National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan
Using public opinion survey results in 2014, we analyzed public’s support for nuclear power generation in Japan. For measuring people’s “support”, we used three items. One is a) support for resuming operation of current existing nuclear power generation plants in Japan. Currently all of them are not operated. Other two were, b) Anxiety for accidents of nuclear of plants, c) costs and benefits of nuclear power generation. The most significant variable was the “Environment versus economy”. Respondents who chose “Economy” over “Environment” are more likely to a) support resuming operation, b) be more anxious for accidents, and c) emphasis risk than benefits. Some other demographic variables are also significant such as gender, age, income, and educational level. We further explored the background of this result. According to other our survey result, the 2008 financial shock caused by the Lehman Brothers had a significant impact on Japanese society. Before summer of 2008, “climate change” was the national most important topic, but after then, economy has been the most important issues in Japan. Then 2011 disaster happened. All of the nuclear power generation plants had stopped their operation. At local level, people who live in towns of nuclear power generation sites are now facing the risk of unemployment. Costs and benefits mean anxiety for possible accident of the plants and employments for those people. Scientists often discuss about the safety of nuclear power generation. But people matter not only technological risks, but also everyday lives.