On April 15, 2020, one member of the Cluster Intervention Group, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan, released his risk assessment, which stated that 420,000 people in Japan would die from COVID-19 if no countermeasure is taken. His prediction was criticized for causing excessive anxiety in people and atrophying the national economy. This article discusses whether such a form of risk assessment inflames public emotions. The problem was examined based on the three models in decision-making and risk perception research: the value function of prospect theory, the two-factor model of risk perception, and the dual-process theories. From these perspectives, it was tentatively concluded that no matter how large the number of deaths that are forecasted is, it is difficult for statistical risk assessments to cause excessive fear in people.
Healthcare workers are at additional risk of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, and there have been extensive discussions on their mental health consequences. We draw attention to four observations in disaster relief workers (DRWs) coping with the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE) in 2011 to inquire this problem profoundly.
1. The uplift and exhaustion of DRWs in the honeymoon phase after a disaster
2. The denial of trauma and depression in the acute post-disaster period
3. Little awareness of the importance of grief care among disaster survivors
4. Manifest of mental distress during the post-disaster restoration phase, when social disparities emerge
5. The importance to guarantee the economic activities of DRWs to maintain their livelihoods
DRWs tend to be left in a vulnerable position to respond to a disaster. Deliberate support for such DRWs is decisively required in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.
A nudge by descriptive norms is one of the most effective interventions to promote disaster preparedness. However, it can have negative consequences that unintendedly repress the desired mitigation, especially in Japan. We hypothesized that the pitfall emerges within the boundary conditions of the attitudes towards preparedness. Descriptive norms inform people about preparedness behaviors; a certain number of people do not prepare and this can be a cause of the side effect of descriptive norms among people holding negative attitudes towards disaster preparedness. We examined the negative effects of descriptive norms on disaster preparedness behaviors, which are drawn from a wide variety of preparedness behaviors with various levels of descriptive norms. A pre-registered experiment confirmed the superiority of the interaction effect model over the model without interaction; descriptive norms backfired among people with negative attitudes. The practical and theoretical implications were also discussed.
The Society for Risk Analysis, Japan held an online symposium “Examining COVID-19 issues from risk perspective” on June 26th, 2020. The number of participants was 175, which is much higher than usual. We received 53 questions online. This paper briefly introduces the background to the symposium and the contents of the symposium.
Japanese higher educational community just declared enhancement of internal control and governance system in the university management, following the government’s line. In this letter, the COSO-Internal control framework, enterprise risk management, ISO31000 and university governance code of Japan are introduced. They are useful concepts for all those who are interested in risk management of universities to discuss how to clarify the risk management concept of treating genetic resources in the universities. As mentioned in ISO31000, managing risk is part of governance and leadership, and is fundamental to how the organization is managed at all levels. That’s why risk management of treating genetic resources under the Nagoya Protocol should be implemented in harmony with the internal control function of universities. Finally four points for discussion are offered.