Trends in Disaster Management Measures in Post World War II in Japan
Laboratory of Urban Safety Planning, 2-032 Demeure Gobancho, 12 Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0076, Japan
This review presents historical transformation on urban planning approaches in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Urban areas in Japan have always been threated by urban conflagrations due to the high number of wooden structures. The Tokyo metropolitan area which was previously known as Edo until the Meiji Revolution in 1864. Dramatic changes in power was successful but few urban structure reformation occurred, and Tokyo was damaged by urban conflagrations in the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa Eras. The fervent wishes of Japanese urban planners centered on construction of fireproof urban areas. Such wishes accounted for little in actual policy, however, as witnessed to by the failure of Tokyo officials to construct fireproof urban architectures following the massive destruction left by World War II. In September 1959, the Ise-Wan (Ise Bay) Typhoon caused tremendous damage and left over 5,000 dead. As measures against such disasters, the Japanese government enacted the Disaster Countermeasures Basic Act in 1961. Howevers, measure against Earthquake-induced disasters were yet far from sufficient although Japan experienced hit by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. In 1964, the Niigata Earthquake clearly demonstrated modern Niigata City’s vulnerability to earthquakes despite its facilities for the National Sports Festival were equipped with modern technology, all of these facilities were destroyed. Reflecting such disasters, reexamination of measure against earthquake disaster began at coastal cities of Japan, which were constructed in post war time. This paper tracks developments in Japanese urban planning movement that the author took part in for about 20 years from 1964.