Getting Steamed

―Local-Level Impediments to Geothermal Energy Exploration in Japan―

October 26, 2017 6:30 PM (finished)

Jacques E.C. Hymans

(University of Southern California)

Date/Time October 26, 2017 6:30 PM
Location Room 549 5th floor, Akamon Sogo Kenkyuto Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo  [map]
Abstract Why wasn’t post-oil shock Japan able to make greater progress toward improving its energy security, and in particular, increasing its domestic energy production? Beyond the obvious fact that Japan does not have substantial hydrocarbon fuel reserves, it is often argued that the central authorities’ desire to increase domestic energy production was greatly hampered by local “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) resistance to new power plant siting. This paper investigates the question of local-level impediments to Japan’s exploitation of a kind of energy that has gotten almost no attention in the energy policy literature: geothermal energy. Contrary to popular belief, Japan is not totally bereft of domestic energy resources; it actually has vast untapped geothermal energy potential. The paper sheds a new light both on the geothermal energy puzzle and on the more general dynamics of power plant siting in Japan.
Bio Jaques E.C. Hymans is a tenured associate professor of international relations at the University of Southern California and currently a visiting associate professor at Waseda University. His research focuses on international security and on national identity in various world regions. Hymans' most recent book, Achieving Nuclear Ambitions: Scientists, Politicians, and Proliferation (Cambridge University Press, 2012) was awarded the $100,000 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, the American Political Science Association Don K. Price Award for best book on science, technology and environmental politics, and the National Academy for Public Administration Louis Brownlow Award for best book on public administration. The paper to be presented at the workshop is co-authored with Fumiya Uchikoshi, a University of Tokyo Ph.D student in Sociology.