Despite its disaster prone situation in the world map,Japan has developed and still develop disaster management system effectively,based on three-layered national government. However, the country still suffersfrom geographical position, meteorological and topographical conditions.
Foreffective disaster prevention and preparedness, knowledge and preciseassessment of risk and vulnerabilities of earthquakes is important. Japan ismaking great strides in technology-driven solutions for disaster management,for earthquake risk assessment the government is focused on detection andmapping of undiscovered inland faults, active faults more than anything, suchas GPS and remote sensing, GIS (geographical information system, optic fibersensors are successfully implemented to monitor the “health” of criticalinfrastructures, and implemented building codes. These implementations are alsoused in mitigation, warning and prevention of earthquakes 22 Data about risk andvulnerability is computerized and this leads easy forecasting system topossible future earthquakes, identify secondary effects, modelling the economicand social impacts of earthquakes 3. However, there are some gaps and key challenges indisaster preparedness process in Japanese government such as, decision-makersdoes not take into consideration the socio-economic and demographic changes inthe country (low social information and data about homeless, mentally ill,illegal immigrants, low level of cooperation with NGOs, gender, age problemsduring evacuation etc.
); complex infrastructures are still exist ( buildings”attached to each other, or in other words, interdependent buildings), it ishard to quantify indirect costs; most of those type of buildings are privatizedand make difficult to obtain data about those buildings and model earthquakesimulations 3; building codes hasbeen changed during years, conventional building codes were only aboutdefinition of limits on stresses and member forces, performance- based design,which was very popular after the Northridge and Kobe earthquake which wassuccessful in lives, but cost-effective 23.Hundreds of buildings were infrastructure according to outdated building codes,resulting effected highly during catastrophes. In addition, population densityin seismic zones trigger to have more damages during catastrophes. Also, asmentioned in all literatures, there is a hierarchy among national, prefectureand municipal level, where national government gives less responsibilities anddecision making to local governments. Proposed solutionsare widely explained in 15;there should be efforts in human resource development and disaster managementdrills; implementation of disaster risk reduction education in communities1; construction of businesscontinuity systems across sectors (efforts by government and private sectors);disaster response and preparedness should be in high level for such aseismicity prone country; designated emergency evacuation sites and evacuationshelters should be there etc. 15.
1Disaster Prevention Day is a notable example. Within the framework “DisasterPrevention Week” has been organized since 1st September, 1982.Consists of exhibitions, drills, dissemination of information material, andaims to raise citizen awareness about disaster preparedness.