Journal of Japan Academy of Consumer Education
Online ISSN : 2436-0929
Print ISSN : 1345-1855
Reality of Rumor
: Consumer Education and Food Choice
Yoshiaki Takahashi
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JOURNALS OPEN ACCESS

2015 Volume 35 Pages 107-116

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Abstract

After the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactor in March 2011, high radioactive levels were found particularly in agricultural products from Fukushima. The prices of agricultural products from the area dropped. Media called it "harmful rumor". The “harmful rumor” was defined as a rumor that is not based on a fact but leads to economic damage. However, Arai (2014) mentioned that the current situation in Japan “was occurred and expanded by ‘fact’ rather than rumor.” The role of education is worthwhile to explore because Japanese government sought consumer education that increases rational consumers as a solution of the “harmful rumor.” When the author analyzed consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for agricultural products made in Fukushima, consumer education affected it positively. On the other hand, educated consumers, who checked radioactive substance in food, tended to offer lower WTP for them. Therefore, according to the definition by the government, wise consumers do not buy the agricultural products. The data suggests that there are merits to exploring the definition of “rationality” in consumer choice.

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© 2015 Japan Academy of Consumer Education
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