Social Friction in the Community Hosting Evacuees of Nuclear-Disaster in Fukushima: A Case Study of Iwaki City

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: Booth 48
Oral Presentation
Saori KAWAZOE , Faculty of Letters, Arts and Science, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
The Fukushima Nuclear disaster has brought various and complex social divide, not only to those communities forced to evacuate but also to the communities hosing evacuees. Iwaki-City, Fukushima Pref., is currently hosting about 24,000 evacuees from several municipalities, which is the largest evacuee-hosting municipality in Japan. One of the issues in the aftermath of disaster in Iwaki-City is the frustration of its residents to host evacuees and the social friction between evacuees and residents.

The aim of this research is to examine the structural problem of the social friction, based on the data taken by the interviews to the evacuees and the hosting residents and supporters in Iwaki City. The cause of friction can be categorized as (1) the drastic social change and inconvenience of daily life due to the rapid population growth, (2) the relative deprivation constructed by the compensation for mental damage and the sense of risk to radiation and (3) the structural issues of disaster relief assistance for evacuees and to create an environment for the evacuees and residents to interact.

Especially regarding the third issue, as evacuees are widely dispersed, the formal assistance for disaster relief, which differ according to municipalities, have not necessarily fulfilled the needs of their current daily life, and informal self-help groups of evacuees have emerged to reconstruct their existed social network in order to obtain an access to social resources. However, in this situation, the sense and need of belonging to each municipality is emphasized and these differences eventually seem to function as ethnic differences and deepen the gap between them. This issue illustrates the social and economic gap constructed in the process of disaster, the difficulties to organize a disaster relief assistance for evacuees in this nuclear disaster and the need of coordination assistance between evacuees and residents.