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Highlighting JAPAN

March 2015


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Courtesy Call from the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction
Japan-Thailand Summit Meeting
Japan-Mongolia Summit Meeting



Build Back Better Than Before
Showcasing Japan's "creative reconstruction" on the global stage

An interview with Yoshiaki Kawata, director of the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution In the twenty years since the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (Kobe quake), Japan has suffered such large-scale disasters as the 2004 Chketsu and 2011 Tohoku quakes. The idea of a "creative reconstruction" (Build Back Better Than Before, Hyogo Framework for Action) - going beyond simply rebuilding what existed before to construct cities of the future - that sprang from the aftermath of the Kobe quake is a concept Japan has truly taken to heart. How has it shaped the development of Japan's disaster-reduction plans and technology in the meantime? We asked Yoshiaki Kawata, director of the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution, for details.

Strategies for Reducing Disasters
The Curtain Rises in Sendai on the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

The Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction is a conference for discussing disaster risk reduction strategies on a global scale. The first conference (in Yokohama in 1994) and the second (in Hyogo in 2005) both took place in Japan. The third, scheduled for March 14 to 18 this year, will be held in Japan as well, in Sendai, one of the cities heavily affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in 2011, which is forever etched in the nation's memory.

Rough Riders
The Shizuoka Off-Road Motorbike Team's Disaster Challenge

The main task of the thirty-four member Shizuoka off-road motorbike team known as SCOUT (Shizuoka City Off-Road Utility Team) is to take advantage of motorbike's mobility, collect and disseminate information quickly and effectively even in rubbles when disaster strikes. All of SCOUT's members are regular Shizuoka government staff personnel, not police or firefighters, which makes the team even more unusual.

Hand Cream with a Mission
The Kesen Tsubaki Dream Project

Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture lie on the east coast of the Tohoku region in northern Japan, a rich natural area with a strong fishing industry. The city was devastated in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, and the area as a whole is still on its way to recovery.

Early Warning
The Great East Japan Earthquake spurs more accurate emergency broadcasts

From its widespread launch in October 2007 to the end of 2014, this earthquake early warning announcement has aired a total of 145 times on TV and radio, via cellphone, smartphone and a wireless-activated disaster warning system. It's probably the most memorable public emergency broadcast in Japan.

Sky-High Perspective
Using JAXA's precision satellite technology to assess natural disasters

Among satellites, Earth observation satellites are dedicated to disaster monitoring, environmental monitoring and resource surveying. Japan has launched three of these probes so far, mainly for land observation: FUYO-1 (April 1992 to October 1998), DAICHI (April 2006 to April 2011), and DAICHI-2 (launched in June 2014).

Recovery Partners
Japan's broad support helped Thailand bounce back after the deluge

The severe flooding of the Chao Phraya River in Thailand in October 2011 caused damage to approximately 20,000 square kilometers of territory, all the way from the capital of Bangkok to the country's northern region. In this region, the flood submerged those of the seven industrial zones in the area were one of the heaviest, affecting international businesses severely. The flood submerged a total of 808 businesses, 469 of them Japanese. Supply chains worldwide were severed, and total losses reached to approximately $40 billion.

Rock-Solid Knowledge
Bringing Japan's earthquake disaster risk reduction education to Turkey

Like Japan, Turkey is known as one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. A 1999 quake in northwest Turkey caused a great deal of damage; approximately 17,000 fell victims to this disaster and 600,000 people lost their homes and property. Subsequently aftershocks with the magnitude of 5 to 7 have been recorded several times, and disaster planning is now a vital priority for the Turkish government. Turkey has received support in this initiative from many countries, including Japan, and is rebuilding with an eye to making public facilities and towns more earthquake-resistant.


Inamura no Hi (The Fire of Rice Sheaves)

Waste Nothing
Bio-Toilets: Environmentally Friendly and No Water Required

Kominka Makeovers
Karl Bengs Reimagines Old Japanese Homes for the Modern Era


A Visit to Japan's Backyard


Bridging Japan's West