JDR Vol.16 No.6 pp. 936-941
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2021.p0936


A Fundamental Vulnerability: Contributions from Population Studies

Tadashi Nakasu

College of Population Studies, Chulalongkorn University
Visid Prachuabmoh Building, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Corresponding author

May 12, 2021
July 30, 2021
September 15, 2021
population changes, disaster recovery, aging, disaster lessons

Abundant studies have researched the economic and social shifts associated with demographic transitions. There have also been many studies on the essentials of disaster preparedness and recovery. However, few studies have investigated these factors in combination. Therefore, this study explored how demographic shifts such as a decreasing and aging population impact disaster recovery and efforts to build a sustainable society. It examined coastal communities in Japan’s Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures that were affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (GEJET) from the perspective of two disaster-recovery theories: (1) Bates and Peacock argued that disaster recovery continues or accelerates a community’s pre-disaster trends [1, 2]; and (2) Hirose argued that disaster-recovery efficacy depends on the disaster scale, outside aid, and community strength [3]. This study’s analyses support the first theory while stating that a community’s pre-disaster demographic and social trends have a more significant effect on disaster recovery success than the disaster scale and outside aid considering the second theory. The study reiterates that disaster recovery begins before a disaster, and demographic variables should affect plans to build a sustainable society. Finally, this note shows how the lessons learned from the 2011 GEJET disaster can provide the insights to improve disaster risk management in societies with declining and aging populations.

Cite this article as:
T. Nakasu, “A Fundamental Vulnerability: Contributions from Population Studies,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.16 No.6, pp. 936-941, 2021.
Data files:
  1. [1] F. L. Bates, “Disasters, social change and development,” F. L. Bates (Ed.), “Recovery, Change and Development: A Longitudinal Study of the 1976 Guatemalan Earthquake,” pp. 1-36, University of Georgia Press, 1982.
  2. [2] F. L. Bates and W. G. Peacock, “Living conditions, disasters and development: An approach to cross-cultural comparisons,” University of Georgia Press, 2008.
  3. [3] H. Hirose, “Community Reconstruction and Functional Change Following a Disaster,” DRC Preliminary Papers, No.74, 1982.
  4. [4] F. L. Bates et al., “The social and psychological consequences of a natural disaster: a longitudinal study of Hurricane Audrey,” National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, 1963.
  5. [5] T. Nakasu, “Disaster Recovery Begins before the Disaster,” Urban Issues, Vol.100, No.12, pp. 86-92, 2009 (in Japanese).
  6. [6] T. Mizutani, “The Process of Population Change, Migration, and Recovery Caused by Disaster,” Geographical Review, Vol.62, A-3, pp. 208-224, 1989 (in Japanese).
  7. [7] T. Nakasu, “Disaster Recovery of an Urban Area – A Comparative Study between Nagoya City and New Orleans –,” Report of NIED, Vol.75, pp. 69-82, 2009 (in Japanese).
  8. [8] T. Nakasu, S. Tanaka, and K. Miyake, “Recovery Process and Local Society After the Post Tsunami,” 66th Annual Meeting of Japan Society of Civil Engineering, 2011 (in Japanese).
  9. [9] T. Nakasu and K. Miyake, “A Comparative Study of Disaster Recovery Process,” 5th Int. Conf. Flood Management (ICFM5), 2011 (in Japanese).
  10. [10] N. Shuto and K. Fujima, “A Short History of Tsunami Research and Countermeasures in Japan,” Proc. of the Japan Academy, Series B, Physical and Biological Sciences, Vol.85, No.8, pp. 267-275, 2009 (in Japanese).
  11. [11] F. Imamura et al., “History of relocation to higher ground by tsunami and survey of housing relocation after relocation in Toni Hongo, Kamaishi City,” Disaster Control Research Center, Tohoku University, Tsunami Engineering Research Report, No.8, pp. 145-163, 1991 (in Japanese).
  12. [12] Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, Ministry of Construction, “Survey Report of Chilean Earthquake Tsunami,” Coastal Topography and Chilean Earthquake Tsunami, 1961 (in Japanese).
  13. [13] S. Koshimura, “Highland Relocation and Land Use Regulation as Tsunami Disaster Prevention Measures,” Natural Hazards Science, Vol.25, No.2, pp. 142-145, 2006 (in Japanese).
  14. [14] Y. Shiozaki, E, Nishikawa, and T. Deguchi, “Disaster Recovery Guide: Lessons Learnt from Japan and the World,” Hyogo Prefecture Disaster Recovery Research Center, Disaster Recovery Guide Editorial committee (Ed.), Creates Kamogawa, 2007 (in Japanese).
  15. [15] T. Nakasu and V. Prachuabmoh, “Disaster Resilience in an Aging Society,” Proc. of the 6th Int. Symp. on Environmental Sociology in East Asia (ISESEA-6), 2017.
  16. [16] Y. Okada, “The Great East Japan Earthquake: Lessons on Reconstruction from Japan’s Past Earthquake,” Mizuho Research Paper, No.29, 2011 (in Japanese).
  17. [17] Okushiri Town, “The Vision of Okusiri’s Population,” 2016 (in Japanese).
  18. [18] Y. Okada, “Difficulties of Okushiri Town for 20 Years after the Tsunami Disaster,” Mizuho Research Institute, (in Japanese) [accessed October 18, 2016]
  19. [19] Iwate Survey of Statistics Section, “Iwate Statistics Information,” (in Japanese) [accessed April 10, 2021]
  20. [20] Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), “What is the human cost of natural disasters? (1994–2013),” Cred Crunch Newsletter, No.38, 2015.
  21. [21] Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC), “Natural Disaster Data Book 2015: An Analytical Overview,” 2015.
  22. [22] K. Oizumi, “Aging Asia: When the Composition of Prosperity Changes,” Chuokoron-Shinsha, 2017 (in Japanese).
  23. [23] Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, “White Paper on Disaster Management 2015,” [accessed September 10, 2015]
  24. [24] United Nations, Department of Economic, and Social Affairs, Population Division, “World Population Ageing 2015,” 2015.
  25. [25] United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030,” United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015.
  26. [26] United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, “Build Back Better,” Terminology, [accessed July 10, 2021]

*This site is desgined based on HTML5 and CSS3 for modern browsers, e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera.

Last updated on Jul. 12, 2024