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2011 Vol.3
Reconsidering the Communication Strategies of Electric Power Companies


The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant precipitated by the Great East Japan Earthquake presented an opportunity to review Japan’s energy policy, which relies on nuclear power for 30% of the country’s electricity production. Electric power companies had made various efforts for safety management, such as the preparation of manuals, based on lessons learned from previous accidents and problems. However, the accident at Fukushima Daiichi will force these companies to reexamine their safety measures. In particular, in addition to reviewing standards to make their facilities capable of withstanding earthquakes and tsunamis, they will need to start afresh in creating a framework that prevents natural disasters of unimaginable magnitude from creating man-made disasters due to human error and that transmits information properly in the event of a crisis. After the earthquake, Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting conducted a survey comparing the opinion of the residents in prefectures with and without nuclear power plants. Based on the survey results and past cases, this paper clarifies important factors in the process of communicating with stakeholders and examines integrative communication strategies required of electric power companies.
The important stakeholders in the operation of nuclear power generation facilities are the employees of the electric power companies and collaborating companies, the residents of areas where power plants are located, and the users of electricity including companies. As new media based on the Internet emerge and work alongside traditional media such as newspapers and television, future issues will include how to share important safety information within power plants where people with various responsibilities work and how to maintain a communication environment in the daily life of local residents and electricity users to ensure they have instant access to appropriate information.