Japan's Hunger for Growth: Environment as Political Symbolism




Kokubun, Naoko

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In the afterglow of Japan’s dramatic economic growth during the post-war period, the growth mentality is still apparent in contemporary Japan. The powerful business communities that helped the industrialization of the country are still structurally interconnected with the political elites. As a result, the growth interests of the corporations are reflected in industrial and environmental policies. Public opinion is deliberately shaped to allow the growth ideology while the environment is used as a symbol to be protected. This thesis will analyse how public opinion and responses are manipulated so that the growth goals are achieved under the guise of national benefit. This thesis will examine two cases of growth politics: nuclear policy and the Eco Town project in Japan to analyse the influence of the growth mentality and the linkages. The conclusion is that if Japan continues to overreach for economic growth at the cost of the environment and if public scrutiny is kept to a minimum, Japan will fail to secure either economic or environmental sustainability.



Nuclear power plants, Eco-Town project, Japanese political institution, Growth politics, Environmental politics, Symbolic politics