Short History of Risk Communication in Japan
*Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University, 31-17 Kotakeyabu-cho, Matsugasaki, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-0967, Japan
**Fellow, International Institute for Advanced Studies
The notion of risk was introduced in Japanese academia in the 1970s. Following this initial period of interest, the Society for Risk Analysis, Japan, was launched in 1988, coinciding with the first study of “risk communication.” However, the concept was not widely embraced by the public at that time. This situation changed after the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, and risk communication gradually came to be acknowledged in Japanese society. Following the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant incident ofMarch 11, 2011, a boom in risk communication occurred due to anxieties among residents about the possibility of low-level radiation exposure. Regrettably, however, the government’s risk communication system did not work well, and consequently, the general public did not know who or what to believe. Underlying this confusion, we can observe the differences between the “risk cultures” of Japan and the West. Thus, it remains to be seen in what manner Japanese people will come to accept risk communication.
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