The “risk society” has become a key 21st century theme due to the economic expansion and population explosion spurred by science and technology development during the 20th century. We must create societies resilient against risk to preserve well-being and continue sustainable development. Although the ideal would be to create a society free from disaster and crisis, resources are limited. To achieve a more resilient society using these resources, we must become wise enough to identify the risks threatening society and clarify how we are to prepare against them.
The traditional engineering approach is limited by its aim to reduce damage reduction as functional system of hazard, exposure, and vulnerability by focusing on mitigative action. We must instead add two factors – human activity and time dependency after a disaster – to make society more risk-resilient.
The Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) seeks to create new social, public, and economic value by solving obvious problems in society. In promoting science and technology R&D for society, RISTEX supports the building of networks enabling researchers and stakeholders to cooperate in solving societal problems. Our initiatives use R&D employing knowledge in the field of the humanities and social sciences, combined with natural sciences and technologies. Based on these existing accumulated knowledge and skills, scientifically verifying issues and lessons learned from these disasters, RISTEX launched a new R&D focus area, entitled “Creating a Community-Based Robust and Resilient Society,” in 2012. This R&D focus is to develop disaster risk reduction systems making society robust and resilient in the face of large-scale disasters.
Two crucial key words in this focus area are “community” and “links.” Specifically, we must reexamine community frameworks to facilitate how diverse elements of society – industry, academia, government, and citizens – can be linked and activated in overcoming complex widespread disasters. Our R&D focus is grounded in the reality of urban and regional areas, and fosters mutual multilayered cooperation.
In this issue, which mark the half-way point in the six-year RISTEX R&D focus program, we present 13 papers of reports on R&D studies selected by RISTEX in fiscal years 1 and 2, reviews appraising the academic significance of these reports, and studies that introduce new findings obtained through experimental studies.
Seven papers resulted from four projects in the first year, three dealing with postdisaster reconstruction. The first, the Land Conservation and Resilience after Flooding Disaster project, deals with assisting in farmland restoration following heavy rainfall. Based on a detailed activity survey and geographical analysis, the report discusses significant roles played by community and incorporated non-profit organizations collaborating with groups outside affected areas. Of the two reports on the Redevelopment of Tsunami Impacted Coastal Regions, one analyzes the reconstruction planning process of a district completing its group relocation relatively early among communities in coastal regions devastated by the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami. The other describes the computer reconstruction of village swept away by the tsunami, workshops conducted to improve reconstruction accuracy and the process by which community identity is strengthened by sharing common memories. Reports on the Disaster Mitigation Project of Traditional Buildings discuss current and future prospects for comprehensive disaster mitigation efforts in preservation districts based on a questionnaire focusing on the social capital in preservation districts for groups of traditional buildings. They also present results …
A considerable amount of farmland was destroyed by a flood disaster that struck in 2012 in Yame and Ukiha, in Fukuoka prefecture in the northern part of the island of Kyushu, Japan. This paper is a case study of the volunteer farmland restoration activities that were carried out in the hilly and mountainous areas after the flood. The purpose of this study is to outline the activities in three regions and to show the character of the volunteer farmland restoration groups. Interview surveys were conducted with the manager of each volunteer group, and data on the process of forming volunteer groups, the monthly process and distribution of activities, facilities requirements, and intermediaries between affected farmers and volunteer activities were collected in field surveys. The surveys were carried out from June to September, 2014. It was found that conservation activities were carried out in the three regions starting the year before the disaster. It is notable that Sansonjyuku, a NPO established in 1994, launched their activities in July, the month in which disaster struck. Activity areas by Sansonjyuku were unevenly distributed due to their experiences with volunteer activities in previous years. The other groups widely covered their areas because they carried out needs research on all local districts through ward mayors. Fifty percent to 75.9% support activities were intermediated by someone, and the ward mayors fulfilled this role more than 50% of the time.
Community-based reconstruction is the process in which social, environmental and cultural reconstruction of a community is conducted by disaster survivors following a disaster.
The author analyzed the community-based reconstruction process following the Great East Japan Earthquake. The author focuses on Iwanuma, a city in Miyagi Prefecture in which community-based reconstruction was carried out from April 2011 to July 2015, and clarified the characteristics of reconstruction planning which was done based on a collaboration of disaster survivors, local government officials and universities and other organizations. This process was then evaluated for community sustainability.
Results have clarified four stages in reconstruction planning, i.e., grand design, community workshops, consensus building by a formal committee, and new machizukuri (community building) created by the disaster survivors themselves. Consensus building was found to be the essential factor of community-based reconstruction, with each stage having different roles in consensus building.
The significance of “community” has been evaluated especially following Japan’s 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. To revitalize local Tohoku areas in both creating a resilient city and achieving a sustainable society, community development must center on considering future plans. Feelings of connectedness to a community are fostered by having common values and common experiences acquired and remembered associated with places or landscapes. For people experiencing the Tohoku disaster, however, such places and landscapes will have been totally lost due to the tsunami. We assumed that this loss caused many difficulties in reestablishing a revitalized town, so we started a project in 2013 rebuilding parts destroyed or otherwise changed by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami to offset the loss of landscape where the community sense had been fostered for local people. The sections that follow discuss the 3D reconstruction of six villages using CityEngine, which handles large amounts of data through procedural modeling. Based on interviews with local people, pretsunami aerial photographs, and field surveys of surviving villages, we developed typologies of environmental factor of villages, e.g., typical houses or coastal forest. At workshops using 3D models, residents remembered details and participated actively in the reconstruction project. One resident started a virtual guided tour of the village and spoke of the location of symbolic trees, vending machines, watchtowers, and so on. Through the study it was revealed that once we created this digital archive, it should prove useful in preserving the memories of residents and, thereby, in further regional planning based on community sense.
During times of disaster, local government departments and divisions need to communicate a broad range of information for disaster management to share the understating of the changing situation. This paper addresses the issues of how to effectively use a computer database system to communicate disaster management information and how to apply natural language processing technology to reduce the human labor for databasing a vast amount of information. The database schema was designed based on analyzing a collection of real-life disaster management information and the specifications of existing standardized systems. Our data analysis reveals that our database schema sufficiently covers the information exchanged in a local government during the Great East Earthquake. Our prototype system is designed so as to allow local governments to introduce it at a low cost: (i) the system’s user interface facilitates the operations for databasing given information, (ii) the system can be easily customized to each local municipality by simply replacing the dictionary and the sample data for training the system, and (iii) the system can be automatically adapted to each local municipality or each disaster incident through its capability of automatic learning from the user’s corrections to the system’s language processing outputs.
The development and implementation of online-based disaster management information processing systems advance communication among disaster management communities. Many such communities communicate using general-purpose natural language messaging. Online disaster informationprocessing systems should process such communication for making common operational picture and managing tasks and resources. We are thus developing online disaster information management support systems that use natural language processing. In doing so, we compare conventional paper-based and online-based systems for implementing online-based systems and develop task management support systems that use natural language processing.
We present a methodology for systematizing and implementing comprehensive disaster mitigation based on having communities target the preservation districts of traditional buildings. After discussing the background for this study, we introduce comprehensive disaster mitigation based on communities based on lessons learned from the relationship of stakeholders and earthquake damage sustained by Sakuragawa city’s Makabe traditional building district, in the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake. We then demonstrate the effectiveness of using social networks connected to community tradition and culture as their core, i.e., as a way for implementing our proposed practical comprehensive disaster mitigation in Tochigi city’s Kauemon-cho traditional building district.
This paper describes the process in which the network for those who are engaged with individual fields has been rebuilt and the local community reorganized by adding a new group of persons to the existing one through sharing the common prospective to designate the Traditional Architecture Preservation District, in another word to inherit the local culture. We have conducted action research in the field of Traditional Architectures Preservation District in Tochigi City. This research points out that the social vulnerability of the community could be addressed by raising the consciousness on “protection of community with the help of all,” and by reorganizing the community, which would lead to comprehensive disaster prevention.
This case study proposes a new approach to community-based disaster mitigation in which regional issues are resolved and the features of local areas are concurrently addressed. This paper proposes a method of multi-scale community-based disaster-mitigation planning based on the results of workshops on regional community-based disaster mitigation conducted by the authors and targeted at city planning professionals, and describes the results obtained from a case study targeting the greater Nagoya region. Several issues were indicated, including the absence of institutional mechanisms to support the relocation of residential functions and the need for such mechanisms to support the adoption of active disaster-mitigation measures, density reduction, and withdrawal of industry from high-risk areas.
In the Shinjuku Station West Exit Medical Relief Training, a disaster medical (triage) training that includes ordinary citizens as well as medical professionals has been conducted on a continual basis. However, updating and improving the training contents and maintaining the participants’ interest levels were challenged because there were no baseline evaluations on post-training accomplishments. The purpose of this study is to develop a training model which facilitate updates to the training contents in a sustainable manner and increase the number of participants by raising satisfaction levels. Peer evaluations and self-evaluations were introduced into the training framework to develop a training model that can be sustainably improved using scientific evaluation methods. The term “scientific” refers to introducing scientific methods to analyze training drills to increase the quantitative measurement of the participants’ post-training evaluations. This paper reports on the results of the actual implementation of the training model.
Various attempts have been made to disseminate first aid treatment related to disaster medicine to the public. More specifically, employees of fire stations hold seminars and visit schools using textbooks as general practice. However, it is difficult to judge whether attendees are actively involved in them or attending only because they are required to do so. Therefore, a broad survey on books, DVDs, experiential education, and information technology (IT) centering on first aid was conducted using a hierarchical system of ages of intended audience members. This survey was performed to create an IT-based textbook to disseminate to the public first aid techniques that are difficult to learn if low-cost experience-based education is not available. In addition, a new method for “medutainment” (medical edutainment) was studied as a way to teach new disaster medicine guidelines for citizens for medical rescue training.
Many lives were saved due to local disaster prevention activities such as evacuation guidance during the Great East Japan Earthquake. On the other hand, those involved in local disaster prevention activities were negatively affected in many cases. Therefore, local disaster prevention activities and safety-ensuring measures during large-scale disasters are being reviewed. This paper focuses on fire companies that are expected to develop and implement the core of local disaster prevention activities. In order to study the effectiveness of safety measures in areas that are vulnerable to natural disasters, disaster prevention activities focusing on water and wind disasters in particular were studied in Kiho Town in Mie Prefecture following the Great East Japan Earthquake. As a result, information communication measures, equipment, and manuals proved to be effective in areas that are at risk of disasters other than earthquakes. In addition, the importance of sharing manuals in organizations was also shown, because disaster measures in fire companies tend to be performed based on individual experience. Furthermore, the importance of cooperation with other organizations in the region was also demonstrated.
Most persons whose houses were destroyed in the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake/tsunami disaster now reside in designated temporary housing (DTH). Unlike prefabricated temporary housing (PTH) occupants, DTH dwellers reside in widely dispersed locations. Japanese disaster research has mainly focused on life recovery assistance for PTH occupants who live in close proximity and not much is known about DHT residing “diaspora” survivors. This paper outlines a set of projects aimed at identifying 1) life recovery process characteristics among DTH occupants, 2) interrelationships between community rebuilding and individual life recovery processes of DTH dwellers, 3) connecting or reconnect such residents, and 4) managing individual life recovery by providing disaster case management services. We focused on interim findings about life recovery process studies based on ethnographic and community-based participatory research and implications regarding DTH residents’ valuations in terms of rank-ordering the seven critical elements (SCEs) for life recovery. We compare their situation to that of survivors of the 1995 Kobe earthquake.
The present study aims to examine the utilization of social networking services in the restoration period after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Interviews administered to users of social networking services, including both disaster victims and non-victims, were conducted in an affected area. The data showed that all the interviewees started using Facebook after the disaster in order to obtain and share information regarding various restoration activities. Respondents used the services to form a new network, which substituted previous local communities, and to gain an understanding of the realities of the affected area and inhabitants. The results also showed that existing ethical issues on the Internet were present in some cases.
A tsunami disaster normally happens minutes to hours after an earthquake. Indonesia is prone to tsunamis that may be triggered by activity at plates’ boundaries surrounding the archipelago. In order to mitigate the risks and to prepare the people against the hazard a model that relates important variables influencing the degree of preparedness is required. Such model is not yet available for people with highly collectivistic culture such as Indonesia.
The study is aimed primarily at establishing a new model of preparedness against tsunami based on an existing model by accommodating a sense of community variable which is missing in the existing model. The existing model was developed based on an individualistic culture of Kodiak Alaska. In Indonesia where the culture is highly collectivistic, such a variable may play important role in the tsunami preparedness model. The model was tested on Parangtritis and Banda Aceh communities of Indonesia. The results were compared with the existing model where the sense of community variable is absent. The inter-related dependence relationships of variables in the existing model are found to be largely similar to those in the proposed models of tsunami preparedness in Indonesia with two significant differences. First the sense of community is the most important variable that affects empowerment, whilst the influence of community participation on empowerment is much lower in Indonesia. Secondly the community participation has insignificant direct influence on the preparedness within the collectivistic community. Therefore it may be concluded that direct community development through preparedness education and information without considering the sense of community within the collectivistic community is not likely to give significant results to preparedness improvement.
Earthquakes, rainfall, or a combination of both can trigger landslides, which can be classified into shallow and deep-seated types according to scale. Landslide risk potential can be charted according to the spatiotemporal characteristics of a combination of triggering factors that can be collated for similar historical events by various methods. The geographic information system (GIS) and the instability index method are two approaches commonly used to perform such a task; however, the nature of the event and the quality of imported data affect the degree of bias of model predictions against real-time values. To identify the differences between shallow and deep-seated landslides, 324 cases of landslides triggered by single rainfall events in Taiwan are analyzed in this study. It is determined that the principal factor governing shallow failure for rainfall-induced landslides is slope and that deep-seated failure is controlled by the amount of accumulated rainfall. By arranging the weighting, these factors could predict 93% and 75% of the occurrences of shallow and deep-seated landslides, respectively, based on a pre-event digital terrain model.
Natural disasters can cause major technological accidents (Natech accidents) resulting in fires, explosions or hazardous materials releases. The severe consequence may risk human lives and property. Understanding household evacuation behavior could help emergency managers develop strategies that protect the populace better against Natech risk. Our goal in this study is to capture in household mobilization time from the moment the Natech accident occurs and the moment evacuation occurs. Actual evacuation may or may not occur depending on the judgment of individuals about perceived risk or on evacuation orders by local authorities. Data we collected was from a random household survey following a Natech accident at a Sendai oil refinery during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Results show that respondents evacuated faster after receiving a Natech evacuation order than based on their own judgments. Risk perception and respondents’ demographic characteristics played roles in when evacuation mobilization began. The findings advanced our knowledge of household evacuation timing behavior in response to a Natech accident and could assist emergency managers in developing better strategies for managing the evacuation process.
The case study we present on estimating business interruption (BI) loss to industrial sectors due to floods in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, involves four steps – estimating the business interruption loss rate (BILR), estimating the spatial distribution of hazard information, identifying the spatial distribution of exposure such as firms and employees, and calculating BI loss based on the BILR, hazards, and exposure information as input. Validation was conducted by comparing estimated BI loss to economic loss calculated by an index of industrial production (IIP). We found that the proposed methodology quickly and feasibly estimates BI loss once water depth is obtained. Estimated BILR and BI loss in the industrial sector provides information enabling individual firms to formulate business continuity plans and design risk management strategies.
This study investigates the impact of climate change on the manageability of floods and droughts in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basins using Flood Duration Curves (FDCs) and Drought Duration Curves (DDCs). Duration curves are drawn for monthly basin-averaged precipitation over each of the three basins and daily streamflow at their outlets for three periods: the observed (1980–2009), the near-future (2015–2039) and the far-future (2075–2099). Degree of difficulty of managing hydrological extremes is measured in terms of difficulty of smoothing hydrological variations which can be identified from the duration curves. Among three basins the manageability of the Meghna basin is expected to be more difficult due to increases of seasonal and annual variations of streamflow in the future. Significantly distinct persistence characteristics have been identified, which can be utilized for flood control, reservoir design and operation. The information contained in these curves has direct implications on policy making for future water resources development and water resources management both in flood and drought.