Japan’s National Resilience Strategy

Japan’s National Resilience Strategy

Chairman Miura giving a speech at the Japan Resilience Award ceremony.

After the Second Abe Admi-nistration was inaugurated at the end of December 2012, Keiji Furuya was appointed the first Minister of State for Disaster Management, and the Advisory Committee on National Resilience (Disaster Prevention and Mitigation) was established in March 2013 under his supervision. In December 2013, the “Basic Act for National Resilience Contributing to Preventing and Mitigating Disasters for Developing Resilience in the Lives of the Citizenry” was approved by the government, and the National Resilience Promotion Headquarters (Director General: Prime Minister Abe) was set up as an organization to deal with related affairs. In June 2014, the government simultaneously approved the “Fundamental Plan for National Resilience” and the “Action Plan for National Resilience 2014”. Japan’s National Resilience has four basic concepts regardless of the type of disaster that may occur:

  1. Protect human lives;
  2. Avoid fatal damage and maintain important functions of the nation and society;
  3. Minimize damage to the property of the citizenry and public facilities;
  4. Swift recovery and reconstruction.

A vulnerability assessment revealed 45 worst events that should never happen, and the Japanese government prioritized 15 of them as requiring immediate amelioration. Depending on the disaster risks and characteristics of the regions, the government will implement measures that:

  1. Combine structural measures (development of river banks, shelters, evacuation routes, etc.) and non-structural measures (preparation and utilization of hazard maps, implementation of evacuation drills, etc.).
  2. Share benefits not only in time of disaster but also in times of stability.

In order to create an effective national resilience strategy, national and local governments must share roles and cooperate with local residents and private companies. As a result, the Association for Resilience Japan (ARJ) was established in July 2013 to provide a platform for corporations, Non-Profit Organizations, organizations, scholars, and individuals to accumulate intelligence and hold deliberations in order to submit proposals to the Japanese government. More than a dozen working groups with over 50 members each have already been in operation, and have prepared a detailed interim report that outlines intelligence offered by each member. ARJ has combined the reports and has submitted a proposal to be considered for the “Action Plan for National Resilience 2015”.

ARJ also held a competition to recognize groups that produce exceptional hardware and/or software that contribute to national resilience. The “Japan Resilience Award Ceremony 2015” was held in Sendai on March 15th with speeches by Satoshi Miura (chairman of ARJ and chairman of the board of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.) and Ryosei Akazawa (State Minister of Cabinet Office). A total of 87 honorary awards were presented at this ceremony. Through various activities and events, ARJ aims to propel a national movement towards developing a more resilient Japan.

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