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37 Pct of Population Displaced From Japan’s Fukushima May Have PTSD: Survey

A survey of Fukushima Prefecture residents who evacuated to areas outside the prefecture following the March 2011 nuclear disaster found that nearly 40 percent of respondents may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), local media reported Monday.

Waseda University and a citizens group sent questionnaires to 5,350 households mainly in the Kanto region around Tokyo who had fled from Fukushima following the nuclear disaster, and obtained responses from 516.

The results indicated that 37.0 percent of the evacuees had PTSD.

Behind the high rate are long-term stress factors, including memories of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, drastic changes in living environments and problems resulting from the government’s post-disaster measures, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reported.

Meanwhile, 34.5 percent said they “still have no job.” As for reasons, 16.3 percent cited an “inability to resume my self-owned business yet,” and 14.0 percent said they “could not work due to illness.”

The survey, conducted from January through April 2022, also revealed the worsening financial situation of evacuees, as 56.8 percent said they were “worried about compensation and indemnification.”

Another problem is the growing feeling of isolation, with 38.9 percent of respondents saying they “rarely have contact” or “have no contact” with friends or acquaintances in the places where they currently live.

“Although victims remain in touch with one another, some of them cannot go out on their own,” said Takuya Tsujiuchi, a medical professor at Waseda university, who was involved in the research. “Such shut-ins alongside depressed individuals and elderly people need personal visits by supporters.”