University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Wolfson College Lunchtime Seminar Series - Wednesdays of Full Term > Popular Sentiment and Constitutional Problems in the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake: Self-Defense Forces, the Imperial System and Democracy

Popular Sentiment and Constitutional Problems in the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake: Self-Defense Forces, the Imperial System and Democracy

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It has been three years since the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake of the 11th of March 2011. This unprecedented catastrophe, and the resulting accident at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, shocked the public and rocked Japanese politics and society as a whole. Among other incidents, the huge tsunami and the nuclear accident thrust the Tohoku Region into a state of emergency. Even now, three years later, the reconstruction of the disaster-stricken areas still cannot be said to be going smoothly. In addition, Japan is faced not only with the challenges of implementing and achieving specific reconstruction policies, but also with the need to consider and solve some longer-term problems, seen from a wider perspective, such as harsh domestic economic conditions, public distrust of politicians, and the negative impact of the nuclear accident on the international community. The national crisis caused by the catastrophe awoke a community spirit among the people that lies dormant in times of peace. It also brought to light some fundamental problems latent in the nation and its people. Among the various issues that have been illuminated by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, I shall focus on the relationship between the state of emergency, declared after the earthquake occurred, and the Constitution of Japan, from the perspective of the popular sentiment toward the Self-Defense Forces (the Japanese military), the Emperor and the Imperial system. This seminar is not a legal analysis of the constitutional issues but a summary of the political and philosophical issues surrounding the challenges of reconstruction.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Lunchtime Seminar Series - Wednesdays of Full Term series.

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