Accepted Paper:

Toxic waste in transition: post-movement island communities in Japan  

Author:

Tak Uesugi (Okayama University)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation explores the process through which toxic waste is materially and discursively removed and transformed in two island communities involved in post-movement environmental mitigation in western Japan.

Paper long abstract:

Many anthropologists and sociologists have studied social justice movements in the aftermath of toxic disasters. However, works on post-movement situation is still rare. This presentation explores the process through which toxic waste is materially and discursively removed and transformed in two island communities involved in post-movement environmental mitigation in western Japan.

Teshima, an island in western Japan, was a site of illegal toxic dumping since the 1960s. The island residents began to mobilize against this illegal dumping in the 1970s. And in 2000, they finally reached an arbitration agreement with the municipal government to decontaminate the dumping site. This mitigation process involved two steps: 1) prevention of the contamination of ground water and sea by creating impermeable dike, 2) transportation of toxic waste to its neighboring island of Naoshima.

In 2000, Naoshima declared its decision to accept the construction of an industrial waste processing plant as part of their "eco island" project. By situating this waste processing plant as a key player in "recycling society", Naoshima aims to create a new image of "eco-friendly society" while attracting industry. Meanwhile, Teshima uses its history of the movement and the effort to recover biodiversity of the surrounding sea as a resource to attract outsiders to the island. In this presentation I will explore how the relationship between the people's perception of risk of toxic waste and the conception of eco-friendly environment in two communities has contributed to their conception of waste and its fate.

Panel LL-AS05
Poison, movements and communities