” Around 71 percent of Fukushima Prefecture residents remain dissatisfied with the central government’s handling of the nuclear disaster four years after the triple meltdown forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, a survey showed.
Only 14 percent of respondents were satisfied with the central government’s efforts at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to the telephone survey conducted jointly by The Asahi Shimbun and Fukushima Broadcasting Co. on Feb. 28 and March 1.
In surveys conducted six months after the nuclear accident was triggered by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, and before the first, second and third anniversaries of the disasters, the dissatisfaction rates were between 70 and 80 percent.
Although the latest rate of dissatisfaction was down slightly from the previous survey, it was still high ahead of the fourth anniversary of the disasters.
The latest survey received valid responses from 1,028 eligible voters in Fukushima Prefecture, or 57 percent of those contacted.
Evacuation orders for certain areas around the nuclear plant have been lifted, but thousands of people still live away from their homes, including many who now reside outside the prefecture.
Radioactive water leaks, malfunctioning equipment, human errors and botched plans have persistently hampered work to decommission the reactors at the plant.
Shortly before the latest survey was taken, reports surfaced that Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, did not reveal for about 10 months that water contaminated with radioactive materials had been flowing from the plant into the ocean.
Asked about TEPCO’s stance, 80 percent of respondents said “it was a major problem,” while 16 percent said “it was somewhat of a problem.”
Only 2 percent said “there was not much of a problem,” while 1 percent said “there was no problem at all.”
However, the Fukushima residents were more evenly split on work by the central and local governments to decontaminate areas affected by radiation.
A combined 49 percent of respondents either “highly [approved]” or “somewhat [approved]” the decontamination efforts.
In comparison, a combined 48 percent either “did not appraise” or “somewhat did not appraise” the work.
Those figures marked an improvement in public opinion of the cleanup work.
In the two previous surveys, the combined percentages of respondents not appraising the decontamination work exceeded 60 percent, while only about 40 percent appraised the efforts. ”