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Challenges for social impact assessment in coastal regions: a case study of the Tomakomai CCS Demonstration Project.

Mabon, Leslie; Kita, Jun; Xue, Ziqiu


Leslie Mabon

Jun Kita

Ziqiu Xue


This paper assesses challenges for social impact assessment (SIA) for coastal and offshore infrastructure projects, using the case study of the Tomakomai Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Demonstration Project in Hokkaido, Japan. Interest in SIA and linked concepts such as social licence to operate is growing, yet marine environments also have potential to raise additional complexity in project governance. Drawing on qualitative research conducted in Tomakomai and Japan more widely across the project development and implementation phase, the paper argues that building an understanding of the social, cultural and historical relationship between the community, industry and the sea is crucial to understanding the neutral or cautiously supportive response of the citizens and stakeholders in Tomakomai to the project. Moreover, effective SIA in coastal regions needs to find a way to account for - or at least make visible - these complex relations between society and the sea. Based on the findings, it is suggested that developers or policymakers overseeing SIA in coastal regions ought to pay extra attention to the extent to which developments like CCS are viewed by communities as 'new' as opposed to a continuation of existing activities in the sea; to the importance of engagement on monitoring during the project operations phase; and to the non-economic values such as pride and identity which communities and stakeholders may derive from the sea.


MABON, L., KITA, J. and XUE, Z. 2017. Challenges for social impact assessment in coastal regions: a case study of the Tomakomai CCS Demonstration Project. Marine policy [online], 83, pages 243-251. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 11, 2017
Online Publication Date Jun 20, 2017
Publication Date Sep 30, 2017
Deposit Date Jun 13, 2017
Publicly Available Date Dec 21, 2018
Journal Marine Policy
Print ISSN 0308-597X
Electronic ISSN 1872-9460
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 83
Pages 243-251
Keywords Carbon dioxide capture and storage; Coastal communities; Social impact assessment; Social licence to operate; Tomakomai CCS demonstration project
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