Enhancing social resilience in the event of natural disasters is a critical issue for Japan. It will requires a need huge efforts to further increase the physical preparedness; on the other hand, compared to increasing physical preparedness, enhancing social resilience is a cost-effective means of mitigating the effects of natural disasters. The Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion program (SIP), the biggest national research program in Japan, selected a theme related to enhancing social resilience in the face of natural disasters in 2014. The authors of this special issue worked as a part of the SIP for five years and developed state-of-the-art technologies for the enhancement, namely, next-generation tsunami and heavy rain observation, integrated liquefaction counter-measures, methods for sharing disaster information, a real-time disaster estimation system, an emergency communication system, and the development of applications for regional use. Most of the technologies have been implemented in efforts at natural disaster mitigation following earthquakes and heavy rains in 2017 and 2018. The development and implementation of advanced technologies are the essence of the SIP because it aims to foster innovation. While the SIP is a Japanese government program, it promotes international utilization of the technologies it develops. There are many instances which might be studied better by developing and utilizing advanced technologies in various countries following different types of natural disasters. I hope that this special issue will be a gateway for readers who are interested in using such advanced technologies to mitigate natural disasters and enhance social resilience during such events.
It is important to advance preparation for a tsunami disaster, one of the great concerns in Japan. Forecasting tsunami inundation is one such solution, which contributes to perceiving the danger of the tsunami, as the inundation is directly linked with the damage. Therefore, we developed a new real-time tsunami forecast system, aimed at rapidly and accurately forecasting tsunami inundation on land, based on offshore tsunami data observed by the seafloor observation network along the Japan Trench, S-net. The developed system takes a database approach. A database called a tsunami scenario bank was constructed by assuming all the possible tsunami sources affecting the target region and simulating offshore pressure data, coastal tsunami heights, and tsunami inundation. The forecast system searches for suitable tsunami scenarios whose offshore pressure data explain the observed data, based on the multi-index method. The multi-index method can evaluate the resemblance of offshore pressure data by using three indices, which are sensitive to different aspects of the pressure change distribution. When tsunami scenarios meet the criteria of the multi-index method, the system provides forecast information generated from coastal tsunami heights and tsunami inundation of the selected scenarios. A prototype system was constructed for the Pacific coastal region of Chiba prefecture as a target region and has been updated through a test operation. We also investigated the comprehensible visualization and effective disaster response using tsunami forecast information. Through workshops and tabletop exercises with local government officers using the forecast system, timelines and local disaster management plans for tsunamis were tested and revised. This led to the establishment of a standard operating procedure for tsunami disaster response through the use of tsunami observation and forecast information.
In this research, we develop a numerical fluid simulator coupled with a structural analysis. The purpose of this system is to efficiently calculate all stages of a tsunami from source to runup, including structural deformation. We also investigate the stability of breakwaters at Kamaishi port. The numerical results are compared with physical experiments, revealing good agreement. The system is applied to the local conditions at Kamaishi port to verify its applicability. Most of the breakwaters are washed away, which is similar to the actual reported damage, indicating that the proposed system can effectively reproduce tsunami structural damage.
This paper is an overview of a project concerned with “Early warning for torrential rainfall/tornado” under “Enhancement of Societal Resiliency against Natural Disasters,” which is one of eleven themes of the SIP (Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program under the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan). The characteristics of the project are the development of a multi-parameter phased array weather radar (MP-PAWR) that enables the accomplishment of an accurate three-dimensional model of precipitation over 30 s within a 60 km radius. Various products developed ducts using MP-PAWR and other observations, and numerical predictions, are also discussed, with a demonstration experiment to provide early warnings for torrential rainfall and related disasters. For end users such as local governments and general citizens, the final goal of this project is the social implementation of these products.
We statistically evaluated the rainfall amount predicted by VIL Nowcast, which is designed using vertically integrated liquid water content (VIL) through experimental data obtained over five months from June to October of 2015. The accuracy of predictions for the start time of heavy rain, which are vital for issuing warnings concerning localized heavy rain, was also reviewed. We revealed that VIL Nowcast could predict the rainfall amount more accurately than conventional methods up to the first 20 min of the evaluation period (30 min in total) with superior accuracy for the start time of severe rain from isolated convective cells in the first 10 min.
With the aim of accurately predicting river water levels a few hours ahead in the event of a flood, we created a river water level prediction model consisting of a runoff model, a channel model, and data assimilation technique. We also developed a cascade assimilation method that allows us to calculate assimilations of water levels observed at multiple points using particle filters in real-time. As a result of applying the river water level prediction model to Arakawa Basin using the assimilation technique, it was confirmed that reproductive simulations that produce results very similar to the observed results could be achieved, and that we would be able to predict river water levels less affected by the predicted amount of rainfall.
In the past, earthquakes have caused critical damage to bridges built on liquefiable ground, resulting in their collapse or long-term closures. In particular, for existing bridges designed in an age when the liquefaction influence was not considered, appropriate measures should be taken as necessary. However, there are many existing stocks of bridges, which require expensive foundation reinforcement. Therefore, it is crucial to appropriately choose bridge foundations for which anti-seismic measures are a high priority and implement the measures efficiently and successively. The present study aims to develop a seismic-performance assessment method and retrofitting technology for coping with liquefiable ground. For this purpose, a large shaking-table experiment was conducted to determine the effects of the liquefiable ground on bridge-foundation behavior and verify the effect of the retrofitting technology. Based on disaster-case analyses and the results of the shaking-table experiment, a seismic-performance assessment method applicable to practical designing was proposed.
The common situational awareness among the disaster-response organizations and the appropriate action based on the information sharing are the key factor for the effective and efficient disaster response. Supported by the Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP), we have developed the Shared Information Platform for Disaster Management (SIP4D) which facilitate the “cross-ministerial information sharing” by intermediating the various governmental organizations. Also, as the empirical research for utilize the shared disaster-information by SIP4D, we have developed the Medical Activity Support System for Disaster Management, the Reservoir Disaster Prevention Support System, and the Disaster Management Information Service Platform. In this paper, we introduce the overview of our R&D project, and report the implementation plans of our systems in the society.
The biggest agenda in disaster medicine in Japan is considered as the collection and sharing of information. Sharing Information Platform for Disaster Management (SIP4D) is the platform that can connect the information system of each government agency in the event of a disaster. The purpose of the present study is to clarify the damage estimation in a Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) operation, information sharing within headquarters for disaster control, information for the level of damage in hospital, conditions for a DMAT dispatch request, safest route to reach the operation site, and improvements in patient medical information sharing and to assess the utility of introducing electronic health record by SIP Disaster Resilience: Theme 4. We used the information of SIP4D and Health Crisis and Risk Information Supporting Internet system (H-CRISIS) assistance to clarify the variables. We also examined the utility of using an electronic medical record system at the time of a disaster via creating a patient evacuation medical record cloud system in a 2016 Large-scale disaster drill. We requested Staging Care Unit (SCU) members to enter patient information by using a tablet. In SCUs that were outside the afflicted area, we browsed the electronic medical record on the cloud system and compared the time to send patient information using an electronic medical record in SCU to the time to send the same without using an electronic medical record and examined the superiority of the operation. In the statistical analysis, we used the Wilcoxon rank-sum test by MEPHAS. The significance level was set as P < 0.01. Based on the information for personnel damage estimation through SIP4D, the damage estimates are compiled for each prefecture, secondary medical zone, municipality, and school district. Additionally, it is possible to compile the number of predictive and serious patients per disaster hospital and to display it as a WEB service via the geographic information system (GIS). The information in the headquarters for disaster control is shared and visualized on the map, and thus, it is possible to use common information in each section. Furthermore, hospital damage situation, DMAT dispatch conditions, access route, and safety can also be visualized on the map. With respect to the usefulness of introducing an electronic health record at the time of a disaster, the median time to transfer medical information corresponded to 23.5 min in the group that used electronic health records (8 cases) and 41 min in the group that did not use electronic health records (8 cases). The results indicated a significantly shortened time in the group that used the electronic health record (P = 0.0073). It is ideal to estimate the number of patients and hospital damage from information that can grasp the scale of the disaster, such as intensity of an earthquake, set up appropriate headquarters, calculate the required number of DMATs, and instantaneously determine dispatch means and safety routes accordingly. Furthermore, patient information is digitalized from the point of triage, linked to the medical chart for disaster, managed collectively, and entered into the cloud. It is desirable to share patient information across the country. Based on the medical needs predicted from the information, it is also desirable to calculate the appropriate destination and means of transporting the patient in line with the actual damage situation such as infrastructure and road information. Another goal involves building a system that can calculate the aforementioned measures by using artificial intelligence. SIP4D is recognized as useful in terms of the integration and sharing of disaster information, damage situation, and hazard information gathering. It is assumed that SIP4D will lead to a major change in the existing DMAT operation regime. Additionally, the creation of an electronic medical record at the time...View PDF for the rest of the abstract
In recent years, many cases of secondary disasters have occurred owing to failures of irrigation ponds after large disasters such as the Great East Japan Earthquake, Northern Kyushu Heavy Rain, and the Heavy Rain Event of July 2018. At the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), we have developed the Disaster Prevention Support System for Irrigation Ponds (hereinafter referred to as the DPSIP), which is aimed at sharing disaster information relating to irrigation ponds in times of major disaster. In this paper, we present the specifications of the DPSIP and the applicability of the system is also explained by applying the system to actual disasters and by conducting a verification test.
Assessing the extent of damage quickly following a major natural disaster is crucial to ensuring that effective decisions are made to establish an appropriate first response system and implement response measures. Therefore, a real-time earthquake damage estimation system was developed. Among other things, the system estimates the distribution of seismic ground motion, structural damage, and casualties based on observation records obtained immediately after a major earthquake. In addition, the system is equipped with a function for assessing actual damage using a variety of sources and techniques. Damage estimates generated by the system were used for emergency response during actual disasters, including the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes, and the system’s effectiveness has been confirmed. This study evaluates the functions and performance of the system, examines its potential applications, and discusses future innovations and challenges.
At the time of a disaster, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) inspects the facilities under its jurisdiction and promptly collects infrastructure damage information. It may be difficult to grasp the damage information depending on when the disaster occurred; the time, size, and distribution of the damage; the weather; and so forth. Even in such a case, it is necessary to grasp the damage situation based on the limited available information, establish a system for the initial response, and proceed with the disaster response. National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management (NILIM) has developed the technology to collect infrastructure damage information with the necessary promptness, coverage, and reliability, using every kind of technology available and providing the necessary information for decision making. This study conducted a survey of officials who had been engaged in earthquake response following the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes, among others. The necessary technology has been developed to collect, integrate, and share disaster damage information according to the situation by considering that the information needs in disaster response changes from moment to moment, and such technology has been successively implemented on site. This paper describes the results of and the knowledge gained from this technological development and notes the study’s findings on the information needs and the efforts that need to be made in the future.
The study focused on the research and development of ICT for disaster preparedness and response with respect to two categories, namely, the delivery of alert messages to a wider group of residents and providing quick relief communications in affected areas. In the former category, the development focused on two targets, one involving the delivery of alert messages to indoor residents with a V-Low broadcasting service and the other involving the delivery of an alert message to individuals with disabilities and difficulties in understanding Japanese. In the latter category, a portable ICT unit was developed for rapid relief communications and mesh network technology enabling robust information sharing among base stations in the affected area was developed. Furthermore, a related development focused on a resilient information management system to collect information in areas that do not have access to the Internet. Furthermore, device relay technology was developed to expand access network cover areas. After the development of individual technology, activities for the societal implementation of the development results were conducted through field experiments and disaster drills in which the developed technologies were integrated and utilized.
Based on the lessons learned from the East Japan Great Earthquake of March 11, 2011, the authors have been engaged in the research and development of movable and deployable information and communication technology (ICT) resource units (MDRUs), which provide immediate and minimally required ICT service in areas struck by disaster. The MDRU is a transportable unit that contains equipment necessary for ICT service provisions and is designed to be quickly transported to and set up in affected areas after a natural disaster has struck. The unit is used to quickly construct a wireless local network in the area, and thus provide immediate and minimally required ICT service to the people in the area. In this paper, we describe MDRU technology and other technologies that lead to improved performance and/or service when connected or linked up with the unit. Along with this development, we have conducted various activities aimed at its international deployment. Specifically, we conducted trials with resident participation in the Philippines and Nepal to verify the validity of these technologies overseas, where we were able to confirm its validity under various conditions. Furthermore, we have undertaken activities for its standardization, and have succeeded in the standardization of MDRU at International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T).
For alleviation of damage and rapid recovery following a widespread large-scale disaster, responses are needed that remain effective with limited human and material resources. To achieve this, it is imperative to prepare ahead for a collaborative response of agencies and organizations in the region at risk. In Theme 7 of Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) for Enhancement of Societal Resiliency against Natural Disasters, the research and development of the application technology and the experiments of its social implementation have proceeded under the perspectives of the following sub-themes to cooperate with the citizens, local governments and industries and make the regional disaster response possible under the regional cooperation. Theme 7-1 aims to enhance the regional resilience targeting the areas of industrial clusters and the areas with high risk of tsunami, supposing a large-scale disaster caused by the Nankai megathrust earthquake. Theme 7-2 aims to develop the support technology to response to and mitigate effectively the urban-type complex disaster triggered by the earthquake disaster by the earthquake that directly hits Tokyo area etc. and the flood by torrential rain etc., taking the urban Metropolitan area into consideration. In this paper the above-mentioned efforts are outlined and the matters to be mentioned especially and stressed in Theme 7-1 are pointed out.
In Theme 7-2 of SIP Disaster Prevention (Enhancement of Social Resiliency against Natural Disaster of Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program), we implemented the two subthemes to develop the disaster response and mitigation technology effective for the complex disaster caused by earthquake and flood by torrential rain in megalopolis such as Tokyo metropolitan area; “Subtheme 1: Development of Application Software for Supporting All-Hazards Management in Megalopolis and Commercial Areas around Large Terminal Stations,” and “Subtheme 2: Sustainable Development of Local Disaster Prevention Technology with Visualization Application.” In the former, we formulated behavioral guidelines of central city areas during disasters based on the hazard/risk assessment, and developed an application software for PC/smartphone to support emergency management by delivering relevant information to civilians and disaster response workers during the disaster. Especially, the application would reduce secondary disasters, such as the confusion/panic by the huge number of crowds. In the latter, to “efficiently utilize the limited time, human resources and goods and to minimize damage” at the time of the disaster, we developed a “travel support application,” which can efficaciously “assign” workers to various tasks (the events that require a response) that are spatially distributed at the occurrence of disaster, “navigate” by identifying optimal routes for patrol and “monitor” progress.