The Impact of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident on People's Perception of Disaster Risks and Attitudes Toward Nuclear Energy Policy:Regional Differences and Distance from Nuclear Plants

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:57
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Noriko IWAI, JGSS Research Center, Osaka University of Commerce, Japan
Kuniaki SHISHIDO, Osaka University of Commerce, Japan
Multiple nationwide opinion surveys, carried out by the government, 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 have heightened people’s perception of disaster risks, fear of nuclear accident, and recognition of pollution, and have changed public opinion on nuclear energy policy.  The gap of opinion on nuclear energy policy between specialists and lay people has widened after the disaster.

    The results of 2012/2015 Japanese General Social Survey data show that the objection to the promotion of nuclear energy is strong among females, and weaker among young males and the supporters of the LDP.  This is similar to the data collected after the Chernobyl accident.  Among people who live in a 70km (80km in 2015) radius of nuclear plants, those who live nearer to plants tend to evaluate nuclear disaster risks higher.  Distance from nuclear plants and the perception of earthquake risk interactively correlate with the opinion 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 is also found that the nuclear disaster has changed not only people’s attitudes but also people’s behavior.  People have come to try to save electricity in addition to turning off electrical equipments frequently.  It has led to the 5.1% reduction of electrical demands over the previous year in 2011, another 1.0% in 2012, 0.4% in 2013 and 3.0% in 2014.  The level of commitment to energy saving is found to be correlated with opinion on nuclear issues: 80% of the proponents of nuclear reactor decommissioning have tried to reduce electrical consumption.  The reduction of electrical demands has been people’s manifestation towards the nuclear energy policy.