Nuclear Allergy?

In the wake of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japanese often proclaimed their society to be “allergic” to nuclear technology—particularly nuclear weapons. What has been far less acknowledged in Japan is a persistent pattern of discrimination against those deemed “contaminated” (including atomic-bomb survivors, descendants of the customary “untouchable” outcaste, certain foreigners, and other stigmatized groups). One potentially explosive question in the aftermath of the tsunami and nuclear crisis is whether the shock of the disaster will continue to encourage cohesion and altruism—or whether, in time, the taint of radiation will lead to exclusion in a society fixated on purity.

Press here to read the rest of this Daily Beast editorial by Peter Wynn Kirby, a researcher with the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford and a research fellow at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris.

The Human Fallout for Japan
Peter Wynn Kirby

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