Wed. May 27th, 2020

Japan leads in disaster risk reduction

Japan

TOKYO, Japan –Monitoring a barrage of data from thousands of different monitoring stations scattered across the country, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)keeps real time tabs on any potential natural disaster occurring within Japan.

From potential developing storms across the oceans, to seismic activities indicating potential earthquakes to weather conditions that may bring torrential rains, the state-of-the-art technologies within an unassuming building near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and its vigilant guards keep Japan and its people prepared for the unrelenting natural disasters that pound the island nation.

But perhaps the key to Japan’s resilience in facing nature’s wrath is best summed up by Kenta Ikemoto of JMA’s Office of Disaster Mitigation, who says of the agency’s mission, “We seek to co-exist and mitigate impacts of natural disasters.”

Japan experiences natural disasters nearly every year with little loss of life.  There are three exceptions, all of which are seared into Japan’s collective memory and are “turning points” in the country’s approach to natural disaster management. Those events are: Typhoon Vera of 1959, Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995 and Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. They each caused major loss of life and property and turned Japan into a world leader in disaster management and risk reduction.

Japan used that hard-earned expertise to take a leadership role in developing the Sendai Framework, the first UN framework on Disaster Risk Management that approaches disaster management from a sustainable development perspective. It’s a proactive and preventive approach to disasters as opposed to a reactionary perspective.

Typhoon Hagibis that made landfall in Japan over a week ago and tested Japan’s preparedness, resilience and attitude.  Super typhoon force winds, with torrential rains, flooding and earthquake all at once, were all met and dealt with the same tenacity even as Japan hosted the World Rugby Cup and held the enthronement of its new emperor. (Leilani Reklai)