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Title: Nuclear power and human rights in Japan : the case of the Fukushima disaster
Author: Akyuz, Emrah
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 0976
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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The main purpose of this thesis is to investigate approaches to human rights and the environment in the light of nuclear accident research, particularly with regards to the Fukushima nuclear accident. The thesis discusses three main approaches to environmental protection including the right to environment, the reinterpretation of human rights, and the role of procedural rights, through a qualitative single case study approach of the Fukushima disaster aftermath. This research seeks to address two main research questions: (1) How does nuclear energy relate to environmental human rights? (2) What are the advantages and disadvantages of framing nuclear energy policy and its possible impacts, in the context of environmental human rights? More specifically, it aims to achieve three main objectives. First, it analyses Japan's human rights and nuclear energy policies and its cross-cutting aspects with a particular focus on the Fukushima nuclear accident. Second, it investigates the environmental impact of the Fukushima nuclear accident on key substantive human rights, including the right to life, to health and to property and discusses the debate around the need for a distinct right to environment or whether existing human rights already require a safe environment. Third, it investigates Fukushima residents' experiences of using procedural rights, including the rights to public participation in the decision-making process, the right to information and to right of access to justice, in relation to the FNA and Japan's nuclear energy policy between 2011 and 2017. The thesis reports three main findings which each make a unique contribution to the current literature, both empirically and theoretically. First, the policy analysis has two findings: (1) Japan does not have any policy that addresses the relationship between human rights and the environment; and (2) that environmental safety is essential to achieving Japan's human rights and nuclear energy policies, though this linkage does not appear to be recognised by Japan in any way. Second, the thesis also found that the accident has affected, and indeed still poses an ongoing risk, to the enjoyment of the rights to life, health and property, which has not, to date, been discussed in the related literature. This empirical evidence contributes to the theoretical discussion regarding environmental human rights in the sense that existing human rights already require a safe environment and that a safe environment is essential to the enjoyment of human rights, which brings both advantages and disadvantages compared with the recognition of a distinct right to a safe environment. Finally, this research found that the government and TEPCO have violated procedural rights which has, in turn, violated substantive human rights such as the right to health.
Supervisor: Di Gregorio, Monica ; Van Alstine, James Sponsor: Republic of Turkey
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available