From Hiroshima to Fukushima: Japan & nuclear energy

March 22, 2011

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(Getty Images/Junko Kimura)
A young girl looks at a sign that reads: "No More Hiroshima." Controversy over nuclear energy in Japan dates back to WWII.

In Japan, efforts to contain the nuclear crisis continue. An official at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said yesterday that the plant appeared to be “on the verge of stabilizing.” As Japan struggles to contain the damage to the plant’s nuclear reactors, we take a look at the country’s history with nuclear power. In spite of the Japan's experience with radiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki after World War II, Japanese leaders touted nuclear power as the way forward. Atomic energy also became embedded in Japanese popular culture, from Godzilla to widely read Japanese manga such as "Astro Boy". We’ll discuss Japan’s nuclear history with Craig Nelson, a doctoral candidate in Japanese history at Ohio State University. His dissertation is on the history of nuclear power in Japan.