Disaster Prevention Research

Challenges for Construction of Social Technology for Achieving Zero Victims in a Disaster

The Research Center for Disaster in the Extended Tokyo Metropolitan Area was established to research mechanisms of natural disasters and methodologies for disaster prevention and mitigation, utilizing regional and geographical characteristics of Gunma Prefecture, which is located in the Extended Tokyo Metropolitan Area. The main research themes are as follows:

Risk management for a safe and secure society

Disaster prevention education

Improvement of disaster prevention in the geosphere and hydrosphere

Practice of disaster prevention strategies

On 11 March 2011, the tsunami that followed the Great East Earthquake caused massive widespread damage to the eastern coastal regions in Japan, claiming approximately 19,000 lives.

In the city of Kamaishi, which also suffered serious damage with more than 1,000 lives lost, Disaster Social Engineering Laboratory had been conducting tsunami disaster prevention education in elementary and junior high schools for several years, which effectively saved many school-age children from this tsunami. The story of the successful evacuation due to disaster prevention education, keeping the number of victims among the students to almost zero, came to be known as “the miracle of Kamaishi.”

Research 1
Effects of Lessons in Tsunami Survival and Actual Conditions during the Great East Japan Earthquake in Kamaishi

The Tohoku District has suffered heavy damage by tsunami many times in the past, and there were lessons on how to survive tsunami based on residents’ experiences. We examined the effect of these lessons during the Great East Japan Earthquake with the following focuses: 1) How many residents were able to evacuate from the tsunami according to past lessons? 2) Could residents who had evacuated according to the lessons survive the tsunami?

Research 2
Study on Risk Image of Floods and Its Effect On Evacuation Behavior

When the water level of a river rises and evacuation is deemed necessary, the authorities issue an evacuation order. However, the evacuation rate of residents is said to be fairly low. Probably, residents think that a flood will not be dangerous, so they don’t evacuate in spite of the hazardous situation. In this study, we carried out a questionnaire survey among residents of the city of Kiryu, which suffered heavy damage from flooding caused by Typhoon Kathleen in 1947, and we analyzed the actual status of residents’ image of flood risk and its effect on their evacuation behavior.

Research 3
Effect Measurement of Landslides and Slope Failure Prevention Work by the Finite Element Method

In order to achieve a reduction in landslide and slope failures, local governments should construct countermeasure structures in particularly high risk areas beforehand. We are developing a computer simulation methodology with an elasto-plastic constitutive model for measuring the effect of disaster prevention works.