Speaker Profile


Hazuki Kajiwara
Rikkyo University
Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster in Japan: The Experience in Fukushima Companion Animals and Their Owners

Japan is the only place where tsunami and nuclear disaster occurred at the same time. However, little attention has been given to animals in disaster. This study focuses on the owners of companion animals (pets) affected by the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Ten years after a nuclear reactor meltdown, 40,000 residents are still evacuated due to the effects of radioactivity. Therefore, Fukushima is an ongoing crisis in Japan. The detailed examination of this catastrophic disaster is not only crucial for understanding the errors in an industrially advanced nation, but also essential for understanding the vulnerability of humanity. Among the survivors, pet owners had to face added challenges, as they were among the most vulnerable evacuees and were discriminated against because of their pets. Data was collected from twenty-five field trips to Fukushima, and other areas hit by the tsunami, between 2012 and 2016 that included interviews with 65 individuals. It is revealed that anthropocentrism, the gap between policy and government actions at the disaster site and a paradigm for nuclear industry priorities, ignored and oppressed the relationship between owners and companion animals that was stronger because of the disaster.

Hazuki KAJIWARA is a Researcher in the Rikkyo University Institute of Social Welfare in Tokyo, Japan, and a Part‐time Lecturer in College of Sociology, Rikkyo University. She is also a Part‐time Lecturer in the School of Veterinary Medicine, Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University. In her latest work “Surviving with Companion Animals in Japan: Life After a Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster,” Dr. Kajiwara examines how relationships between guardians and companion animals were challenged during a large-scale disaster. Since 2000 she has served as the director of the Pet Lovers Meeting, a Japanese self-help group for people coping with pet loss. Dr. Kajiwara has worked as a freelance journalist and a novelist for many years. Dr. Kajiwara's research revolves around the varied roles of animals in society, animal rights and ethics, and especially human-animal interactions and relationships during and following a disaster. She received a Ph. D. in sociology from Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan, in March, 2018. Dr. Kajiwara is an established researcher and activist in the field of human-animal studies in Japan.