"Japan's 3.11 Catastrophe: The Rhetoric of Crisis and Political Change"

A talk by Professor Richard Samuels

Thu, February 14, 2013 | Sid Richardson Hall Room 3.122

12:15 PM

Richard Samuels
Richard Samuels

Japanese political entrepreneurs have used the March 2011 catastrophe in Tohoku (3.11) to nudge national policy in the direction of their own choosing. For some, 3.11 was a warning for Japan to “put it in gear’’ and head off on a new path. For others, the catastrophe was a once in a millennium “black swan,” so Japan should “stay the course.’’ Still others declared that 3.11 taught that Japan must return to an idealized past and rebuild what was lost to modernity and globalization. In his talk, Samuels will discuss how battles among these perspectives on change-- and contested appeals to leadership, community, and risk-- defined post-3.11 politics and public policy in Japan, particularly in the areas of national security, energy policy, and local governance.


Richard Samuels is Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the Center for International Studies. He has been head of the MIT Political Science Department, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Japan of the National Research Council, and chair of the Japan-US Friendship Commission. He has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and was awarded an imperial decoration, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Prime Minister. 

Sponsored by: Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law

Bookmark and Share