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Changing Emotions About Fukushima Related to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station Accident-How Rumors Determined People's Attitudes : Social Media Sentiment Analysis

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Title: Changing Emotions About Fukushima Related to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station Accident-How Rumors Determined People's Attitudes : Social Media Sentiment Analysis
Authors: Hasegawa, Shin Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Suzuki, Teppei Browse this author
Yagahara, Ayako Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Kanda, Reiko Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Aono, Tatsuo Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Yajima, Kazuaki Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Ogasawara, Katsuhiko Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Keywords: Fukushima nuclear accident
Twitter messaging
radioactive hazard release
information dissemination
belief in rumors
disaster medicine
Issue Date: 2-Sep-2020
Publisher: JMIR Publications
Journal Title: Journal of Medical Internet Research
Volume: 22
Issue: 9
Start Page: e18662
Publisher DOI: 10.2196/18662
PMID: 32876574
Abstract: Background: Public interest in radiation rose after the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident was caused by an earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku on March 11, 2011. Various reports on the accident and radiation were spread by the mass media, and people displayed their emotional reactions, which were thought to be related to information about the Fukushima accident, on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites. Fears about radiation were spread as well, leading to harmful rumors about Fukushima and the refusal to test children for radiation. It is believed that identifying the process by which people emotionally responded to this information, and hence became gripped by an increased aversion to Fukushima, might be useful in risk communication when similar disasters and accidents occur in the future. There are few studies surveying how people feel about radiation in Fukushima and other regions in an unbiased form. Objective: The purpose of this study is to identify how the feelings of local residents toward radiation changed according to Twitter. Methods: We used approximately 19 million tweets in Japanese containing the words "radiation" (sic), "radioactivity" (sic), and "radioactive substances" (sic) that were posted to Twitter over a 1-year period following the Fukushima nuclear accident. We used regional identifiers contained in tweets (ie, nouns, proper nouns, place names, postal codes, and telephone numbers) to categorize them according to their prefecture, and then analyzed the feelings toward those prefectures from the semantic orientation of the words contained in individual tweets (ie, positive impressions or negative impressions). Results: Tweets about radiation increased soon after the earthquake and then decreased, and feelings about radiation trended positively. We determined that, on average, tweets associating Fukushima Prefecture with radiation show more positive feelings than those about other prefectures, but have trended negatively over time. We also found that as other tweets have trended positively, only bots and retweets about Fukushima Prefecture have trended negatively. Conclusions: The number of tweets about radiation has decreased overall, and feelings about radiation have trended positively. However, the fact that tweets about Fukushima Prefecture trended negatively, despite decreasing in percentage, suggests that negative feelings toward Fukushima Prefecture have become more extreme. We found that while the bots and retweets that were not about Fukushima Prefecture gradually trended toward positive feelings, the bots and retweets about Fukushima Prefecture trended toward negative feelings.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:保健科学院・保健科学研究院 (Graduate School of Health Sciences / Faculty of Health Sciences) > 雑誌発表論文等 (Peer-reviewed Journal Articles, etc)

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