Japan's nuclear history is paradoxical. The country sustained devastating destruction from two nuclear bombs in World War II, yet it developed one of the most vigorous nuclear power programs in the world. Japan began operating its first nuclear power plant in 1967. Subsequent construction brought the total to fifty-four plants at the time of the catastrophe at Fukushima Daiichi beginning on March 11, 2011. They provided about 30 percent of the country's electricity. Now Japan needs a new source of energy, a subject that receives a vast amount of attention—from the Japanese people and people all over the world.

The timing is therefore perfect for the appearance of a new edition of Hitoshi Yoshioka's 1999 book, A Social History of Nuclear Power: Its Development in Japan. A new chapter has been added, totaling about seventy additional pages. The additional content is based on...

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