An NHK survey on survivors and nuclear evacuees of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami shows over 60 percent of respondents still feel physical and psychological effects from the disaster.
The survey was conducted from November to February ahead of the 6th anniversary of the disaster next Saturday.
NHK contacted 5,000 people in the hardest-hit northeastern prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, including evacuees from the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. 1,437 responded.
The questionnaire asked whether they feel physical and psychological effects from the disaster. 29 percent of respondents said they do, and 32 percent said they do to some degree.
Asked what symptoms they have, 32 percent said feelings of depression and 31 percent cited insomnia.
30 percent said they have a need for medication.
The survey asked people to describe their lives. A 69-year-old resident of Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture, wrote that his wife died after her disease worsened due to stress from the evacuation. He said he has been despondent about everything since then.
A 71-year-old resident of Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture, wrote that she has been living alone since her husband died and feels worried about her financial, mental and physical condition.
Associate Professor Reo Kimura of the University of Hyogo says survivors who have been unable to rebuild their homes or lives feel ongoing effects of the disaster due to frustration and a sense of isolation.
Kimura says it is becoming very important for officials and volunteers to care about survivors on an individual basis.