Special Issue on Managing Catastrophic Technological Risks and Role of Technology Assessment (TA) in the Post 3/11 Society
Tatsujiro Suzuki and Go Yoshizawa
The nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCo)’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011, triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent Tsunami, is probably the worst “catastrophic technological risk” ever experienced by Japan. Whether this serious accident could have been prevented or managed better is the key question that we need to pursue. Technology Assessment (TA), which is intended to help decision making by assessing possible societal impacts of particular technology, can play significant role in managing catastrophic technological risks by providing an objective assessment of technological risks before it happens, while it is happening and even after the accident. In this special issue on TA, we are fortunate to have papers and reviews from both distinguished experts as well as young scholars. The variety of the subject is also very useful to see how TA can be applied under the different situations. In particular, in the post 3.11 society, we believe it is a good occasion to consider institutionalization of TA in Japan.