Overview of the 15th “Asia Pacific Forum, Awaji Conference Japan”
International Symposium

Picture Symposium 2014

  • Date:
    Friday, August 1 2014
  • Location:
    Awaji Yumebutai International Conference Center
    (1 Yumebutai, Awaji-shi, Hyogo, Japan)
  • Theme:
    "20th Anniversary of Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake:To Prepare for Next Disaster - Private Sector,Kansai Area and World -"
  • Details:
    • ○Opening Address
      Satoshi Iue
      (Representative Director, Asia Pacific Forum, Awaji Conference Japan)
    • ○Welcome Tribute
      Toshizo Ido
      (Governor of Hyogo Prefecture)
    • ○Guest of Honor Speech
      His Excellency MANUEL M.LOPE
      (Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to Japan)
    • ○Awards Ceremony for the 13th Asia Pacific Research Prize(Iue Prize)
    • ○Explanation for the purpose of the Awaji Conference
      Makoto Iokibe
      (President,Hyogo Earthquake Memorial 21st Century Research Institute / Former President,National Defense Academy)
    • ○Commemoration lectures
      "International Cooperation on Disaster Reduction and Disaster Relief:Mutual Assistance and Mutual Learning"
      Speaker: Setsuko Kawahara
      (Professor,Graduate school of law,Hitotsubashi University)
      "Operation Tomodachi and After: An American’s Perspective on Lessons Learned and Lessons Applied"
      Speaker: Robert D.Eldridge
      (Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff,Government & External Affairs(G-7),Marine Corps Installations Pacific)
      "TDisaster Risk Management for Private Sector:NISSAN MOTOR COMPANY"
      Speaker: Tadashi Sugahara
      (Deputy General Manager,Corporate Risk Management,Global Internal Audit Office,NISSAN MOTOR COMPANY)
    • ○Coordinator:
      Koji Murata
      (President, Doshisha University)

Following an opening address from Representative Director Satoshi Iue,a welcoming tribute from Governor of Hyogo Prefecture Toshizo Ido,guest of honor speech from Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines Manuel M.Lopez and awards ceremony for the Asia Pacific Research Prize(Iue Prize),an explanation for the purport of the Awaji Conference was provided by Makoto Iokibe,President,Hyogo Earthquake Memorial 21st Century Research Institute.After three speakers gave commemorative lectures,Koji Murata,President,Doshisha University,took the role of the coordinator.

Abstract of the Commemoration Lecture: “International Cooperation on Disaster Reduction and Disaster Relief:Mutual Assistance and Mutual Learning”
Speaker: Setsuko Kawahara(Professor,Graduate school of law,Hitotsubashi University)

The Asia-Pacific region is the most disaster-prone region on earth,accounting for more than 80% of the affected population and more than 60% of the mortality by natural disasters worldwide. Economic damage from natural disasters has increased in recent years,in developed and developing countries alike. The increasing economic damage has been attributed to the expansion of investments and other business activities in areas near rivers, ports and harbors,driven by urbanization accompanied by economic growth.

Since Japan is continually hit by many serious natural disasters,it utilizes its experiences in domestic disaster reduction efforts, and has been greatly contributing to international disaster reduction both in the region and the world.Needless to say,disaster reduction is essential for mitigating damage caused by natural disasters. Once a disaster occurs,it is extremely important to have a well-crafted disaster relief system in place to minimize human suffering. The international community continues to cooperate in providing relief in large-scale natural disasters around the world, such as earthquakes,tsunamis and floods. It should be noted that serious reviews were conducted after each operation with a view to learning lessons and transforming them into improvements in the systems, standards and principles related to disaster relief.In the wake of the 1994 Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami, the issue of lack of effective coordination among various humanitarian actors was raised,which eventually led to reform of the UN’s humanitarian efforts. As part of this reform,the Cluster Approach was introduced to effectively coordinate efforts of humanitarian actors by categorizing them by type of service, such as provision of water and food,and construction/improvement of shelters.During the African civil wars of the late 1990s,such as in Rwanda, various NGOs provided humanitarian aid.However,some of that aid was of low quality.To prevent such a problem from arising again, NGOs took the lead in establishing the Sphere standards―a set of minimum standards for humanitarian assistance,including the minimum required amount of water per person per day and minimum required living space per person.

The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11,2011 was an historic disaster in Japan,and eventually 130 countries,regions and organizations extended assistance. In expressing its gratitude,Japan should share its experiences with the international community in order to help improve the global framework on disaster relief.

Among the issues to be considered is the lack of systems for transportation and temporary storage of relief items from abroad. Another issue is the lack of an adequate mechanism for coordination and management of assistance provided through various channels, both domestic and international as well as public and private,which overburdened the affected local authorities.In addition, it became apparent that international standards and methods that are applied globally,such as needs assessment and setting of minimum standards (for example,residential space per person or toilet),are not well understood in Japan.It is important,if deemed adequate and effective,to learn from and apply them with a view to being better prepared for future disasters.

To develop measures to further promote mutual learning as well as mutual assistance,there is a need for discussions among various organizations and individuals from many different backgrounds,including national and local governments,local residents,NGOs,corporations and researchers.
Abstract of the Commemoration Lecture: “Operation Tomodachi and After: An American’s Perspective on Lessons Learned and Lessons Applied”
Speaker: Robert D.Eldridge (Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff,Government & External Affairs (G-7) ,Marine Corps Installations Pacific))

1.Reasons behind the Success of Operation Tomodachi
U.S.Forces Japan(USFJ)was given clear missions under Operation Tomodachi ― to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief(HA/DR)activities,and to assist the Japanese government in alleviating additional deaths and human suffering.The U.S.Marine Corps(USMC)based in Okinawa has been dispatched to almost all disaster-stricken areas in its realm of responsibility,the Asia-Pacific region,to conduct HA/DR activities.Therefore,one could say that the USMC is an organization with the most excellent HA/DR capabilities in the world.

Operation Tomodachi ended in great success,even though the Japan Self-Defense Forces(JSDF)and USFJ had rarely participated in joint disaster drills held in Japan before the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit northeastern Japan.Here are some reasons behind the success of Operation Tomodachi.

First,Japanese people are often stoic people who observe social and legal rules without question,and the people of the Tohoku region are known to have a spirit of self-reliance.Also,as a developed nation,Japan has a good administrative system,excellent infrastructure,a sophisticated legal system,a strong economy,a high-quality medical system,the highly capable JSDF,and a well-functioning disaster volunteer system,which was put in place after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in early 1995.All these great assets helped prevent secondary disasters.

Second,the Japanese government made a quick and wise decision to request support from the international community,especially USFJ,unlike in the case of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake.Moreover,the JSDF had been highly valued by people in Japan as a professional organization with much experience in HA/DR,which created a favorable environment for USFJ to conduct HA/DR activities efficiently and effectively.
Third,the U.S.forward presence in Japan enabled the U.S.to collaborate with Japan to quickly respond to the disaster.During the 60-year history of Japan-U.S.security alliance,USFJ and JSDF had built strong organizational relations,although they had rarely participated jointly in disaster drills and exercises.The success of Operation Tomodachi was also attributed to the trusting personal relationships built between USFJ and JSDF officials as well as the American people’s friendship and sympathy for the Japanese people.

Finally,the government of Japan made quick and flexible decisions and did whatever was needed to be done to support Tomodachi Operation.I hope that the government of Japan will be able to take prompt action again to support the U.S. HA/DR operations when the next major earthquake strikes Japan.

2.Some Challenges during Operation Tomodachi
During Operation Tomodachi,some challenges were posed.One of them was how to weather the bitter cold winter of the Tohoku region.

The JSDF had some difficulty obtaining accurate information and sharing it.Due to the Japanese government’s and JSDF’s inadequate understanding of USFJ’s capabilities,USFJ was able to demonstrate only a small percent of its capabilities.

Another challenge was that USFJ and JSDF had different mindsets toward some problems and possible solutions.If they had discussed what actions to take,in what order to take such actions,and why such actions should be taken before taking specific actions,they would have been able to resolve problems more quickly.As the saying goes,“More haste,less speed.”On top of that,the U.S.did not understand well Japan’s overall concept of operations.This was not because Japan kept it secret,but because Japan did not recognize the need to inform the U.S.about it.Although activities were well coordinated on a daily basis,Japan’s overall concept of operations was not clear.

The last challenge was the distance.Helicopters,which do not need airports to take off and land,play an important role in relief operations.However,it would still take a few days to travel from Okinawa to Sendai by helicopter for relief operations in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake.It takes only a few hours to travel the same route by Ospreys,currently deployed at bases in Japan.

3.Preparing for the Next Major Earthquake

The next major earthquake is expected to be far beyond the Japanese government’s response capability.The Japanese government has no time to waste,and needs to create opportunities during normal times for USFJ,local governments likely to be affected by major disasters,NGOs/NPOs,and local residents to develop closer relations.Moreover,it is important for Japan and the U.S.to determine where Japan-U.S.coordination cells should be located and who should be dispatched there in times of disaster,and to prepare for collaborative operations.


Abstract of the Commemoration Lecture: “Disaster Risk Management for Private Sector:NISSAN MOTOR COMPANY”
Speaker: Tadashi Sugahara (Deputy General Manager,Corporate Risk Management,Global Internal Audit Office,NISSAN MOTOR COMPANY)

Nissan’s company-wide risk management initiative is closely related to the process of recovery from its serious financial crisis in the late 1990s.It is normal for a corporation to strive to achieve sustainable growth in its midterm plan immediately after recovering from a financial crisis.To that end,the corporation needs not only to pursue efficiency,but also to“build up its physique,”or strengthen its foundation.Against such a backdrop,we launched an earthquake preparedness initiative ― our first company-wide risk management initiative involving top management.Although it took a full three years for this initiative to be approved by top management,it was epoch-making in that,for the first time,Nissan had approved an investment in a risk management initiative that might not provide clear benefits.

Since we launched the initiative,we have experienced various incidents at home and abroad and have learned a number of lessons from each.As a result,we have upgraded our initiative from mere earthquake preparedness to BCP/BCM.

Due to our successful initiative,we were able to minimize the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 on our operations,although the impact was still considerable.As a result of the seismic hazard assessment conducted by the Japanese government after the earthquake,we recognized what we had never considered when we launched our initiative ― tsunami risk,the possibility of three successive major earthquakes along the Nankai Trough,the need to expand the scope of our supply chain management to all companies that supply us directly or indirectly,and various other issues.To further enforce BCP/BCM,we conducted simulation training on the assumption that we were hit by natural disasters,including three successive major earthquakes along the Nankai Trough and a tsunami.We continued to promote seismic reinforcement for the production sector and strengthened logistics operations to effectively respond to disasters.In addition,we made efforts to build winwin relationships with suppliers by visualizing our supply chain(creating a database from information on suppliers)to use it for a prompt initial response to disasters and developing self-diagnosis check lists.

Meanwhile,to achieve our current mid-term plan,begun in 2011,we need to expand the scope of our risk management to our global operations.We are now coping with various newly emerging problems on a global basis so that the mid-term plan will be achieved without fail.

We will support our sustainable growth by strengthening our company-wide risk management initiative.We will also strive to fulfill our responsibilities to all our stakeholders and continue improving our corporate value.


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