Universal Journal of Management Vol. 5(2), pp. 67 - 79
DOI: 10.13189/ujm.2017.050203
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Information Needs and Modalities among People Affected by the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Akiko Sato *
Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, United Nations University, Japan


Timely communication of accurate and practical information is indispensable for nuclear disaster management. This study aimed to collect lessons from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster by analyzing people's information needs, as well as their sources and channels of information since the disaster. This study also explored common challenges they faced in information seeking, and information disparities among them. One-to-one interviews and focus group discussions were conducted in June-September 2015 with key stakeholders, involving affected residents, civil society organizations, municipal government officials and social workers in Fukushima prefecture. This study revealed that information needs immediately after the disaster directly related to their survival and the safety assurance of families and others. But information needs became diverse, reflecting a wide range of impacts of the nuclear disaster. The communication modalities on which participants relied for obtaining information varied by individual. But people experienced various difficulties in gaining information due to the chaotic circumstances during and after the disaster, the long-lasting and complicated disaster recovery process, different perceptions of radiation risks and public distrust of government bodies and Tokyo Electric Power Company. There were information disparities between affected people living in temporary housing units for evacuees and those living elsewhere. The findings indicate that risk factors for poor information access and utilization also included living in an elderly-only household, having limited social interactions, and living outside Fukushima prefecture. Study participants raised concerns that the information disparities would likely increase under the current Japanese government policy of accelerating disaster-recovery operations.

Nuclear Disaster, Fukushima, Information Needs, Information Modality, Information Disparity, Vulnerability, Radiation, Risk Perception

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Akiko Sato , "Information Needs and Modalities among People Affected by the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster," Universal Journal of Management, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 67 - 79, 2017. DOI: 10.13189/ujm.2017.050203.

(b). APA Format:
Akiko Sato (2017). Information Needs and Modalities among People Affected by the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. Universal Journal of Management, 5(2), 67 - 79. DOI: 10.13189/ujm.2017.050203.