Excerpts from “Human Security and Natural Disasters” online


Just a quick note to say that Routledge have kindly made the first two chapters of Human Security and Natural Disasters available to view for free online until 15 May 2014. This means you can read the introduction I co-wrote with Paul Bacon, as well as my framing chapter that reviews the human security approach and considers how it can be applied to examining natural disasters. You can view the chapters here.

Human Security and Natural Disasters

9780415737999I’m very happy to announce that a book I’ve co-edited, Human Security and Natural Disasters, has just been published with Routledge. This is based on a workshop organized by Waseda and UNU in Tokyo in February 2012. It was a very productive meeting, and out of it came this really strong collection. The book has a great combination of authors, with one of its strengths being its strongly interdisciplinary nature. This volume has a number of more theoretical chapters looking at different aspects of the relationship between human security and natural disasters, and then a range of international case studies. The companion volume, which is being published by Routledge in a few months, focuses on Japan’s 2011 ‘triple disaster’. For more information about the book, including a table of contents and endorsements, check here.

Presentation on the war on drugs


I’m currently in Canberra spending some time this month as a visiting researcher at the Department of International Relations, The Australian National University. For anybody who happens to be around, I will be giving a paper at the Hedley Bull Centre this Monday 24 March from 12:30. I’ll be covering some recent work I have been doing on the war on drugs in Latin America. More information is available here.

“Lessons for fixing Fukushima”


I was in Fukushima earlier this week for some site visits and a conference organized by the UNU and IGES. The picture above is from some decontamination work I witnessed. The left side had been washed and cleaned with a special liquid, and thus was “safe”, where as the right is still “contaminated”. But what was clear to me is that even if through these efforts they can get areas sufficiently decontaminated, it will matter little if people do not feel safe. This reflects that many of the most serious challenges in rebuilding Fukushima are not technical problems, but social ones: about how to rebuild trust and people’s confidence in having a future. I have written a new op-ed in The Japan Times, which brings together some reflections from the trip. You can read it here.

Seminar at UNU with the Director General of the IRSN


On Friday 20 December from 14:00 – 17:00 the UNU Fukushima Global Communication programme, of which I am a member, will be organizing a half day symposium focusing on issues related the environmental and public health impacts of the nuclear accident at Fukushima Dai-ichi. The keynote address will be given by Dr Jacques Repussard, who is the Director General of the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) in France. I was fortunate enough to meet him recently on a trip to the IRSN in Paris and learned a lot from insights. IRSN has been closely monitoring and analyzing the ongoing situation at Fukushima, and have a wealth of material on their website. The keynote will be followed by a panel discussion. This is a great opportunity to hear from a leading international expert on radiation issues.

For more information about the seminar, including a provisional program, please visit the UNU event page. If you would like to attend the seminar, you must register in advance. You can do so here. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions about the event.

“Exposing IAEA to a dose of reality”


I have co-authored a new op-ed with Andrew DeWit, which appears in The Japan Times today. The piece focuses on the preliminary findings issued by the IAEA after a recent country mission to Japan to look at decontamination efforts in the area around Fukushima Daiichi. The remit of the mission was limited to off-site, which we suggest leads to an overly positive assessment that glosses over and ignores the serious problems in and around Daiichi. The full IAEA report that we examine is available here and you can read our op-ed here.


Aj Jazeera interview

About a month ago I was interviewed by Al Jazeera English news to offer some opinions on the ongoing problems with contaminated water leaking at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. If you are interested, I’ve uploaded it and it is available to watch above. Apologies about the bad backdrop, it was my first day in my new office!

International Day of Democracy

International Day of Democracy

Earlier this month – on 15 September – there was the International Day of Democracy. On its website, the United Nations has compiled some key documents and reports relevant for this important day (and in French). I am very happy to say that a policy brief I co-authored with Jeff Bridoux and Milja Kurki, Rethinking Democracy Support, was included on this list. In this paper, we discuss some of the major challenges facing democracy promoters today, as well as proposing some possible responses that centre on expanding the way we understand and conceive of democracy. If you are interested in reading more, the full report is available to download in PDF here.

“Abe at Ground Zero: the consequences of inaction at Fukushima Daiichi”

apj-logoAndrew DeWit and I have considerably expanded and revised our recent Japan Times op-ed into a much longer piece for Japan Focus. This article provides more details about the domestic and international pressure building on Japan to act, how difficult and tricky decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi will continue to be, and why Abe needs to quickly change course in the way his government has been dealing with the situation. It is also fully referenced in case you want more information about the specifics.

In short, we argue that if Abe doesn’t act, the mishandling of Fukushima Daiichi could have seriously ramifications not only for his own political future, but for Japan’s. You can read it here.