Disaster myths after the Great East Japan Disaster and the effects of information sources on belief in such myths.
This study examines how well disaster myths were rooted in Japanese people after the Great East Japan Disaster, as well as the effects of information sources on these misconceptions. Five common disaster myths are covered (panic, psychological shock, looting, increases in the crime rate, and material convergence), and information sources were divided into two types: public and private. Three hundred participants were asked how much credit they would give the five myths and which information sources they would rely on in post-disaster situations. The results found that, as in Western societies, these disaster myths do exist among Japanese people. Also, only public sources of disaster information, such as television and Internet news websites, had some effect on the degree of belief in disaster myths, while private sources, such as one's family, friends, and social networking sites, did not. Factors affecting the degree to which people believe in disaster myths are also discussed.