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One Year After Japan’s 3/11 Disaster: Reforming Japan’s Energy Sector, Governance, and Economy

In the year following Japan’s 3/11 triple disaster of the Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear incident, fundamental issues in Japan’s political economy are being debated. Potentially major restructuring of Japan’s corporate and political institutional landscape are on the horizon.

Japan’s electricity industry is on the brink of sweeping reform. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), one of the country’s largest firms, faces potential insolvency from the decommissioning of nuclear reactors and reparations. The deregulation and creation of a new regulatory framework for Japan’s electricity markets can potentially stimulate innovation, economic growth, and entrepreneurship. Investment into smart-grids and rebuilding of the Tohoku region provide opportunities as well as risks.

Political institutions are also being reexamined. On the government side, the clear failure of governance structures is fueling a debate for restructuring administration of the power industry. The ineffective political leadership during the crisis is causing a re-examination of how politicians, bureaucrats, and firms deal with contingencies. More broadly, the 3/11 crisis has influenced political dynamics, as criticism of Prime Minister Kan’s government fueled its downfall, and the specter of this disaster will loom over political debates.

This conference brings together leading scholars, influential experts, many of whom hold key positions in the reform process, and highly informed observers of Japan’s post-3/11 adjustments.

Brief Agenda


Welcome: Gi-Wook Shin, Stanford University

Session I: Reforming Japan's Energy Industry: In Search of Institutional Change to Promote Innovation

Chair: Masahiko Aoki, Stanford University

Kazuhiko Toyama, Industrial Growth Platform, Inc.
Innovation of the Electric Power Industry in Japan's Post-Fukushima Era

Koichiro Ito, Stanford University
Reforming Japan's Power Industry

Discussant: Frank Wolak, Stanford University
Reforming the Japanese Power Sector: Lessons From Around the World


Session II: Political Agendas of Japan's Energy Policy: Opportunities and Constraints

Chair: Daniel Sneider, Stanford University

Keita Nishiyama, Innovation Network of Japan
An Insider's View on Policy Processes and Policy Recommendations for the Japanese Electricity Industry

Steven Vogel, University of California, Berkeley
Japanese Politics After March 2011

Daniel Aldrich
, Purdue University
Phillip Lipscy, Stanford University

Session III: The Disaster's Societal Impacts and Visions Moving Forward

Chair: Michael Armacost, Stanford University

Florian Coulmas, German Institute for Japanese Studies
Japan's Societal Reaction to the Disaster

Masahiko Aoki, Stanford University
Prospects for Japan's Industrial Restructuring in the Global Perspective

Takeo Hoshi
, University of California, San Diego
Kenji Kushida, Stanford University