The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake brought enormous damage across much of Eastern Japan. The post-disaster restoration and nuclear plant reactivation remain major political issues in Japan, however, the association between these policy preferences and social stratification is not clear. This study uses original survey data from three areas, Fukushima, Sendai, and Tokyo, to examine the relationship between a person’s social status and his/her policy preferences. Results show that the most significant variables are age, sex and living in a radiation area. Political efficacy and sense of social unfairness also affect nuclear power preference in the final model while perceived social stratification and household income have no effect. Interestingly, amount of damage by the disaster is not significant. The determinants of view on the pace of restoration are age, sense of social unfairness, gender role value, and political efficacy. Disaster related variables (e.g., evacuation, radiation area dummy) were also significant, as well as residence year. It means local origin people tend to say the pace is slow. The determinants of anxiety about the future are life satisfaction, social stratification, and health condition.
Yoichi Murase is an associate professor of sociology at the Department of Sociology of Rikkyo University in Tokyo. His research areas include social stratification, inequality, and statistical survey methodology. He received his Ph.D. from Tohoku University in Japan and has participated in many social survey projects in Japan. He was a visiting scholar to the Department of Sociology at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001 and 2015. In addition, he has traveled to Korea and Taiwan for his research on inequality in East Asia.