Public Response to the Tokai Nuclear Accident
This article discusses the influence of the September 30, 1999 nuclear accident in Tokai village (Japan) on the public’s attitudes toward nuclear power in Japan. The data used in this report were taken from the results of two surveys conducted mainly to measure the attitudes of the Japanese public with regard to the use of nuclear power in Japan. The first survey was done before the accident in District 23 in Tokyo and also in Osaka and Nagoya. The second survey, which took place after the accident in District 23 in Tokyo and in Osaka and Nagoya, also included residents in a number of other cities of various sizes throughout Japan. The results of the two surveys showed that (1) acceptability of and trust in nuclear power operation had decreased, (2) perceived accident likelihood and public interest had significantly increased, and (3) there had been neither significant nor even a small change in the public’s self-rated knowledge about nuclear power or their distrust of the government. The results also showed that the ratio of nuclear power generation opponents to total respondents had considerably increased (7% to 23%) whereas nuclear power generation supporters had moderately decreased (1% to 12%).
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