2019 Volume 69 Issue 10 Pages 76-99
The Heavy Rain Event of July 2018 (hereinafter referred to as “the Torrential Rain in Western Japan”) turned out to be the worst rainfall disaster in the Heisei era, with rainfall reaching a record level in a wide range of areas mainly in western Japan. Prior to the first anniversary of the disaster, the NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute and the NHK Matsuyama Station conducted an internet survey of 3,000 male and female residents of Ehime Prefecture in May 2019. Based on the findings from the survey and interviews, this paper discusses how best to communicate disaster information and report it on the air. To a question on what would be an evacuation cue when a heavy rain was expected, the highest percentage of the respondents, 64%, chose “disaster information” as a cue to evacuate. However, “when rainfall become heavie” and “seeing or hearing a precursor of disaster” were cited by many people in Ozu, Seiyo, and Uwajima—cities severely affected by the disaster. This suggests a residents’ attitude that they judge the situation by themselves to evacuate, not just waiting for the information offered by the local government or the media. As to an open-ended question on “how and what radio and television should broadcast in the case of a disaster,” a large number of respondents wanted to have broadcasts informing them that the situation had elevated to an emergency level such as “I want to see or hear evacuation information with an alarm sound or a full-screen warning.” Likewise, people, especially those in their 20s and 30s, wanted specific pieces of information that would encourage them to evacuate such as information on “whether people in the neighborhood are evacuating” and “what clothes I should wear and what items I should take with me.” To accommodate residents’ diverse needs for disaster information, it is becoming more necessary for broadcasting and the internet to complement each other and clarify each roles and responsibilities.