Toward Citizen Dialogue-led Environmental Governance: An Exploratory Case Study in Post-Fukushima Japan

Abstract

This paper reports on an exploratory case study to help facilitate a culture of dialogue in Japan. There is an emphasis on proposing methods for polyphonic dialogue among citizens, and between citizens and experts, to effectively manage the environment. This paper argues that a culture of dialogue is essential to pluralistic participatory environmental governance. A random sampling-based citizen dialogue—involving experts and citizens—regarding radioactive waste disposal was held in Japanese cities. Three proposed methods—politeness-based facilitation dialogue, evidence-based and position-explicit presentations by experts with differing views and experts reflecting in tandem with citizens engaged in dialogue—might lead to enhanced positive attitudes toward dialogue with others holding different views, as well as better internal self-deliberation. Attitudes for dialogue were measured empirically. The current research suggests that explicit treatment of pluralistic positions and views among citizens and experts would be a key factor for quality social learning and resilience for uncertainty.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Ackerman B, Fishkin JS (2004) Deliberation day. Yale University Press, New Heaven

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bohm D, Nichol L (2004) On dialogue, 2nd ed. Routledge, Abingdon

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bouricius TG (2013) Democracy through multi-body sortition: athenian lessons for the modern day. J Public Deliberation 9:11

  4. Bryant P, Hall J (2017) Citizen jury literature review. Shared Future, Manchester

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bulkeley H, Mol APJ (2003) Participation and environmental governance: consensus, ambivalence and debate. Environ Values 12:143–154

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Cappella JN, Price V, Nir L (2002) Argument repertoire as a reliable and valid measure of opinion quality: electronic dialogue during campaign 2000. Political Commun 19:73–93

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Cohen J (1988) Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences, 2nd ed. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, New Jersey

    Google Scholar 

  8. Daniels SE, Walker GB (2001) Working through environmental conflict: the collaborative learning approach. Praeger Publishers, Westport, Connecticut

    Google Scholar 

  9. Dienel H-L (2015) Standardization and legal formalization of participative democracy in Germany: an overview. Presented at Japanese Research Forum on Mini-Publics, Tokyo

    Google Scholar 

  10. Fishkin JS (2009) When the people speak: deliberative democracy and public consultation. Oxford University Press, New York, New York

    Google Scholar 

  11. Fishkin JS, Farrar C (2005) Deliberative polling: From experiment to community resource. In: Gastil J, Levine P (eds) The deliberative democracy handbook: strategies for effective civic engagement in the 21st century. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, p 68–79

  12. Fitzpatrick P, Sinclair AJ, Mitchell B (2008) Environmental impact assessment under the Mackenzie valley resource management act: deliberative democracy in Canada’s North? Environ Manag 42:1–18

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Funabashi H (2012) Why the Fukushima nuclear disaster is a manmade calamity. Intl J Jap Soc 21:65–75

    Google Scholar 

  14. Goodin RE (2000) Democratic deliberation within. Philos Public Aff 29:81–109

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Goodin RE (2003) Reflexive democracy. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  16. Goodin RE (2008) Innovating democracy. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  17. Hall ET (1976) Beyond culture. Doubleday, New York, New York

    Google Scholar 

  18. Ide H (2010) Shimin doshi no jukugi/taiwa: Nihon ni okeru shimn togikai no jissho kenkyu (Deliberation/dialogue among citizens: empirical studies of citizen panels in Japan). In: Tamura E (ed) Kataru: Jukugi/taiwa no seiji gaku (Talking: political science of deliberation/dialogue). Fuko sha, Tokyo, p 235–265

  19. Imai R (2018) Jukuryo to jukugi: Koka no hikaku kensho (Internal deliberation and external deliberation: comparative examination of the effects). In: Tanaka A (ed) Jukugi no koyo, jukuryo no koka: Seiji tetsugaku wo jissho suru (Utility of external deliberation, effects of internal deliberation: positivism approach to philosophy of politics). Keiso shobo, Tokyo, p 155–177

  20. Inglehart T (2018) Cultural evolution: people’s motivations are changing, and reshaping the world. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  21. Inglehart R, Welzel C (2010) Changing mass priorities: the link between modernization and democracy. Perspect Politics 8:551–567

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Kawai H (1995) Dreams, myths and fairy tales in Japan. Daimon Verlang, Einsiedeln

  23. Matsumoto M (2012) Kozo sai: Kagaku gijutu shakai ni hisomu kiki (Structural disaster: crisis hidden in science and technology-based society). Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo

  24. Matsumoto M (2013) “Structural disaster” long before Fukushima: a hidden accident. Dev Soc 42:165–190

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Nakamura H (2014) Disaster experience and participatory energy governance in post-disaster Japan: a survey of citizen willingness to participate in nuclear and energy deliberations. J Disaster Res 9:665–672

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Nakamura H (2018) Willingness to know and talk: citizen attitude toward energy and environmental policy deliberation in post-Fukushima Japan. Energy Policy 115:12–22

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Nihon Gakujutsu Kaigi Shakaigaku Iinkai Torongata Seron Chosa Bunkakai (Deliberative Polling Sub-committee, Sociology Committee, Science Council of Japan) (2016) Ko reberu hoshasei haikibutu no shobun wo tema to shita web jo no torongata seron chosa (Web-based deliberative polling on the theme of high-level radioactive waste disposal). Nihon Gakujutsu Kaigi, Tokyo

  28. Pellizzoni L (2003) Uncertainty and participatory democracy. Environ Values 12:195–224

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Pew Research Center (2015) Global support for principle of free expression, but opposition to some forms of speech: Americans especially likely to embrace individual liberties. Pew Research Center, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  30. Rask M, Worthington R (2015) Governing biodiversity through democratic deliberation. Routledge, London

    Google Scholar 

  31. Rask M, Worthington R, Lammi M (2012) Citizen participation in global environmental governance. Routledge, London

    Google Scholar 

  32. Reed MS (2008) Stakeholder participation for environmental management: a literature review. Biol Conserv 141:2417–2431

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Richards P, Blackstock KL, Carter CE (2004) Practical approaches to participation. Macauley Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen

    Google Scholar 

  34. Rosenberg M (1999) Nonviolent communication: a language of life. PuddleDancer Press, Encinitas, California

    Google Scholar 

  35. Saito T (2015) Opun daiarogu to ha nani ka (What is open dialogue?). Igaku Shoin, Tokyo

    Google Scholar 

  36. Saito T, Kainuma H (2016) Hairo wo kataru kotoba (Language to speak about decommissioning). In: Kainuma H (ed) Fukushima Daiichi genpatsu hairo zukan (Encyclopedia of the “1F”: a guide to the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station). Ota Shuppan, Tokyo, p 367–381

  37. Seikkula J, Arnkil TE (2006) Dialogical meetings in social networks. Karnac Books, London

    Google Scholar 

  38. Shimazu Y (2015) Remarks in research conference on “science of science communication: linking systems science and mind-climate.” Chubu University, Kasugai, Japan

  39. Shinohara H (ed) (2012) Togi demokurashi no chosen: mini paburikkusu ga hiraku atarashii seiji (Challenge of deliberative democracy: new politics that mini-publics develop). Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo

  40. Schreurs MA (2003) Environmental politics in Japan, Germany, and the United States. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  41. Sloman S, Fernbach P (2017) The knowledge illusion: why we never think alone. Penguin Random House, New York, New York

    Google Scholar 

  42. Sone Y, Yanase N, Uekihara H, Shimada K (2013) “Manabu, kangaeru, hanashi au” toron gata seron chosa: Giron no atarashii shikumi (Deliberative poll). Kirakusha, Tokyo

    Google Scholar 

  43. Takano M (2014) Jinen ni ikiru (2) (Life with the attitude of Jinen (2)). http://blog.goo.ne.jp/daizusensei/e/5820c171517d3aaec56265f6a593ae63. Accessed 20 Aug 2017

  44. Takao Y (2016) Japan’s environmental politics and governance: from trading nation to EcoNation. Routledge, Oxon

    Google Scholar 

  45. Tanioka I (2005) Sanpo susunde niho sagatta shimin sanka (Citizen participation progressing by three steps, stepping back by two). In: Machimura T, Yoshimi S (eds) Shimin sankaga gata shakai toha: Aichi banpaku keikaku katei to kokyo ken no sai sozo (Conditions of civic-initiative society: conflictive public sphere in the planning process of EXPO2005 Aichi). Yuhikaku, Tokyo, p 211–228

  46. Tsuda T (2015) Kanpo mizusaki annai: Igaku no higashi he (Introduction to traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine: toward eastern part of medicine). Igaku Shoin, Tokyo

    Google Scholar 

  47. The Economist Intelligence Unit (2020) Democracy index 2019. The Economist Intelligence Unit, London

    Google Scholar 

  48. Van Reybrouck D (2013) Tegen Verkiezingen. De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam en Antwerpen (Against elections: the case for democracy). Seven Stories Press, New York, New York, p 2018

  49. Yanase N (2015) Jukuryo to togi no minshu shugi riron: Chokusetsu minshu sei ha daigi sei wo norikoe rareru ka (Theory of democracy on deliberation and discussion: does direct democracy overcome representative democracy?). Minerva Shobo, Kyoto

    Google Scholar 

  50. Yankelovich D, Friedman W (2011) Toward wiser public judgment. Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville, Tennessee

    Google Scholar 

  51. Yearley S, Cinderby S, Forrester J, Bailey P, Rosen P (2003) Participatory modelling and the local governance of the politics of UK air pollution: a three-city study. Environ Values 12:247–162

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Yokoyama K, Edahiro J (2014) Taiwa kara umareru machi dukuri wo mezashite: Korekarano Kashiwazaki to enerugi wo kanageru torikumi (Toward a town created through dialogue: an attempt to consider the future Kashiwazaki city and its energy). http://www.japanfs.org/ja/news/archives/news_id034922.html. Accessed 25 Sept 2017

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors appreciate the valuable contributions of the volunteer experts referred by Drs. Hideaki Ohsawa, Eiji Sasao, Minoru Yamakawa, Yo Fujimura, and Yu Takahashi. We thank Dr. Mineo Kumazawa for his encouragement and support. We are grateful to Dr. Masashi Hara for his comments and suggestions. We are also indebted to the Kasugai and Omaezaki residents who participated in the citizen dialogue events. Without their participation, this investigation would not exist. This work was supported by the Collaboration Research Program of IDEAS, Chubu University (IDEAS201505, 201605, 201706, 201806, and 201906), as well as the Japanese Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (JP15K00656).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hidenori Nakamura.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no Conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary Information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Nakamura, H., Ueno, F., Higashihara, H. et al. Toward Citizen Dialogue-led Environmental Governance: An Exploratory Case Study in Post-Fukushima Japan. Environmental Management (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-021-01433-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Deliberation
  • Participation
  • Democracy
  • Learning
  • Resilience
  • Uncertainty