An Open Dialogue Approach to Volcano Disaster Resilience and Governance: Action Research in Japan in the Aftermath of the Mt. Ontake Eruption
Hidenroi Nakamura*,, Koshun Yamaoka**, Masae Horii**, and Ryoichi Miyamae***
*Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering, Toyama Prefectural University
5180 Kurokawa, Imizu, Toyama 939-0398, Japan
**Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
***Department of Disaster Management, Gifu Prefectural Government, Gifu, Japan
Applied trans-disciplinary research focusing on enabling open dialogue, volcano disaster resilience, and governance was conducted in Japan after the Mt. Ontake eruption in 2014 through a three-year project. The researchers and practitioners involved in this project aimed to develop methods to reinforce volcano disaster resilience and governance at the local level. A trans-disciplinary research method of clinical environmental studies was applied. First, it was diagnosed as insufficient for local actors to intentionally coordinate with each other, keeping in mind the whole picture of volcano disaster management and the diverse positionalities of those involved in it. “Ba” (a shared time and space for emerging relationships among individuals and groups to create knowledge) development, or study meetings and workshops, functioned step-by-step to share and collate problems first, and then to share ideas of actions after the project was prescribed and executed. It was evaluated that ba development was effective for open dialogue free from positionality, face-to-face relationship building, and capacity development for local actors involved in volcano disaster management. Action research revealed that through ba development, beliefs and value systems regarding the roles of local governments and universities, as well as the relationship between these two, will be transformed within Japan: Local governments will become facilitators, and universities will function as centers of trans-disciplinary research. Universities and researchers can function as producers, coordinators, and facilitators of ba development in collaboration with local government.
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