Since the Kyoto Protocol, and prior to the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in 2011, a nuclear safety discourse bolstered the industry and supported its promise to meet energy demands while mitigating the risks of global warming. The Fukushima nuclear disaster and humanitarian crisis caused by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011 called the entire nuclear industry into question. However, the silence among established environmental organizations continued. Based on an extensive study of Japanese environmental organizations, we investigate why Japanese environmental organizations were relatively silent on one of the largest environmental crises in the country’s history. We address this question historically and quantitatively, incorporating survey data on a national sample of Japanese environmental organizations. This research also quantitatively operationalizes the effects of board of director composition on the behavior of a subsample of environmental organizations (EOs). The statistical analyses show that environmental groups with government and corporate board members are significantly less likely to publicly denounce nuclear energy following the Fukushima meltdown. The political-organizational embeddedness of these EOs are illustrated with a network heuristic of overlapping industry, government, and environmental organizations.

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