Japanese crisis triggers anxieties among Americans

14th Apr 2011

The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has sent modest ripples of anxiety through the United States.  Thirteen percent of all adults are “very concerned” that dangerous levels of radiation will reach this country, and a further 35% are somewhat concerned.  Fifteen percent of adults are very concerned that events in Japan will damage the U.S. economy.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,483 adults surveyed online between April 8 and 12, 2011 by Harris Interactive. 

Other interesting results include:
* More women (17%) than men (9%) are very concerned about dangerous radiation reaching the U.S. or are very or somewhat concerned (55% vs. 40%);

* More than one third of the public would advise a friend planning a trip to Japan to cancel it (38%) and almost half (47%) would tell them to postpone it.  Only 14% would advise their friend to go ahead with the trip as planned;

* While only 15% are very concerned that the crisis in Japan will cause a damaging economic slump here in the United States, fully 67% are very or somewhat concerned;


* Many people would be somewhat (10%) or much (30%) less likely to buy raw fish such as sushi or sashimi if it came from Japan however only 10% of all adults would be less likely to eat in Japanese restaurants; and,

* A 45% plurality believe that if a huge earthquake occurred in the United States the public would behave worse here than the Japanese have behaved; only 12% believe Americans would behave better than the Japanese have.

So What?

These results suggest that most Americans have been watching events in Japan and are somewhat (but not very) concerned that they may be affected.  The 45% to 12% plurality who think that Americans would not behave as well as have the Japanese in the event of a huge earthquake reflects the respect that many people feel for how the Japanese people (but not necessarily their government or power company) have behaved since their devastating earthquake and the Tsunami.



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