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.

Hartwig, Manuela and Tkach-Kawasaki, Leslie
Identifying the ‘Fukushima Effect’: in Germany through policy actors’ responses – Evidence from the G-GEPON 2 survey
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Mar 2019
Quality & Quantity