TOKYO, Sept. 15, 2011 /CNW/ - A survey carried out by members of the
Soka Gakkai student division in the Tohoku region of northern Japan
shows significant shifts in young people's attitudes since the March
11, 2011, "triple disaster" of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear
In a survey of over 500 students at a total of 47 universities and
vocational schools in Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate (the three most
directly affected prefectures), as well as Aomori, Akita and Yamagata,
respondents stated that their views on the purpose of work, on nuclear
power, and the importance of helping others had changed.
When seeking employment, the students's key purpose had previously been
earning money (23.2%). Now it is reported to be "helping others"
(18.8%) and "attaining a stable life" (17.7%). Many also indicated that
their motivation is now for the sake of the community (16.8%).
When asked on what issues their views had changed, 19.9% of respondents
stated that their views on nuclear power had changed (this figure was
higher, at 23%, among students from the affected areas), 18.1%
indicated a shift in their perspective on the importance of helping
others and 17.7% a change in their appreciation for the basics of daily
life such as shelter, food and clothing.
When asked if they identified any positive outcome of the March 11
disaster, 45% mentioned the strengthening of links between people. In
terms of lessons they had learned, 34.2% stressed the need for disaster
preparedness and 21.1% highlighted the importance of caring for others.
To a question about the characteristics of their ideal society, 38.2%
identified a society where people can trust and rely on each other.
Hironobu Nakamura, Soka Gakkai Tohoku student division leader, comments,
"Many of our student members have been helping out with relief efforts.
They wanted through this survey to listen to and broadcast the voices
of their peers. Before the disaster many people were commenting on the
lack of human connections in Japanese society. The results clearly
indicate how much people value these connections now."
When asked whether the government had met people's needs after the
disaster, 94% responded that it had not. Of these, 42% highlighted that
the government had been slow to act. Questioned about their personal
response to the disaster, 41.2% reported that they had engaged in
volunteer work, and 27% had given donations.
Professor Toshiaki Muramoto of the Tohoku University Graduate School of
Information Sciences, who helped design and supervise the survey,
comments, "This is an important survey, and rare in that the students
initiated it themselves. Through this disaster, people have learned the
importance of trusting and relying on each other. I feel this is
extremely important for the future of Japanese society."
The survey was carried out between July 1 and August 21. In total, 700
students were approached, and 511 completed the survey (73%).
The Soka Gakkai is a grassroots Buddhist association with over 8 million
member households in Japan. Local Soka Gakkai groups in the Tohoku
region carried out extensive humanitarian relief and community support
initiatives following the March 11 disaster. For details of the
organization's relief activities, please see: http://www.sgi.org/assets/pdf/Japan-Earthquake-Relief-Report.pdf. The social activism of Soka Gakkai and its affiliated SGI
organizations around the world is part of the longstanding tradition of
SOURCE Soka Gakkai International
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