After almost a month of Japan making do without nuclear energy, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda may have finally persuaded local communities that it is safe to restart two of the 50 reactors that have been idled in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Nonetheless, 70% of Japanese say their country should reduce its reliance on nuclear energy, in a poll conducted as the country’s last nuclear power stations went offline. This is a much larger number taking this position than in the weeks following last year’s nuclear meltdown at the quake and tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
Increased skepticism about nuclear power is coupled with widespread dissatisfaction with the government’s performance: eight-in-ten say the government has done a poor job dealing with the Fukushima crisis and six-in-ten disapprove of how Tokyo has handled the overall recovery from the earthquake and tsunami.
The intensity of the public’s frustration stands in sharp contrast with widespread hope last spring that Japan might succeed in turning tragedy into triumph. A year ago, 58% of Japanese believed the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami would actually make their country stronger. Today, only 39% share this view, while 47% say the twin disaster has actually weakened their nation.
Read the full report, Japanese Wary of Nuclear Energy, on the Pew Global Attutides Project website.