2021 Volume 130 Issue 2 Pages 289-302
As part of the recovery and reconstruction efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011, at least two directions based on the conventional “record of disasters” are being pursued to identify the magnitude of disaster damage. The first is called “disaster archives,” which are detailed records of the disaster process in smaller areas and on a personal scale. The second direction aims to quantitatively measure the degree of subsequent recovery and restoration progress based on objective information including statistics. Various entities including the national government, local governments, and private research institutions are carrying out the latter efforts. Policy implementations following “evidence-based policymaking” (EBP) are also regarded as essential in recovery and reconstruction after severe earthquake disasters. To implement EBP-based recovery and reconstruction efforts after wide-area disasters of extreme severity, it is crucial to understand individual situations in the afflicted areas using local data retained and provided by respective municipalities. It is equally important to obtain and organize information on broader-area conditions—such as the conditions of the entire area of East Japan—through statistical data. In this paper, we examine the case of the Great East Japan Earthquake to describe the challenges faced in EBP-based recovery and reconstruction policy implementation and to offer strategies to overcome these issues. We found that the problem lies in how to collect, provide, and utilize necessary data for recovery and reconstruction policies. It is also indispensable to develop new indexes to measure the states of reconstruction based on outcome and to prepare rules and systems for collecting necessary statistical data throughout the post-disaster recovery and reconstruction stage. The issues that emerged through our study should be adequately considered and recorded as lessons to effectively plan, draft, and implement EBP-based policies during future recovery and reconstruction efforts following major disasters.