Tokyo Metropolitan Earthquake and Nankai Trough Earthquakes predicted to hit Japan in the near future makes it urgent that the impact of urban earthquake disasters be reduced by every means possible.
To promote research to this end, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan launched a Special Project for Reducing Vulnerability for Urban Mega Earthquake Disasters in 2012 as a five-year R&D effort embracing three academic disciplines – earth and physical sciences, structural engineering, and social sciences. This project in turn consists of three subprojects – Subproject on the earthquake hazard mechanism and risk evaluation of southern Kanto region, Subproject to develop rapid damage assessment and recovery technology of urban function, and Subproject to develop resilient society improving disaster management competence.
This special issue features findings and achievements from this last subproject, whose goal is to enhance society’s resilience based on the experiences and lessons of the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Disaster that crippled Kobe, the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster that prostrated Japan’s northeastern Pacific coast and other such disasters.
Concretely speaking, by integrating the wisdom of disaster management researchers nationwide and collaborating with other subprojects, this subproject proposes disseminating disaster information technologies and training methodologies to build up disaster preparedness. This, in turn, is aided by improving disaster literacy and competence among both the general public and disaster management personnel.
Focusing on the three major metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, where two-thirds of Japan’s population and three-fourths of the nation’s total assets are concentrated, Web-based disaster information management and dissemination services are being proposed and examined for effectiveness through demonstration experiments and social implementation.
In this issue of JDR, we are introducing 11 papers and reports from researchers involved in this subproject to present initial interim findings and progress during the first half of this five-year effort. In doing so, the authors and editors of this issue gratefully acknowledge the generous financial support of MEXT in these studies.
The assessment model for post-earthquake lifeline serviceability of electric power, water, and city gas supply systems has been modified and applied to the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster with the detailed and updated data required for damage assessment. The estimated and observed population affected after the main shock and its decreasing process has been compared for validation on a prefectural basis. Reasonable agreement has been found between the estimation and observation except for discrepancies attributed to unconsidered factors, such as damage to hierarchically high facilities caused by tsunami, liquefaction, and/or ground shaking.
Road infrastructure damage due to extreme ground excitations during the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake was assessed and 161 items of damage road structure data were classified into three types of failure modes: road surface and embankment damage items, road surface crack items and road subsidence items. We then compared a damage ratio, which is defined by the number of damage points divided by total road length, to the estimated spatial distribution of JMA instrumental seismic intensity. The maximum damage ratio for the 161 damage data items is 0.0290 points/km compared to a JMA instrumental seismic intensity of 5.8. Last, we developed damage functions for road infrastructures subjected to extreme ground excitations, which describe the relationship between the damage ratios and seismic intensity.
This paper discusses the development and implementation of the web-based geo-spatial information sharing and integration system that advances the multidisciplinary researches on the processes and impacts of mega-disaster. The mega-disasters predicted in Japan, such as Tokyo Metropolitan Earthquake or Nankai Trough Earthquake Tsunami, bring huge amount of damage and loss in various sectors and various regions, and the scenarios of damage occurrence and loss propagation are very complex. Hence, in order to quantify each problem to create disaster reduction strategies, it is very important to share and integrate data and findings across many disciplines and regions. In this point of view, we are developing the Urban Resilience Geoportal as the sharing site of research findings. In this paper, we discuss the concept of such system focusing on the accumulation and sharing of multidisciplinary data, the integration of damage and loss quantification methods, the collaboration with other disaster information systems, and the utilization of data to create new findings.
Many people were injured or otherwise suffered during evacuation or on their way home in the Greater Tokyo Area during the 2011 East Japan (Tohoku) Earthquake. One lesson from this disaster was that they had to decide what was best based on their individual attribute. However, we have no supporting tool for them to decide their appropriate behavior, so we designed and developed an information provision system, based on a micromedia concept, that features (i) using logs of their location logs, and (ii) introducing spatial data mashup method to abstract information based on individual user needs. We then implemented our prototype application and got reviews from 64 users. As the result of evaluation to our system from 64 users, most of them accepted the concept of micromedia, but pointed out issues about spatial layers management, personal information treatment and how to express information.
An effective initial response immediately after disaster strikes is not easy to provide when human and material resources and information are lacking. The purpose of this study is to achieve effective initial response activities immediately after disaster strikes, and it analyzes the initial responses taken by the government of the town of Yabuki, Fukushima Prefecture in the case of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. Disaster responses taken in the first five days after the disaster struck Yabuki are discussed in this paper. As a result, we have found that many staff members were deployed to non-regular works, such as food service, water service, and the sorting and transporting of materials, that could have been done even without town government staff members. To effectively deploy about all Yabuki staff members and conduct disaster response activities, it is necessary to classify the difficulty level of tasks, identify what each task entails, and then allocate the necessary resources to those tasks.
This paper aims to evaluate CFW programs as a disaster recovery policy tool in terms of the psychological aspects, using the questionnaire survey data of 897 participants in Fukushima Prefecture. The main findings are as follows: those who “want to contribute to the reconstruction of Fukushima,” “to newly acquire experience or skills” and “have access to trainer or instructor” significantly felt being “connected” and thought “positively” to the future. Interestingly, evacuees as a group generally had positive views for the future. The primary conclusion is that CFW has been successfully targeted to a vulnerable group, and has a psychologically positive impact on the participants, and especially on the evacuees.
The concept we propose for a disaster management literacy hub (DMLH) involves systemizing and generalizing disaster management literacy (DML) and discussing how to design such a DMLH where the general public and disaster responders share materials on DML. In the early 21st century, measures against large-scale earthquakes should essentially include both hardware disaster mitigation measures like the construction of appropriate structures and software measures like disaster preparedness among people and organizations such as the general public, disaster responders and related organizations. We define knowledge about disaster response management and competency as DML. Our analysis of documents on the incident command system (ICS), an emergency response system under the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), found 56 positions of disaster responders in ICS defined by 35 actions required for four types of disaster response competency. The above analysis led us to propose that DML consist of three elements: knowledge for learning about disaster management and mitigation, skills required for effective disaster response, and basic competency and attitudes for coping with disasters. For conceptual DMLH design based on the Instructional Design (ID), we propose three types of learning: 1 The general public and disaster responders learn audiovisually using training videos and materials and review tests on learn from videos. 2 People who want to provide education and training at schools or in regions or municipalities with school teacher guidance/teaching plans learn how to do so. 3 People learn DML by posting or searching for (collecting and arranging) materials. We discuss how to publish such learning programs, taking as a specific example a life reconstruction support system (to put disaster victims’ lives back in order) based on victims’ master database.
Buildings are checked after disasters for such diverse factors as building safety, disaster victim relief application and insurance claim payment. Visual evaluation by different inspectors used in these types of inspection to ascertain and assess the extent of damage tends to lead to variations in results. Fairness is especially called for in the inspection of building damage for victim relief conducted by local government officials, because results are one criterion for providing access to relief programs for such victims. Japan’s revised Disaster Countermeasures Basic Act clearly stipulates that local governments must train inspectors in damage assessment during normal times, usually once a year at most. This training has consisted mainly of studying inspection criteria and procedures in the context of classroom lectures. Problems have been pointed out with this training, e.g., that trainees acquire knowledge on building damage inspection but have little opportunity for gaining practical learning experience. This paper describes the training system we developed based on learning experience in which the trainee experiences the procedural flow of assessing an entire actual building. As the first step, a detailed inspection was done on a house in Ojiya, Niigata prefecture, which was damaged in the 2004 Niigata Chuetsu earthquake. The condition of the house was checked and the records were incorporated into a database. Inspection records were then analyzed and assessed using assessment criteria for damage certification provided by the Japanese government’s Cabinet Office and established as detailed model solutions. Records of damage status and model solutions were input to tablet PCs and building damaged conditions reconstructed. In practical training sessions, trainees used these tablet PCs to inspect damage to different parts of the building, input results, and compared their own assessment results to model solutions. This system was used in training programs conducted for local government officials and its effectiveness discussed. The learning process involved in training was thus implemented so that trainees acquired knowledge, experienced the procedural flow of damage assessment using an actual building, and compared their results to detailed model solutions to identify their errors and examine causes.
This paper discusses emergency response information processing. Information collection and summarization techniques are discussed based on case studies of real emergency responses in Japan, such as that during the March 11, 2011, Tohoku Earthquake. The emergency operation center (EOC) layout made it possible to share information effectively, as is discussed together with a format for summarizing emergency response operations.
Many of the emergency operations centers that take the initiative in commanding and controlling on disaster response still rely on inefficient manual information processing even though they have ICT systems at hand. This paper reports on 3-year functional exercises in a local government using ICT to improve information processing.
This paper discusses an experiential training and education program designed to improve the response literacy in the event of a large-scale earthquake in the Shinjuku station area in Tokyo, which is a central business district representative of Japan. The features of the Shinjuku station area are described, and the activities of the Shinjuku Station Area Disaster Response Measure Committee, made up of businesses and other concerns located in the vicinity of Shinjuku station, as well as the education and training program implemented by the committee to train personnel are introduced. An overview is given of the seminars and workshops given as part of the education and training program in fiscal 2013, targeted at employees of businesses in charge of disaster response. The report then describes the Comprehensive Disaster Preparedness Drill, which was conducted for the purpose of enabling the participants of the seminars and workshops to practice the skills and techniques for disaster response they had acquired, and conducting a comprehensive exercise on disaster response activities within businesses or the area. Finally, the results of a questionnaire survey conducted on the drill participants are discussed.