The Fukushima nuclear disaster has significantly changed public attitudes toward nuclear energy. It is important to understand how this change has occurred in different countries before the global community revises existing nuclear policies. This study examines the effect of the Fukushima disaster on public acceptance of nuclear energy in 42 countries. We find that the operational experience of nuclear power generation which has significantly affected positive public opinion about nuclear energy became considerably negative after the disaster, suggesting fundamental changes in public acceptance regardless of the level of acceptance before the disaster. In addition, contrary to our expectation, the proportion of nuclear power generation is positively and significantly related to public acceptance of nuclear energy after the Fukushima accident and government pressure on media content led to a greater decrease in the level of public acceptance after the accident. Nuclear energy policymakers should consider the varied factors affecting public acceptance of nuclear energy in each country depending on its historical, environmental, and geographical circumstances before they revise nuclear policy in response to the Fukushima accident. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.