The Impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident on People's Perception of Disaster Risks and Attitudes Toward Nuclear Energy Policy

  • Published : 2015.05.31


Multiple nationwide opinion surveys, carried out by the government (cabinet office), major media (national newspapers and NHK), the National Institute for Environmental Studies, and the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, have revealed that the Fukushima nuclear accident has heightened people's perception of disaster risks, fear of nuclear accidents, and increased recognition of pollution issues, and has changed public opinion on nuclear energy policy. The opinion gap on nuclear energy policy between specialists and lay people has widened since the disaster. The results of the Japanese General Social Survey data show that objections to the promotion of nuclear energy are strong among females, and weaker among young males and the supporters of the LDP. These findings are similar to the data collected after the Chernobyl accident. People who live in a 70km radius of nuclear plants tend to evaluate nuclear disaster risks higher. Distance from nuclear plants and the perception of earthquake risk interactively correlate with opinions on nuclear issues. Among people whose evaluation of earthquake risk is low, those who live nearer to the plants are more likely to object to the abolishment of nuclear plants. It was also found that the nuclear disaster has changed people's behavior; they now try to save electricity. The level of commitment to energy saving is found to relate to opinions on nuclear issues.


Supported by : JSPS KAKENHI


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