Transnational Memory and the Fukushima Disaster: Memories of Japan in Australian Anti-nuclear Activism

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Abstract

This paper argues for the importance of transnational memories in framing Australian anti-nuclear activism after the Fukushima disaster. Japan looms large in the transnational nuclear imaginary. Commemorating Hiroshima as the site of the first wartime use of nuclear weapons has been a long-standing practice in the Australian anti-nuclear movement and the day has been linked to a variety of issues including weapons and uranium mining. As Australia began exporting uranium to Japan in the 1970s, Australia-Japan relations took on a new meaning for the Indigenous Traditional Owners from whose land uranium was extracted. After Fukushima, these complex transnational memories formed the basis for an orientation towards Japan by Indigenous land rights activists and for the anti-nuclear movement as a whole. This paper argues that despite tenuous organizational links between the two countries, transnational memories drove Australian anti-nuclear activists to seek connections with Japan after the Fukushima disaster. The mobilisation of these collective memories helps us to understand how transnational social movements evolve and how they construct globalisation from below in the Asia-Pacific region.fic region.

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General Articles (Peer Reviewed)