The Social Costs of Japan’s Nuclear Disaster and What Sociology Can Do To Help

Man at the Fukushima Exclusion Zone. By SSoosay. Via Flickr.

Much of the world’s media was focused on the horrific disaster that followed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station meltdowns that began on the 4th of April. An estimated 130,000 people were initially evacuated and 70,000 people presently remain displaced from their homes due to nuclear radiation. In my homeland of Australia, media interest has largely waned on this issue and we don’t hear much about what has happened to Japan’s internal refugees. In today’s post, I will touch on the social policy conditions that exacerbated the effects of the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns. I focus on the ongoing sociological impact of this disaster on Japan’s so-called ‘nuclear refugees’.

Given that my blog is dedicated to experiences of difference (or ‘Otherness’), I am particularly concerned by reports that survivors are being stigmatised for not returning home, while others who have stayed behind along the periphery of the ‘nuclear zone’ are turning to suicide from the despair over the devastation of their land. From the perspective of sociology, social planning and social policy, the magnitude of the refugee crisis could have been avoided. I discuss how sociology can help manage the social problems that the internally displaced Japanese citizens are facing. Sociology can also address future natural disaster responses and contribute towards sustainable planning.

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Public Health Impact of the September 11 Attacks

Public Health Impact of the September 11 AttacksThis is Part One of a three-part series summarising some of the public discussions about the September 11 Anniversary. This one focuses on renowned scientific journal, The Lancet, which recently published a special edition on the ongoing health problems arising from the suicide attack in the USA and from the consequent ongoing War in Iraq.

The Lancet reports that in addition to the 3,000 people who died in the September 11 attacks in 2001, there has been a reverberating impact on the physical, mental and public health of over 200,000 Americans.I review papers on the health outcomes on the victims and the rescue crews who worked on the World Trade Centre site. I also discuss findings on the 43,000 suicide attack civilian casualties resulting from the Iraq war and a further 200 coalition soldiers. Finally, I include a brief review of the public health preparedness in the USA. Though this has drastically improved since the September 11 attacks, the ongoing economic crisis remains a challenge.

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