Disaster Research


"For big earthquakes, the tsunami is going to be the big destructive factor," said Vasily Titov, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Center for Tsunami Research in Seattle, Washington. "But if the nation is prepared, warning and education definitely saves lives. Compare the human lives lost in Sumatra and Japan. It's about 10 times less."

Residents of Tokyo received a minute of warning before the strong shaking hit the city, thanks to Japan's earthquake early warning system. The country's stringent seismic building codes and early warning system prevented many deaths from the earthquake, by stopping high-speed trains and factory assembly lines. People in Japan also received texted alerts of the earthquake and tsunami warnings on their cellphones.

The tsunami caused a cooling system failure at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which resulted in a level-7 nuclear meltdown and release of radioactive materials. The electrical power and backup generators were overwhelmed by the tsunami, and the plant lost its cooling capabilities.

"Fukushima was created by the tsunami. The earthquake was not a factor," Titov said. "Fukushima was designed for a tsunami smaller than the one we saw."

In the tsunami's aftermath, Japan's Meteorological Agency was criticized for issuing an initial tsunami warning that underestimated the size of the wave. The country recently unveiled a newly installed, upgraded tsunami warning system.

In some regions, such as Miyagi and Fukushima, only 58 percent of people headed for higher ground immediately after the earthquake, according to a Japanese government study published in August 2011. Many people also underestimated their personal risk, or assumed the tsunami would be as small as ones they had previously experienced, the study found.

Earthquake engineers examined the damage, looking for ways to build buildings more resistant to quakes and tsunamis. Studies are ongoing today.

"The tsunami itself died out a long time ago, but the effects in Japan will be there for decades," Titov told Live Science.

More than 5,000 aftershocks hit Japan in the year after the earthquake, the largest a magnitude 7.9.

In the early afternoon of 11 March 2011, Japan was rocked by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake that caused widespread damage to the country’s eastern coastal region. The earthquake was so powerful it moved Honshu, Japan’s largest island, 2.4 metres east and shifted the Earth on its axis by an estimated 10 to 25 centimetres.

As of February 2017, there were still about 150,000 evacuees who lost their homes; 50,000 of them were still living in temporary housingJapan's Reconstruction Agency said. More than 120,000 buildings were destroyed, 278,000 were half-destroyed and 726,000 were partially destroyed, the agency said. https://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/great-east-japan-earthquake
The direct financial damage from the disaster is estimated to be about $199 billion dollars (about 16.9 trillion yen), according to the Japanese government. The total economic cost could reach up to $235 billion, the World Bank estimated, making it the costliest natural disaster in world historyhttps://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/great-east-japan-earthquake
Following the massive earthquake and tsunami, an accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant was reported as a potential Public Health Emergency of International Concern. In time, the International Nuclear Event Scale was raised to Level 7, the highest levelhttps://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/great-east-japan-earthquake
will become a tool for both Japan and the international community for future disaster response efforts. As we read through this publication, let us remember the people who have lost their lives or their loved ones, and those who, through the adversity, never lost hope and started to rebuild their lives. https://www.who.int/westernpacific/news/detail/11-03-2012-the-great-east-japan-earthquake

WHO dedicates this publication to the people of Japan, and those who have shared their time, resources and talents to turn a disaster into a story of a new beginning. https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

On 11 March 2011, in the early afternoon (14:46:23 local time), Japan
was rocked by 9.0-magnitude earthquake that caused widespread

damage to the country’s eastern coastal region. The earthquake was so powerful it moved Honshu, Japan’s largest island, 2.4 metres east and shifted the Earth on its axis by an estimated 10 to 25 centimetres. https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

Within the first day following the earthquake, more than 50 aftershocks were experienced, seven of which measured at least 6.3 on the Richter scale. Subsequently, the earthquake triggered 647 aftershocks (as of 4 August 2011), many with associated tsunami warnings. https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

The tsunami was so strong it reached farther inland than expected. The height of the tsunami was considerable, with reports measuring the maximum height of the wave at approximately 38 metres, which is the height of a 12-storey building.https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

In time, the International Nuclear Event Scale was raised to Level 7, the highest level. https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

In areas of the Tohoku region, entire towns were washed away by the tsunami, reducing some communities to less than half of their pre-tsunami populationshttps://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

The national health system of Japan – one of the most developed nations in the world – was overwhelmed. In some areas, the disaster response command centres were destroyed, and health care workers became victims. https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

Extensive fires from spilled fuels and explosions of combustible materials followed the tsunami in a number of areas. Water did not recede back to the ocean in several areas for some time. https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

In some areas, the earthquake completely altered the landscape as the land sank and rivers near the shore became a permanent part of the sea. Water completely inundated roads and other infrastructurehttps://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

 It was observed that the outcome of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami was black or white, in that people either died or survived with few physical injuries. More than 90% of deaths were due to drowning, and the majority of deaths were among the elderly. https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

The impact of the disaster on medical care and health services was beyond what had been anticipated despite the country’s experience with and preparedness for earthquakes and tsunamis. https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

In total, 269 fires were recorded, 250 were controlled, and 8 were still burning as of 17 March 2011. https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

Sixty landslides were reported from Miyagi, Yamagata, Tokyo, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba. https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

A total of 831 736 telephone lines remained out of service on 17 March. A reported 6468 base stations of NTT, Soft Bank, KDDI, Emobile and Wilcom mobile companies were not functioning. https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf

At least 3562 buildings were completely destroyed on 17 March. https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5547/9789290615682_eng.pdf


1. Neighborhood Association

When the U.S. military took charge following Japan’s surrender in 1945, one of the first things it did was ban jichikai, or community associations. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2015/10/31/how-tos/not-friendly-neighborhood-associations/

Jichikai or Chokai
particularly works in a time of disaster. The residents can quickly set up a support team so they can help each other to handle such difficult situation.
Chokai or Jichikai is managed by the members and the cost of administration is covered by a subsidy from the local government and membership fees from the residents, that would probably be 300 to 600 yen per month, depending on the association. https://www.digi-joho.com/living-japan/186-neighborhood-associations.html

The Neighborhood Association (隣組, Tonarigumi) was the smallest unit of the national mobilization program established by the Japanese government in World War II. It consisted of units consisting of 10-15 households organized for fire fighting, civil defense and internal security.

Neighborhood mutual-aid associations existed in Japan since before the Edo period. The system was formalized on 11 September 1940 by order of the Home Ministry (Japan) under Imperial Rule Assistance Association by the cabinet of Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe.

Tonarigumi were also organized in territories occupied by Japan for the same purposes, including Manchukuo, Mengjiang, the Wang Jingwei Government, and later in occupied territories of Southeast Asia (Such as the Indonesian RT/RW system) .

Neighborhood Associations (NHAs)
Japanese NHAs function as basic organizational building blocks that promote a sense of security and familiarity at the local level and facilitate the general organizational efficiency of Japanese society.

Simply by existing and visibly performing all kinds of functions, such as cleaning the neighborhood or patrolling the local area, Japanese NHAs can be viewed as a kind of social lubricant that increases the overall societal efficiency in Japan.

Elementary school children doing their morning gymnastics under the guidance of one or more members of the local children’s group or kodomokai, another typical subdivision of many Japanese NHAs. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258198200_Neighborhood_Associations_and_Social_Capital_in_Japan

NHAs in Hiroshima Subdivision: Parents Club, Children's group, Environmental beauty group, Sports club, Crime prevention group, Disaster prevention group, Traffic safety group, Public health and sanitation group, Atomic bomb warning group, The Akai Hane fundraising group, Building and repair groups, Blood donor group, Culture club, Welfare group, Women's group.

The total number of households located in the neighborhood ranges from 102 to 588 and never even approaches one thousand. This is also very likely one of the more important reasons for the high enrollment rates of Japanese NHAs since one can assume that the social pressure to join is greater in small NHAs compared to large ones.

In Ushita, the head of the block rotates every year among the houses within that block. The block head (kumichō) is responsible for collecting the fees from the other block members (preferably this should be done each month, but some collect it only once a year).

The block head is also responsible for circulating the kairanban, a kind of mobile bulletin board (Bestor 1989, 147). TheThe 26 neighborhood blocks are clustered in nine bigger units. The head of such a unit is called a kanji and this person takes the money (from the block heads) to the monthly neighborhood meeting.
At the top of this neighborhood, we find six (staff) functions, that of neighborhood president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and two auditors. The position of kanji (just like that of the block heads) rotates among the households. The only position which is chosen is that of neighborhood president; this happens each year at the general neighborhood meeting in March.

One could consider this to be four-tier organizational structure: neighborhood block → NHA → NHA Federation → District Federation. The block head is at its very least responsible for attending the monthly neighborhood meeting, rotating the kairanban within the block, collecting neighborhood fees and other donations (e.g., Red Cross or Akai Hane15 donations) and reporting to the NHA when a household within the block has moved so that the NHA’s name register can be updated.

The fact that Japan is an especially disaster-prone country (earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons) may be related to this because this forces people to work together (compare Aldrich 2010). Observations in Hiroshima confirm the very important role of disaster (and crime) prevention as far as local civil society is concerned. The four NHAs investigated (or their Federations) are all involved in fire and disaster prevention activities such as disaster drills and volunteer fire fighting exercises.

Another explanation may be Japan’s geography, namely, the existence of many mountains and islands that carve the country up into relatively small isolated areas, thus promoting cooperation due to geographical closure. As has been noted, NHAs also have deep historical roots in Japanese society, and many activities are without a doubt (also) organized out of a sense of tradition.

Of course, as has been documented by Aldrich (2010) and others, Japanese NHAs and other local groups have a very important (and certainly not merely symbolic) function to fulfill as soon as a serious disaster strikes, such as the 1995 Kobe or the 2011 Touhoku earthquakes. As far as small and relatively rare activities are concerned (planting trees or an excursion to the disaster prevention center)

The Japan Society of Community Disaster Management Plan (SCDMP)
In the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the limitations of the government’s activities, and the importance of “mutual-help” in collaboration with local municipalities became apparent. Consequently, the Cabinet Office amended the Disaster Countermeasures Basic Law in June 2013, and created the “Community Disaster Management Plan” (CDMP), a plan for disaster management activities by businesses and residents of local communities. From the perspective of social capital, disaster management activities based on the CDMP will lead to local community participation in town planning, even during the preliminary reconstruction phase. https://gakkai.chiku-bousai.jp/english.html

District Disaster Prevention Plan (Self Help, Mutual Assistance, Action Plan)
In the Great East Japan Earthquake, the limitations of public assistance were clarified, and the importance of mutual assistance in local communities was recognized. However, based on this lesson, the Basic Law on Disaster Management was revised in June 2013, The "District Disaster Prevention Plan System" for disaster prevention activities co-sponsored by local residents and businesses has been positioned by law. Consists of local residents and businesses, who create plans according to the characteristics of the region, and implement and continue disaster prevention activities based on the plans.

Conventionally, disaster prevention plans have been defined as a comprehensive and long-term disaster prevention plan at the national level and a regional disaster prevention plan for prefectures and municipalities at the local level, and disaster prevention activities have been implemented at each level.

However, in the Great East Japan Earthquake, it was strongly recognized that self-help, mutual help and public-help cooperate with each other to make disaster countermeasures work well after a large-scale wide-area disaster. http://www.bousai.go.jp/kyoiku/chikubousai/

Brochure disaster management plan self help, mutual assistance http://www.bousai.go.jp/kyoiku/chikubousai/pdf/pamphlet.pdf

Brochure flood and sediment disaster http://www.bousai.go.jp/kyoiku/chikubousai/pdf/180604.pdf

Journal C+
In addition to the word Community, "C" has the meaning of Cooperation, Collaboration, and Continuity, which means continuation. "C" also envisions that citizens (Citizen) and businesses (Company) support the Community. https://www.risktaisaku.com/

District Defense: At the closing of the “District Disaster Prevention Planning Forum 2019-The Road to District Defense is Not One” held on March 16, 2019 in Osaka City, the local government network “District Disaster'z "(Chikubouzu) was raised.

Evacuation drill against tsunami
The average evacuation drill participation rate was only 19.5%. Similarly, the participation rate in an evacuation drill conducted in Ishinomaki in 2014 was only 7.3%, despite the fact that this city experienced 3968 fatalities due to drowning in the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. The low participation rates indicate that the traditional tsunami evacuation scenarios are losing their public motivation value, and require urgent transformation. Methods and scenarios used in these drills have become increasingly stereotypical and boring to participants. file:///C:/Users/elmojuanara/Downloads/sustainability-10-02982.pdf

One such potentially stimulating factor in transforming the effectiveness of evacuation drills is technology. The increasingly sophisticated information technology, such as GIS, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) applied in risk management has become evident in the evacuation context. New models for predicting evacuation behaviors have been developed using computer simulation systems. These technologies have enabled estimates of the impacts of a given disaster, such as a tsunami, to be constructed, including the potential number of fatalities.

Individual-level issues in disaster mitigation
One issue is that 64.3% of victims in the Great East Japan Earthquake were over 60 years old, and 45.5% were over 70 years old. https://www.jsnds.org/jnds/34_2_2.pdf

Another issue is that before the Great East Japan Earthquake, there were high expectations placed on community-level support under emergency conditions, particularly on local volunteer firefighters. However, 253 volunteer firefighters died while trying to evacuate others. One surviving volunteer firefighter said that “they knew precisely that the tsunami was
coming, but they couldn’t bring themselves to evacuate while others remained behind” (CeMI, 2011).

These poignant words illustrate the limitations of kyojo, the Japanese principle of mutual assistance. Although tremendous efforts put into community-level disaster management and relating achievements have been seen, the huge damage motivated us to shift attention from community-level approaches to individual-level ones, such as the tsunami evacuation principle of tsunami tendenko. The Great East Japan Earthquake led to a significant renewal of interest in the concept of tsunami tendenko, the importance of an “each for themselves” attitude toward escaping tsunami on the one hand, but the complexity of actually implementing such strategies for tsunami evacuation on the other (Yamori, 2012).

According to the Central Disaster Prevention Council (2012), up to 56% of evacuees reportedly used cars for evacuation. This information indicates that while the importance of walking or running to shelters has long been held as a principle of tsunami evacuation, such rules are not adhered to during emergency conditions. Those who used motor vehicles for evacuation encountered various problems, such as traffic jams, damaged roads, and dysfunctional traffic signals. Indeed, many victims were found drowned in their cars.

Low evacuation rates. In the Great East Japan Earthquake, however, only 57% of residents subject to evacuation orders responded quickly after the earthquake (Central Disaster Prevention Council, 2011).

Students have engaged in activities such as issuing disaster management newsletters, disaster mapping, community cooking, etc. During disaster mapping, students discovered many problems related to disaster mitigation. For example, they observed that bridge piers were in disrepair, despite being important routes to shelters. They also observed that evacuation routes were difficult for older people and would easily be destroyed in the event of a major

We categorized all the questions into individual-level problems (Q5, Q7, and Q8), the reevaluation of damage estimates (Q1 and Q9), and the rate of tsunami evacuation (Q2, Q3, Q4, and Q6).

Similar features to those in the Tohoku region, such as an aging population, the safety of existing shelters, and evacuation rate.

 “Crossroad” style, a tool for disaster education proposed by Yamori et al. (2005)

Two new principles of tsunami management were notified by the local government. One is, “Do not go to close the water gate after a big earthquake.” The other is, “Support evacuation efforts only while evacuating yourself.”

23% of Tohoku survivors reported that the first place they evacuated to was inundated by the tsunami (Weathernews Inc., 2011).

However, people would probably not be at home, or evacuation roads leading to their first-choice shelters would be blocked by collapsed walls. So, we strongly suggest that residents be familiar with more than one shelter to ensure successful escape from a tsunami.

Almost 50% of residents selected evacuation towers at 15 m above sea level, or “other” (high ground near their houses).  “Evacuation shelters cannot fit everyone’s need. More evacuation roads should be constructed to allow quick evacuation to high ground,” indicate a proactive
attitude. Nonetheless, from the perspective of safety, it is necessary to test whether non-designated places could be used as shelters.

According to survey reports, residents in the Tohoku region spent almost 30 minutes to evacuate to shelters, including the time period before and during evacuation (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, 2011).

Applied CATDAP, a categorical data analysis program package for analyzing cross-classified data. CATDAP automates the search for optimal combinations of predictors (explanatory variables) on which a specific response variable (the explained variable) has the strongest dependence.

Is self-preservation.

Powerful emotional, drive concern to family members. Because of strong ties, families often die together. This happened again and again.

Brief of Tendenko: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8BKxBad2oQ
More about Tendenko: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wymX0J4G8r8

Rule 1: in the event of earthquake, the most important thing is saving your life. For that, you must keep running single-mindedly toward higher ground. (Run, Run, Just Run!)

Sendai Resilience
However, some residents were able to flee to the roofs of elementary schools which were designated as evacuation centers, saving their lives. “If you feel a large earthquake near the coast, escape to an elevated location in order to survive.” This is an important lesson learned from our experience. (Kazuo Matsuoka Head of the Minami-Gamo Neighborhood Association, Sendai, Japan).

Vital disaster skills, such as learning first-aid for injuries, doing firefighting drills using fire extinguishers, and preparing and trying emergency rations.

As well as “self-help,” the idea of making sure that you keep yourself safe, another important factor in preventing disasters and reducing their impact is “mutual aid,” where people work together to respond to disasters. Supplementary reading material for DRR education, “From 3.11 to the Future” (Sendai City Board of Education).

Educating Children - How to Make a Community "Disaster-resilient"
- Disaster Action Map created by Katahira Area Local Community Planning Group
- Disaster Risk Reduction / Treasure Hunting Game

Volunteer Firefighters
Closing the floodgates of seawalls and guiding residents to evacuation areas in the face of the arriving tsunami and the impending danger of losing their precious lives.

Searching for missing persons, responding to evacuation centers, etc. without sleep or rest for days and days, under serious situations where they had lost persons close to them including family members and colleagues, or had persons close to them who were missing, and their homes were washed out or they were victims themselves.

Spirit of mutual help to protect their local communities or the love for one’s own local community and the noble spirit of “giyu” or loyalty and courage though this might seem a little old-fashioned in modern times. The spirit of giyu means: 1) courage with a strong
sense of justice and 2) a spirit of dedication to public welfare, according to Kojien
(Japanese dictionary). http://www.kaigai-shobo.jp/pdf/Japan_Local_Disaster5.pdf

The drill began with an earthquake alarm sounding throughout the streets and participants crouching down with their hands covering their heads. Some wore helmets. Members of the fire department, police and self-defense forces demonstrated how to carry out emergency first-aid rescue operations while organizing people into groups for effective escape.

Some participants said they felt the drill emphasized the importance of keeping calm in the event of an earthquake. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-quake-drill-idUSKCN1111US

Voluntary Disaster Prevention Organization
Training for Voluntary Disaster Prevention Organizations and Sendai City Community Disaster Prepared: Sendai has been building a supply chain for disaster prevention goods to these organizations since 1980. These voluntary disaster prevention organizations demonstrate the strength of mutual assistance in the Great East Japan Earthquake, reaffirming its importance. As a result, we began training the City Leaders of the City Community Disaster Preparedness (SBL - from the Sendai Bosai Leader in Japanese) since 2012 based on an independent curriculum to enhance the disaster prevention capacity of each community. SBL provides evacuation guidance and oversees rescue and rescue work for local residents in the event of a disaster, and works to create effective disaster prevention plans and training based on community situations in normal situations.

Human capacity building: Sendai City started an independent training program in FY 2012 to develop the Sendai City Community Disaster Preparedness Leaders (SBL). About five SBLs will take a central role in each "Alliance of Neighborhood Associations" in the city. Example of SBL program: Disaster Imagination Training, Drill to rescue people from a collapsed building, Lecture on the basics of evacuation center
operation. https://sendai-resilience.jp/en/efforts/government/human/development_sbl.html


However, the chaotic situation was still shown in the city during the occurrence of several tsunamigenic earthquakes in the past 7 years. CULTURE component is a very critical element in the mechanism of TEWS.

Two approaches, Up to date secondary data and People mind mapping responding tsunami.


bousai: disaster prevention
Chonaikai: neighborhood association
Chiku: district
Tendenko: teaching self-preservation
Kamaishi City (described as “the miracle of Kamaishi"), Junior High School Student
Prof Toshitaka Katada (Gunma University)
Hinan (避難): evacuation
Giyu: spirit of loyalty and courage
Jishu bōsai soshiki: voluntary disaster prevention organization