Initial Responses of the Government of Japan to the Great East Japan Earthquake (Earthquake and Tsunami) and Lessons Learned from Them
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)
2-1-3 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8918, Japan
Various lessons regarding initial and emergency responses to huge disasters in future can be derived from the processes of establishing and managing the Government’s Extreme Disaster Management Headquarters for the Great East Japan Earthquake. Huge disasters (L2) that might occur at a very low frequency and could cause tremendous damage can be controlled only to a limited extent by constructing infrastructure alone. In addition, because the picture of disasters that occur in different manners cannot be fixed, it is necessary to accumulate various infrastructural and non-infrastructural measures in the order of effectiveness from the standpoint of disaster risk reduction to accept and mitigate damage. Supports to disaster-affected people such as early recovery, evacuation, rescue, emergency medical life-saving, and emergency supplies in initial responses should be strengthened to promptly respond to disasters. For that purpose, it is important to establish a system that allows the government or prefectures to temporarily take disaster emergency measures when prefectures or municipalities lose administrative functions, formulate a system for the government to respond to huge disasters, and improve disaster information functionality, conduct drills and prepare for rehabilitation and reconstruction.
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