Accepted Paper:

The first huge domestic and developmental refugees in Japan: social suffering out of Fukushima  


Takuya Tsujiuchi (Waseda University)
Yasushi Kikuchi (United Nations University)
Marisa Tsuchida (Tokyo Women`s Medical University)

Paper short abstract:

The Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011 generated huge domestic refugees. This man-made disaster shows a victim of the socio-economic development. How various large-scale social forces were translated into personal trauma and suffering is discussed.

Paper long abstract:

More than 160,000 people were displaced losing their home-land by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. It is necessary to understand them as the first huge domestic and developmental refugees in Japan after World War Two. Tracing back to the origin of this huge amount of refugees and severe environmental destruction by radiation contamination, we reach to the important development projects of building nuclear power energy in Japan, and it is also related to national security. Historically, all the nuclear power plants were built in the poor economic municipalities in the countryside into which lots of investment rushed. However, twenty to thirty years later, most of the cities suffered severe financial difficulties and fell into dependency on the nuclear energy. This disaster is regarded as a human-made disaster. By our quantitative and qualitative research, the refugees suffer severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms and socio-economic issues, which are related to their concern over compensation or reparation. Although most of the refugees were provided with temporary houses, a lot of people lost jobs and incomes, and families and communities were split up and social ties or bonds were lost. According to our research, many narratives were recorded about a large amount of harassment, discrimination and stigma because of their radiation exposure and migration. Many issues of human rights are coming out. In this presentation, how various large-scale social forces were translated into personal trauma and social suffering is discussed.

Panel P028
Development, displacement and poverty in the context of social justice