5 Mars 2016
March 4, 2016
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Although optimism is rising, 62 percent of Fukushima residents still feel that the end is nowhere in sight for rebuilding the prefecture from damage caused by the triple disaster in 2011, a survey showed.
In comparison, 36 percent said the roadmap for reconstruction is becoming clearer, according to the telephone survey conducted jointly by The Asahi Shimbun and Fukushima Broadcasting Co. on Feb. 27 and 28.
On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami slammed the coast of the Tohoku region and set off the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The survey, which received 1,015 valid responses, asked Fukushima residents whether they saw positive signs on the path to recovery ahead of the fifth anniversary of the disaster.
Fifty-three percent of the respondents said “not very much,” down 1 percentage point from a survey in 2012, while 9 percent said “not at all,” compared with 38 percent in 2012.
Thirty-five percent said a reconstruction roadmap is in place “to a certain extent,” up sharply from 7 percent in 2012, and 1 percent selected “very much,” the survey showed.
The annual survey is the sixth in a series that started six months after the triple disaster.
Asked how long it would take for the life in the prefecture to return to pre-3/11 conditions, 51 percent, the highest figure, said “more than 20 years,” followed by 20 percent who said “around 10 years” and 18 percent who said “around 20 years.”
Asked about the recent resumption of nuclear reactor operations in Japan, 77 percent of the Fukushima residents said they “disapprove of” the reactor restarts, compared with 10 percent who “approve of” such moves.
In comparison, a nationwide survey conducted in February showed that 54 percent of Japanese disapprove of the reactor restarts while 31 percent approve.
Only 17 percent of Fukushima residents said they “approve of” the central government’s handling of the nuclear disaster, far below the 66 percent who “disapprove of” its efforts, the survey showed.
Similarly, 13 percent of the residents “approve of” the way the central government and Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima plant, have dealt with contaminated water accumulating at the plant, while 74 percent had a negative appraisal of the work.
Fukushima Prefecture officials have been struggling to improve the image of the prefecture that has been tarnished by the nuclear disaster.
According to the survey, 68 percent of residents said the image of Fukushima Prefecture has “not recovered.” Specifically, 58 percent said “not really” and 10 percent said “not at all.”
Thirty percent said the image has “recovered,” comprising 1 percent who said “greatly” and 29 percent who said “to a certain extent.”