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.
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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).
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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