Study on Disaster Emergency Provisions in the Constitution of Japan as a Measure Against Huge Disasters – A Discussion Based on Initial and Emergency Responses to the Great East Japan Earthquake (Earthquake and Tsunami) –
Akira Kotaki*,† and Fumio Takeda**
*Research Institute of Disaster Management and Emergency Medical System, Kokushikan University
7-3-1 Nagayama, Tama-City, Tokyo 206-0025, Japan
**National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan
The Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred on March 11, 2011, was the greatest disaster in Japan since World War II. The establishment and operation of the Extreme Disaster Management Headquarters left various lessons about initial and emergency responses against future huge disasters. It is hoped that these lessons will be heeded in measures against huge disasters in Japan in the future. Based on this recognition, this study examines a specific direction in the discussion on introducing Disaster Emergency Provisions in the Constitution of Japan with a view toward huge disasters, such as Tokyo Inland Earthquake and Nankai Trough Earthquake. From the viewpoint of responses against huge disasters, there is a need to discuss what kind of Disaster Emergency Provisions are necessary in order to protect the people from huge disasters that were not considered when the Constitution of Japan was enacted. These provisions should possess a certain specificity, comprehensiveness, and flexibility, and address response measures when there is no time to await legislation by an extraordinary session of the Diet or when such measures cannot be addressed by legislation enacted during normal times. We hope that these lessons culled from initial and emergency responses to the Great East Japan Earthquake will further the discussion on special Constitutional rules on the relationship between the Cabinet and Diet or the national and local governments.
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