Majority of Fukushima evacuees in Tokyo area may suffer from PTSD: survey

Kyodo

A survey of Fukushima Prefecture residents who evacuated to the Tokyo metropolitan area area following the March 2011 nuclear disaster found that a majority of respondents may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Waseda University and an evacuee support group attempted to survey between March and April some 3,599 households that have taken shelter in Tokyo and neighboring Saitama Prefecture following the nuclear disaster, and obtained responses from 600.

Households were asked 22 questions to gauge their stress levels during a recent week close to the disaster’s anniversary, with 57.7 percent of respondents found to have developed symptoms akin to PTSD, results released Friday showed.

More than half the respondents expressed concern about making a living or joblessness after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, according to the survey.

It also indicated a sharp decline in interactions with their current neighbors.

The support group, Shinsai Shien Network Saitama, said many evacuees felt a large gap existed between their current environment and their pre-evacuation one, where they often had interactions with others.

Given the high stress levels among Fukushima evacuees more than three years after the disasters, the group said the evacuees must be dealt with delicately.

The results of the survey, the third of its kind, are preliminary as they are based solely on responses from the head of each household, who responded to the questionnaire.