Policy Briefs

  • Tackling Prolonged Displacement: Lessons on Durable Solutions from Fukushima

    FGC Policy Brief #1

    Ana Mosneaga (Research Associate, UNU-IAS)

    The first UNU-IAS Policy Brief of the Fukushima Global Communication Programme  presents recommendations for finding durable solutions to prolonged displacement, based on field research in Fukushima since the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident. It considers the challenges of situations of prolonged displacement such as in Fukushima, including bottlenecks in policy, legal and institutional frameworks, and emphasizes the need for transparency, access to information and consultations with displaced populations.


    Finding a durable solution to a displacement situation is not a straightforward process. Cases of severe nuclear disasters that render areas unsafe for habitation for prolonged periods require interim or alternative solutions to meet the evolving needs, capacities, vulnerabilities and preferences of the displaced people. Existing international instruments offer crucial guidance, but greater appreciation of context is necessary to enhance their relevance.


    • An enabling environment for finding durable solutions needs to be systematically established through ongoing re-examinations of policies, laws and institutions. Comprehensive reforms are often required rather than piecemeal adjustments of existing frameworks.
    • Addressing social and psychological consequences is as important as the (re-) construction of physical infrastructure and environmental remediation.
    • Enabling displaced people to exercise agency and take ownership of the process is critical.

    PDF download of FGC Policy Brief #1.


    Restoring Livelihoods after Disasters: The Case of Fukushima’s Nuclear Evacuees

    FGC Policy Brief #2

    Ana Mosneaga (Research Associate, UNU-IAS)

    The second UNU-IAS Policy Brief of the Fukushima Global Communication Programme examines the policy gaps in addressing the challenges that mandatory and voluntary evacuees face in restoring their livelihoods following the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. It looks at the different circumstances faced by these two groups of evacuees and calls for policies that allow for flexibility in facilitating a smooth transition from relief to recovery.


    Restoring the livelihoods of people displaced by disasters involves a dual challenge: re-establishing the means for making a living while adapting to a new environment. Fukushima’s nuclear evacuees are facing this challenge within the context of a response-to-recovery transition characterised by increasingly diversified living conditions. This calls for targeted policies enabling people to plan their futures irrespective of where they decide to do so.


    • Policy reorientation during the transition should be informed by a thorough analysis of the evacuees’ changing situations, their livelihood strategies and self-reliance abilities without existing compensation and/or relief measures.
    • Host communities need to be supported in order to provide livelihood support programmes tailored to the needs of the displaced and assist the integration of people prone to isolation.
    • Measures to facilitate understanding between the host communities and displaced populations should focus on issues of common interest.

    PDF download of FGC Policy Brief #2.


    Nuclear Disasters and Risk Communication: Learning from Fukushima

    FGC Policy Brief #3

    Akiko Sato (Research Associate, UNU-IAS)

    This policy brief addresses the challenges of risk communication in the context of nuclear disasters. It focuses on the case of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster to discuss some of the key issues for risk communication, and provide recommendations for effective policies and strategies that can contribute to a sustainable recovery and reduce future risks.


    Risk communication efforts after the Fukushima nuclear disaster face a range of challenges: disparities in access to information and perceptions of risk among the affected people, uncertainties in radiation science and its technical nature, persistent public distrust, and the complexity of the disaster recovery process. This underscores that risk communication in the context of nuclear disasters should be continuous, timely, inclusive and context-sensitive.

    This policy brief recommends that:

    • Risk communication is continuous, preparing for potential crises and using stakeholder discussions and joint monitoring and evaluation of risks related to the nuclear industry.
    • Emergency communication mechanisms are established and utilised to ensure timely provision of situation-specific risk information.
    • The limits of scientific knowledge and variations in expert views are openly discussed, with public risk perception and concerns in mind.
    • Post-disaster radiation risk communication and dialogues on other recovery challenges are integrated in policymaking and implementation.

    PDF download of FGC Policy Brief #3.