Radiation-driven migration: The case of Minamisoma City, Fukushima, Japan, after the Fukushima nuclear accident

Hui Zhang, Wanglin Yan, Akihiro Oba, Wei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The emigration of residents following the Fukushima nuclear accident has resulted in aging and depopulation problems in radiation-contaminated areas. The recovery of affected areas, and even those areas with low radioactive pollution levels, is still heavily affected by this problem. This slow recovery consequently affects immigration patterns. This review aims to present possible factors that have contributed to this dilemma. We first present an overview of the evacuation protocol that was administered in the study area following the Fukushima accident. We then analyze characteristics of the subsequent exodus by comparing population data for both before and after the accident. Based on the findings of existing literature, we identify three causes of emigration: (1) The health risks of living in a low radiation zone are still unknown; (2) The post-disaster psychological disturbance and distrust of government information promotes the emigration of evacuees; (3) an absence of economic vitality and of a leading industry renders the area less attractive to individuals residing outside of the city. Further research is needed on this issue, especially with respect to countermeasures for addressing this problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9286-9305
Number of pages20
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sept 9


  • Aging
  • Depopulation
  • Fukushima nuclear accident
  • Migrant
  • Minamisoma
  • Radiation contamination
  • Recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Radiation-driven migration: The case of Minamisoma City, Fukushima, Japan, after the Fukushima nuclear accident'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this