There is no atmosphere of fear, such as an increase in President Yong’s approval rating or an increase in seafood sales…
It has been a week since the contaminated treated water from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant was discharged into the sea, but domestic public opinion appears to be calm, unlike the mad cow disease incident in 2008, as the changed international situation seems to have influenced public opinion due to anti-Japanese sentiment and damage to fishermen .
Contaminated treated water is fundamentally different from the mad cow disease incident in three aspects. △Learning effect △Facts that can be clearly confirmed △It is different in the nature of the issue.
This week, President Yoon Seok-yeol’s approval rating in the government performance evaluation showed an overall upward trend despite the discharge of contaminated water from Japan’s nuclear power plant. According to the results of an opinion poll released by Chowon C&I on the 30th (requested by Straight News, survey conducted from the 26th to the 28th , for details, refer to the website of the National Election Opinion Survey Deliberation Committee), 38.1% of respondents were positive about President Yoon. It was a 2.3 percentage point increase from the previous survey results from two weeks ago. It was found that there was a large increase in approval ratings in the Honam region (up 10.5 percentage points) and those in their 20s (up 8.0 percentage points). In a public opinion poll released by Realmeter on the 28th (requested by Media Tribune, for 5 days from the 21st to the 25th), the positive evaluation of President Yoon’s performance of state affairs was found to be 37.6%, up 2 percentage points from last week. This is because the approval rating of the MB government plummeted to around 20% due to the mad cow disease outbreak
in 2008, and in the process of deciding to deploy THAAD ( Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) in 2016, Daegu and Gyeongbuk ( TK)) This is completely different from the decline in the approval rating in the region, which caused difficulties for the Park Geun-hye administration.
First of all, it is a learning effect. The influence of fake news was great, spreading vague anxiety that had never been experienced during the mad cow disease incident or the THAAD electromagnetic wave controversy. However, as cases such as mad cow disease were eventually confirmed to be ghost stories, vague anxiety when faced with similar issues decreased significantly. The learning effect through experience has significantly reduced the destructive power of fake news.
On the 26th and 27th, the first weekend after the discharge of treated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, customers flocked to major fish markets across the country, including Seoul, Incheon, and Busan, as usual, and merchant sales were said to be similar to before or slightly increased.
Facts based on science are also important. During the mad cow disease incident and the THAAD electromagnetic wave, no objective facts were revealed, so fake news worked. In the case of ‘vCJD (variant human mad cow disease)’ caused by prion protein, which was mentioned during the mad cow disease incident, it was difficult to access cases where a credible international organization announced the safety through a separate investigation, and it is said that no cases of human mad cow disease have been announced in recent decades . Despite criticism, new ghost stories have been rampant, such as the fact that dementia has increased significantly over the past few decades. It’s different this time.
Safety is being proven with specific numbers, and government ‘safety measures’ have been taken. In the case of the Fukushima treated water controversy, the Japanese government introduced and purified the ‘polynuclear species removal system ( ALPS )’ for safety and used it to purify the water, and the International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA))’s continuous monitoring method makes it possible to easily check the facts at various stages. This fact reassured the people.
While the mad cow disease incident was a domestic 메이저놀이터issue, the contaminated water issue is an international issue. The opposition party’s debate is not gaining momentum as the United States and Canada, which arrived first with contaminated water and are classified as directly affected parties, have declared that there is “no problem.”
There are also differences depending on interests. In the case of mad cow disease, it was a question of whether to import American beef, so there was something that the domestic livestock industry could internally welcome. However, regarding the issue of discharging treated water, the Democratic Party is arguing that it is only a matter of time before the contaminated water follows the ocean currents and pollutes the waters off the Korean Peninsula.
The explanation is that it is difficult to respond to the Democratic Party’s argument because fishermen have no choice but to suffer direct damage. Officials in the nuclear power sector also appear to be taking active action as they are likely to take a hit as fears of contaminated water grow.
In addition, while it was possible to arouse anti-American and anti-Japanese sentiment during the mad cow disease outbreak, there is also an interpretation that it will be difficult to arouse anti-American and anti-Japanese sentiment in 2023 due to the new Cold War structure such as the Russia-Ukraine war being solidified. As a clear example, unlike the opposition party, including the Democratic Party, which until recently appealed for anti-Japanese sentiment, Japanese beer consumption has recently been found to have steadily increased. The convenience store industry agrees that “Asahi Super Dry Draft Beer is so popular that it sells out as soon as it is stocked in convenience stores.”
Professor Shin Yul of the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy at Myongji University said, “It was difficult to find scientists taking the lead during the mad cow disease outbreak or the THAAD electromagnetic wave controversy, but this time they are showing an active attitude.” “There is a difference in that it is an international issue in which countries surrounding Japan show respect for the IAEA,” he said . In addition, “In the case of Russia, a huge amount of nuclear waste was poured into the East Sea for nearly 30 years starting in 1966 during the Soviet era, and this fact was revealed through a Russian government report obtained by Greenpeace in 1993,” and “It was a big problem at the time.” “It is known that this is the case, but there is no citizen who got sick after eating seafood for 30 years. I think that may have had an impact,” he explained.