The meaning of returning home among evacuees of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident

[Speaker] Hidaka, Tomoo:1
[Co-author] Takeyasu, Kakamu:1, Kumagai, Tomohiro:1, Hayakawa, Takehito:1, Fukushima, Tetsuhito:1

The number of evacuees as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident reached 160,000. The evacuees have begun to return home. Whereas previous studies have explored the adaptation to life in evacuation sites, the psychological effects of returning home on evacuees has yet to be clarified. In this study, we investigated the meaning of returning home among evacuees. Data were collected using interviews and analyzed qualitatively. Four categories were extracted: "return home as business" (i.e., return to restart a family business such as agriculture); "return home to contribute to the community" (i.e., return to contribute to the reconstruction of hometown/community); "children's school adaptation" (i.e., decision to return made depending on whether the child can adapt to school at evacuation site); and "remain at evacuation site" (i.e., no intention of returning home). Our results suggest that mental health support is required to decrease anxiety regarding the return home.
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