Foreigners’ Evacuation Behavior in the Great East Japan Earthquake: A Case of Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture
Md. Faiz Shah* and Osamu Murao**
*Faculty of Engineering, King Abdulaziz University, Abdullah Suleiman Street, Al Jamiaa District 80200, Saudi Arabia
**International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University, 2-1-1 Katahira, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8577, Japan
A primary challenge for foreigners living in the disaster stricken Tohoku area in Japan was information that made many suffer from the dilemma of to either evacuate or stay. The purpose of this study is to investigate foreigners’ information gathering behavior and its impact on their evacuation decisions. This study applied a questionnaire survey and interview methods and collected 124 samples from foreigners in Iwaki. Results show that (i) nuclear radiation was the main reason for their evacuation decision; (ii) they had to collect information from national broadcasters as there was no local information dissemination; and (iii) average Japanese language ability did not impose a barrier to their lives, but a better command might have prevented them from evacuation. They had the desire to stay and offer volunteer services for the victims. A more coordinated action from local public organizations is recommended including networking with foreigners. This paper checks the possibility and finds the scope.
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