The Immediate Impact of the Fukushima Daiichi Accident on Local Property Values

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Abstract

The Fukushima Daiichi accident released huge amounts of radioactive material over a wide area. We can appreciate the geographical extent of radioactive contamination from the information published online by the Japanese government. Historically, this is an unprecedented situation, which allows “natural experimentation” to estimate the causal effects of radioactive contamination on our society. This study focused on property value losses caused by the accident and analyzed changes in land appraisals around the Fukushima Daiichi plant from July 2010 to July 2011 within the framework of hedonic approach. Thus, we estimated the short-run impact of the contamination or the change in marginal value of proximity to the plant. The results suggest that the appraisals significantly and monotonically depreciated with increasing contamination levels. However, there was no evidence to suggest changes in the marginal value of proximity to the plant. A comparison between the appraisals and transaction prices indicates that this result could be interpreted as an underestimate of actual property value losses.

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