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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Recent improvements and challenges in Fukushima: prefecture's economy and living environment

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Today as we approach the 3‐year mark since the earthquake disaster and nuclear accident, Fukushima Prefecture's economy is gradually improving, albeit not yet completely, and the living environment in urban areas is showing signs of recovery. Yet much remains to be done to reassure people, who have still not returned home since evacuating, about their fears concerning radiation, and to dispel harmful rumors about the tourism and the farming and fishing industries. In this article, I raise three issues: (1) decontamination and target dose, (2) contaminated water and revival of the fishing industry, and (3) a vision for the industrialization of renewable energy; and present examples of the progress made in recent efforts in these three issues to close the gap between the ideal and reality. WIREs Energy Environ 2015, 4:307–315. doi: 10.1002/wene.139 This article is categorized under: Energy Infrastructure > Economics and Policy Energy Systems Economics > Economics and Policy Energy Policy and Planning > Economics and Policy
Hamadori, Nakadori, and Aizu regions. Most of the evacuees are from the Hamadori region, while many in the Nakadori region also took refuge for fear of radioactivity. Municipalities in the Aizu and the Nakadori regions gave shelter to those evacuated. Source: Fukushima Prefecture Government.
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2009 Performance and 2020 adoption targets for Fukushima Prefecture (five types: solar power generation, wind power generation, small hydropower generation, geothermal power generation, and biomass power generation; prepared based on the Fukushima Prefecture Renewable Energy Promotion Vision, 2012).
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Sea areas for trial fishing by the Soma‐Futaba Fishermen's Cooperative and the Iwaki City Fishermen's Cooperative (modified, Fukushima Minpo News, October 12, 2013, p. 30).
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Results of decontamination in Tamura City, eastern Fukushima Prefecture [Ministry of the Environment Decontamination Team (Decontamination Information Website), August 2013; based on documents from a residents briefing held in June of the same year].
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Number of tourists in Fukushima Prefecture (prepared by the Fukushima Prefecture Government Department of Commerce, Industry and Labor).
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Comparison of 2011 (top) and 2012 (bottom) leading economic indicators against the previous year in Fukushima Prefecture (Fukushima Prefecture Government Statistics Division, 2013, p. 2. Only Japan average value for the domestic corporate goods price index. The consumer price index is the value found based on surveys in Fukushima City).
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Gross prefectural product for Fukushima (2008, nominal terms; unit: 1 billion yen) [Fukushima Prefecture Government's Annual Report on Prefectural Accounts (2010)]. Total = 7706.4 billion yen.
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Air dose rate in central Fukushima City (Komukomukan) (1 m aboveground) (prepared based on the Monitoring Information on Environmental Radioactivity Level by the Nuclear Regulation Authority). Decontamination work was enforced at the site during September 2012 (Fukushima city's website), when the air dose rate has a marked decline.
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Top: Annual population of Fukushima Prefecture as of October 1 each year (unit: persons); Bottom: population changes and statistical confidence bounds based on an auto‐regressive time‐series model. Source: Fukushima Prefecture Government Statistics Division (raw data) and author's calculation (confidence bounds).
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Fukushima Prefecture exclusion zones (as of April 1, 2014); Area 1: areas where it is expected that the residents will have difficulty in returning for a long time; Area 2: areas in which the residents are not permitted to live; Area 3: areas to which evacuation orders are ready to be lifted. Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's website for the Assistance of Residents Affected by the Nuclear Incidents.
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