Engagement on risk and uncertainty – lessons from coastal regions of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan after the 2011 nuclear disaster?
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MABON, L. and KAWABE, M. 2016. Engagement on risk and uncertainty – lessons from coastal regions of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan after the 2011 nuclear disaster? Journal of risk research [online], Latest Articles. Available from: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13669877.2016.1200658
This paper uses the case study of the south-east coast of Fukushima Prefecture in Japan to draw lessons for risk communication under situations of high uncertainty and conditions of varying trust. Based on an existing field of research into the social and ethical aspects of governing risks around environmental radioactivity, empirical qualitative material collected in Fukushima Prefecture over 2014 and 2015 is analysed around three key questions: who is undertaking risk communication and how they are perceived (in particular their motivations and perceived competence); what is the purpose of engagement with citizens and stakeholders on risk and uncertainty (i.e. whether it is to ‘convince’ people or allow them to come to their own informed decision); and whether risk communication may be considered responsive to the needs of the affected populations. The findings are then applied to Kasperson’s (2014) four questions for the future of risk communication in order to assess their wider implications. Particular attention is paid to how the individual or institution conveying the risk message is perceived, and in whose interests risk communication is undertaken.