Respondents to a survey in Shizuoka Prefecture, which houses Chubu Electric Power Co.'s Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant, have cited the government as the second-least reliable source of information on nuclear accidents.
A total of 29.2 percent of respondents in the survey by Hirotada Hirose, a professor emeritus at Tokyo Women's Christian University, cited the central government and its ministries and agencies as the least reliable source of information in the event of a nuclear accident. The figure was topped only by "social networking services (SNS), at 36.7 percent, highlighting deep-rooted mistrust in the government as a source of information.
Conducted between May and June, the survey targeted the city of Omaezaki, where the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant stands, and 10 municipalities within a 31-kilometer radius of the plant, designated as urgent protective action planning zones (UPZs). A total of 360 people between the ages of 18 and 79 were interviewed directly by researchers.
The respondents were asked to choose from nine sources of information, not including nuclear power companies, which would be responsible for the incidents. Besides SNS and the central government and its ministries and agencies, the next most commonly cited unreliable sources of information were "independent reports by TV stations" at 11.9 percent, and "international organizations such as the United Nations," at 4.4 percent. "Independent reports by newspapers" came in at 2.2 percent.
When asked for the "most reliable" source, respondents' top answer was "prefectures and municipalities," at 41.4 percent, while "the government, its ministries and agencies," was selected by 11.7 percent of respondents.
"If the credibility level of the government is this low, it could have a negative effect during evacuations. If the government is moving to restart nuclear reactors, then it first should make an effort to clear away the sense of mistrust," Hirose said.