Disaster Mitigation and Management Idea Bank: Japanese Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness

    Hari Srinivas
    Case Study Series E-020. January 2015

    1. Partnership
    2. JISHUBO (Communities in Japan)
    3. Non-profit organizations (NPOs)
    4. Club Activity
    5. School
    6. Local government
    7. Corporation

    1. Partnership

    • University cooperates with Shopping Street and business, for support of vulnerable people ain emergencies

      Waseda University cooperates with Waseda Shopping Street Federation and a corporation of window shatter preventative sheets. Volunteer students in waseda University visit aged people and put such sheets on windows to prevent shattering during disasters. The University also offers residences of elderly people as boarding house for social welfare and regional revitalization.

    • Shopping federation has an agreement with a rural city to evacuate in emergency

      Waseda shopping federation has an agreement with a nearby rural region. During normal periods, the federation members preferentially sell agricultural products of the twinned-town. During an emergency, these members can temporarily evacuate to the twined town until alternative arrangements are made.

    • Chiyoda-ku has an agreement with Meiji University for providing emergency volunteers

      If the whole public transportation in Tokyo stops due to a big earthquake, as many as 3.7 million people will be left behind in Chiyoda-ku, where many corporate headquarters are concentrated. Meiji University (located in the same ward) has agreed with Chiyoda ward government to make temporary shelters offering disaster information, foods, water and student volunteers dispatched for carrying goods. Meiji University has a training program of volunteers in which 70 percent of the costs is paid by Chiyoda-ku.

    • Stakeholder Involved in Planning of Ojiya city reconstruction Plan
      http://www.ddt33.dpri.kyoto-u.ac.jp/oshirase/ 050728_osaka_abst_pdf/050729abst_maki.pdf

      Ojiya city suffered greatly from the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake of Oct.23, 2004. Public officers of Ojiya city and Kyoto university team reccently created a reconstruction plan. It is based on opinions of citizens and public officers. Workshops are held among citizens and officers to discuss the essential point in the draft plan.

    • Residents-centered planning of disaster-resistant town in Kokubunji-city

      Consultants and residents made a plan for a disaster-resistant town in Kokubunji-city, that tok almost 3 years to complete. During the first year, they developed and shared an image of the present situation, forming a map of the disaster-vulnerable areas. They then discussed potential solutions to present problems and disaster mitigation approaches during the second year. They also planned fire-prevention facilities and fire practices in the third year. Since the 4th year, the residents have taken measures to implement the plan. The local government provides background support, aiming at residents-centered planning and implementation.

    • City mayors' workshop for studying 'development as a safe city'

      Kasugai Council for City Development held a workshop for city mayors, explaining the concept and development of a 'safe city'/ The council consists of Kasugai city mayor and civil associations, to develop and propogate civic ideas of 'safe city' up to the regional (prefectural) policy level. 37 city and town mayors participated in this meeting.

    2. JISHUBO (Community groups in Japan)

    • JISHUBO draws a hazard map and improves evacuation routes in Omizuzaki city

      A JISHUBO in Omizuzaki developed a tsunami evacuation map and improved evacuation routes by themselves. They soon found that railway line obstructs an evacuation route, which could cause possible trouble during evacuation. Therefore they submited a request to the local government to solve this problem and improve the routes (which could not be improved by the residents themselves). The local government in Omizuzaki has now started to discuss the issue with the railway company.

    • JISHUBO plans to have expert/skilled help for the vulnerable during disasters

      JISHUBO in Oiwamachi created a plan to evacuate vulnerable people in their community. It is based on information on location and number of vulnerable households and expert/skilled people. This information is then used to match the two individually in order to enable the experts/skilled persons to help the evacuation of the vulnerable during an emergency.

    • Prior agreement with rice stores and supermarkets

      A JISHUBO in Oiwamachi has an agreement with rice stores and supermarkets in neighborhood to provide food during an emergency. They are divided into three groups, one each for earthquake provision, crime prevention and fire prevention. Such distribution activity to small groups enable an important role to serve individual households and people.

    • Link usual volunteer activities with emergency aid activities

      A JISHUBO in Oiwamachi makes emergency aid activity related with members' usual volunteering activities. For example, they get carpenters or other architecture-related workers to repair housing of the aged. They also have a medical group in this JISHUBO, consisting of doctors and nurses, that carries out medical checkups for aged people - particularly those living alone.

    • Citizens group patrols to find vulnerabilities to landslide, illegal waste dumping and visiting elder people

      Yatsushiro environmental group patrol their neighbourhood to identify vulnerabilities to landslide, illegal waste dumping and visit elderly people living alone. They raise funds for covering the costs of clearing underbrush on forest roads etc. by contracting with the local government. Other institutions such as Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd and Sweepstakes promoter have donated two-way radios and a prefabricated building for their central office.

    • Sharing Information of disaster provision on community FM
      A Community FM radio station in Denen city regularly broadcasts a programme on disaster provision - this is designed as 'time fillers' and combined with regular programming and at different times of the day, enabling a wider and varied reach of the local community listners.

    3. Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs)

    • Improvement of water transportation for emergency asisstance

      A NPO in Koto has suggested the idea of improving water transportation facilities and routes in case land traffic routes are blocked during an emergency - particularly earthquakes. At normal times, these water transportation routes can be used for recreation - sightseeing, children's workshops and events for town development.

    • Joint disaster prevention training with neighbouring regions

      Fire companies of neighbouring regions in the Kyushu area jointly hold a regular disaster prevention drill. Usually, a disaster prevention drill is planned only within each district. But they point out that cooperation between neighbouring prefectures promotes smooth response and evacuation. An NPO planned the joint training programmes for evacuation, such as going over the river and crossing the border with a boat or sharing information necessary for hospitals around the border.

    • Bucket brigade workshop with moat water, for disaster prevention and environment

      An NPO in Kyoto held a workshop of dredging the moat and bucket brigade with moat water. Through the workshop, the local community was made aware of the issue of wastes in the river, distruction of the river eco-system and decrease of fish and other organizms in the river. These issues were highlighted through river dredging activities and demonstrations. A 'bucket brigade' using moat water was also developed as a drill during emergencies.

    • Cooking class to make 'emergency food' tasty!

      A NPO held cooking classes titled 'How to cook tasty dry bread (emergency food)'. Through this class, members intended children to feel familiar with emergency food storing and management. Jelly, honey and canned grilled chicken and the 'dry bread' were prepared. After the classes, some children prepared an evacuation food bag with emergency foods in it.

    4. Club Activity

    • Japan Rescue Support Motorcycle Network

      This is a Japan-wide network of volunteer groups of with motorcycle riders. In an emergency, they support transport of relief goods, patients in need of emergency care. Usually, these groups are involved in recreational activities such as camps or other events.

    • Radio amateur volunteers help recovery work in mountain-ringed region

      Radio Amateur volunteers in Inuyama help recovery work during mudslides in mountain-ringed region. These sites are usually outside the service area of mobile phone networks, so public officials asked this volunteer club to initiate radio communications in the area. They installed an antenna on the roof of the local government's building and used it to communicate with workers on the site. This volunteer club also started a partnership with the local Community FM.


    • Maiko High School Environment and Disaster Mitigation Course

      Maiko High School has a specialist course of environmental disaster mitigation. Students are given an insight into disaster mitigation both in view of social and natural environmental conservation. They have visiting lecturers, field trips, training camps and international exchanges.

    • Kitakyushu City University has regular lectures of disaster prevention

    • Kitakyushu City University has a disaster prevention and life saving program as a regular course.

    • Set up an evacuation center in emergency

      School children set up tents and temporary toilets and carry in relief supplies as a practice to prepare themselves for a disaster.

    • Disaster Imagination Game (DIG)

      School children draw up a hazard map of the school area, marking temporary shelters, evacuation routes, hydrant boxes, and estimated flooded area during a tsunami, and other points. They also mark on it the possible range and magnitude of damage by disasters. These indicators help them discuss how to escape or mitigate disasters.

    • Fire fighting kids club

      As a tradition in Japan, community residents have patrolled their areas, clapping two bamboo stickes together to warn people of the potential dangers of fire in their residences and to be careful. Junior high school children council in Aishima started to walk around at night too, saying 'Beware of fire!'. They have recently been reorganized as 'fire-fighting kids club'.

    6. Local governments

    • Local government's agreement with NPOs gave quick set-up of emergency volunteer center in emergency.

      During the TOKAI heavy rains, a NPO leader quickly and efficiently set up an emergency volunteer center operated by both the local government and NPOs. What made this surprisingly rapid movement possible was an agreement with NPOs and local government in Aichi. (But they did point out some problems - For instance, volunteers cannot always have flexible action because this center was run mainly by public officials).

    • Free check of the earthquake resistance

      Some local governments in Sizuoka carried out buidling checksof old wooden houses in 2001 to assess the potential damage and fire hazards during an emergency. These checks enabled the households to obtained information to plan evacuations.

    • Official information disclosure of disaster vulnerable areas

      Local government in Kokubunji-city disclose information actively, so that it gives residents the same information as available with local officials. It motivates residents to organize voluntary activities to counter against the present situation. For example, residents came to know whether their houses are in a 'fire risk' area, 'difficult-to-stop' fire area or 'easy-to-landslide' area. Officials initially hesitated to disclose the data, but they disclosed the information because enables the residents' proper recognition of danger, ensures storing emergency provisions in appropriate locations and reminds them of the emergency escape routes.

    • Local government provides a map of the flood-risk areas in the community

      Some local governments in Kobe regularly distribute large maps of the community clearly pointing out areas that are at risk of flooding during heavy rains, and from landslides near hilly areas. It also marks the evacuation zones and area (which function as a park during normal periods). The cost of production and distribution of the maps - given to every resident of the community by the postal service - is covered by advertisements on the map that also point out the location of the advirtisers on the map.

    • Developing the old water well for residents' active communication

      To get natural water facility during an emergency, Kokubunji city has developed old water wells since 1989. This water well is also good for communication among regional people. Members of disaster mitigation committee hold meetings every month, gathering around water well.

    • Training program of top management's disaster preparing in Nerima city

      All Executives of Nerima city undergo a training programme on emergency management. They study 'how and what to decide in an emergency' by workshops and lectures. Specialists on disaster mitigation give lectures on immediate action and reconstruction after a disaster.

    7. Private sector corporations
 Do you have any suggestions or additions to make on the above information? Please send an email (with title, description of 50 words, and URL) to Hari Srinivas at hsrinivas@gdrc.org

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Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org