EEG-Umlage: (2018). Accessed 29 August 2018
  31. Nienierza, A.: Die größte anzunehmende Umbewertung? Eine Frame-Analyse der deutschen Presseberichterstattung über Kernenergie nach den Reaktorunfällen von Tschernobyl (1986) und Fukushima (2011). In: Wolling, J., Arlt, D. (eds.) Fukushima und die Folgen. Medienberichterstattung, Öffentliche Meinung, Politische Konsequenzen, pp. 31–54. Universitätsverlag Ilmenau, Ilmenau (2014)Google Scholar
  32. Nuttall, W.J.: Nuclear Renaissance. Technologies and Policies for the Future of Nuclear Power. Taylor & Francis, New York London (2005)Google Scholar
  33. Okura, S., Tkach-Kawasaki, L., Kobashi, Y., Hartwig, M., Tsujinaka, Y.: Analysis of the policy network for the “Feed-in Tariff Law” in Japan: evidence from the GEPON Survey. J. Contemp. East Asia 15(1), 41–63 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Schmidt, V.A.: Discursive institutionalism: the explanatory power of ideas and discourse. Annu. Rev. Polit. Sci. 11, 303–326 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Schreurs, M.A.: The ethics of nuclear energy: Germany’s energy politics after Fukushima. J. Soc. Sci. 77, 9–29 (2014)Google Scholar
  36. Schreurs, M.A.: The Paris climate agreement and the three largest emitters: China, the United States, and the European Union. Polit. Gov. 4(3), 219–223 (2016)Google Scholar
  37. Schulz, M.: The Fukushima Meltdown and the Global Renaissance of Nuclear Energy. (2011). Accessed March 2019
  38. Sieber, S.D.: The integration of fieldwork and survey methods. Am. J. Sociol. 6, 1335–1359 (1973)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sturm, C.: Inside the Energiewende: Policy and complexity in the German utility industry. ISSUES Sci. Technol. 33(2), 41 (2017)Google Scholar
  40. UN: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. United Nations. Retrieved August 30 2018, from
  41. UN: Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF): United Nations Climate Change. Retrieved August 30 2018, from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:–land-use-change-and-forestry-lulucf
  42. UNFCCC: What is the CDM: UNFCCC. Retrieved August 30 2018, from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:
  43. Wolling, J., Arlt, D.: Ein Erdbeben und seine (politischen) Folgen. In: Wolling, J., Arlt, D. (eds.) Fukushima und die Folgen. Medienberichterstattung, Öffentliche Meinung, Politische Konsequenzen. Universitätsverlag Ilmenau, Ilemanu (2014)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of School of Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

Personalised recommendations