The Structure of Problems Surrounding the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Evacuees

Akihiko SATO

Abstract


Since August 2011, the sociology study group of large-scale evacuation (SSGLE) has been conducting interviews with residents of the town of Tomioka in Fukushima Prefecture who were forced to evacuate from their home town because of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. While supporting town meetings organized by stakeholders, SSGLE recognized the following issues: (1) The problems that evacuees have faced are complex and very extensive. (2) These issues are not correctly recognized by policy makers and therefore the present policies do not effectively relieve the affected people. (3) The hastiness of decision making on regional restoration plans has contributed to deterioration of the problems of the affected people, and furthermore, (4) the structure of the Japanese administrative system with its limited degree of local autonomy is behind such issues with planning and decision making. In addition to these issues, it is not possible to deny the existence of public opinion to boost the seriousness of these problems because they don’t realize the real situation that both of affected area and evacuees are facing. As these issues are caused by the discrepancies between the premise behind current reconstruction policies and the actual problems that nuclear accident evacuees are facing, the situation might lead to the collapse of the current policy approach and the municipalities themselves. To improve the situation, the following initiatives are required: survival and continuation of the affected communities that solely know and realize the serious problems by the accident, conveying feedback from the communities to the decision-makers by way of local governments, and long-term policies that take account of lived experiences and their changes as time goes on.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jad.v3i1.10581

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