Post-traumatic stress due to structural violence after the Fukushima Disaster

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This study analyses the psychological impacts on victims of the Fukushima Disaster four years after it occurred, using a large-scale survey covering 16,686 families living in and evacuated from Fukushima prefecture. A high level of stress, including signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), was found in more than 40 per cent of the respondents. We analyze, using multiple logistic regression analysis, the relationship between post-traumatic stress and several socio-economic and political issues. The psycho-social and economic distress of ‘compulsory’ and ‘voluntary evacuees’ appears broadly similar, and strikingly different from ‘tsunami evacuees’. Distinct from ‘compulsory evacuees’, ‘voluntary evacuees’ are mainly 30s to 40s young women who felt in danger of radiation exposure, now struggling with tense family relationships and economic difficulties. Based on our quantitative and qualitative data, the collective suffering of the victims is argued to be the result of ‘structural violence’. The structural violence destroyed the living environment and was exacerbated by government policies of return and compensation. Traumatic experiences at the evacuation places and the need to hide their evacuee status hindered victims from integrating into social activism, leading to neglect isolation and social exclusion. Chronic post-traumatic stress due to structural violence is demonstrated in case studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-188
Number of pages28
JournalJapan Forum
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • compulsory evacuees
  • Fukushima
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • social abuse
  • structural violence
  • voluntary evacuees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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