PWRI news

Message from the Chief Executive
On the Launch of the PWRI Web Magazine

Tadahiko Sakamoto, Chief Executive

We are very happy to announce the launch of the PWRI Web Magazine as a new project. The PWRI Web Magazine we are launching is intended for general readers. The purpose of this Web Magazine is to make widely known to the general public what kinds of research are carried out by PWRI and how these are used to benefit society. We are planning to provide the latest information, including the different types of research conducted by PWRI, lectures and tours of research facilities, and introduction of open-door experiments in an easy-to-understand manner. I sincerely hope that readers of the PWRI Web Magazine will feel familiar to and take interest in public works (civil engineering) and research institute.
We hope you enjoy the up-to-date PWRI information we have to offer.

(Dr. Tadahiko Sakamoto, Chief Executive, PWRI)

PWRI Lecture Held

PWRI Lecture 2007
PWRI Lecture 2007

In Oct. 10th, the PWRI Lecture 2007 was held at Nissho Hall at Toranomon, Tokyo. The lecture, which has been held to widely disseminate the results of research conducted by PWRI and topics and trends in the latest civil engineering technology to the general public, started in 1969. This year marked the 35th lecture.

This lecture took up themes of growing public concerns such as structure maintenance and global warming, and a new style was implemented which combines lectures by external experts and lectures regarding research initiatives by PWRI staff on each theme.
On the structure maintenance, Prof. Yozo Fujino from the University of Tokyo, who was awarded the Medal with a Purple Ribbon in the spring conferment of decorations of this year, and Director Fukui, PWRI commented on the concept of and issues concerning maintenance of road bridges. They also gave lectures on the actual conditions of deterioration and damage and the state of development of technologies to counter the problems.
Regarding global warming, Prof. Akimasa Sumi at the University of Tokyo and Director Takeuchi, PWRI discussed what kind of paradigm shift is necessary to address water hazards, which have been growing more serious due to the progression of warming and increased social vulnerability, and what society should do first to adapt to the new environment.
Participant questionnaire responses in terms of requests for PWRI included: "I had the idea that PWRI was engaged in work not readily understandable to the general public. This lecture made me feel that it has a closer connection to us. In the future, I hope you to continue to take action directly connected to the people." "I think it is important to put together research results into plans and disseminate them to society. In this regard PWRI's role is significant." These suggests the high expectation placed on PWRI.

We will continue to strive to make the lecture even more beneficial as an opportunity to make PWRI's excellent research results widely known from the next year on.

(Contact: Planning and Management Division)

Lectures: Longer-lasting the Life of Valuable Highway Bridges: Actual Conditions of Deterioration and Damage and the State of the Development of Countering Technologies
• Toward the Conservation of Social Infrastructure: The Concept of Maintenance
      Prof. Fujino, School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo
• Characteristics of Recent Deterioration and Damage to Highway Bridges and the State of Development of Countermeasure Technologies
      Mr. Fukui, Director of the Structures Research Group, PWRI
• Trends of Recent Earthquake Damage and Technical Challenges
      Mr. Matsuo, Director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Group,PWRI
Special lecture:
• Climate Change, the Water Cycle, and Japanese Civilization
      Mr. Takemura, President of the Foundation for Riverfront Improvement and Restoration
Lectures: Water Hazard Prevention in the Global Warming Age
• The Rapid Development of Global Warming Issues  - The Significance of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
      Prof. Sumi, Executive Director of the Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science, the University of Tokyo
• "Water Hazard Prevention for Adaptation to Warming"
      Dr. Takeuchi, Director of ICHARM,PWRI
Introduction of PWRI-developed methods:
• The Invairowan Method, an Environmentally-friendly Method to Easily Peel Old Coating Film off of Steel Structures
      Dr. Moriya, Deputy Team Leader of the Advanced Materials Research Team, Materials and Geotechnical Engineering Research Group, PWRI
• Design and Construction of Transverse Box Culverts contributing to Cost Reduction
      Mr. Ishikawa, Leader of the Structures Research Team, Cold-Region Construction Engineering Research Group, PWRI

2nd Monodzukuri Nippon Grand Award Prize Winner
Deputy Team Leader Susumu Moriya Awarded the Prime Minister's Award!

Certificate of the Prime Minister's Award
Deputy Team Leader Moriya, second from left
Deputy Team Leader Moriya, second from left
(Center, Prime Minister Abe)

On Aug. 10th, 2007, the awards ceremony for the 2nd Monodzukuri Nippon Grand Award was held at the Prime Minister's Office, where the Invairowan* Method developed by PWRI and Yamaichi Chemical Industries Co., Ltd. was acknowledged as Monodzukuri (manufacturing) to support industrial society. Dr. Moriya, Deputy Team Leader of the Advanced Materials Research Team, PWRI and Messrs. Akira Usui and Nobuhiko Arakawa of Yamaichi Chemical Industries Co., Ltd., who developed the technology, were awarded a certificate by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Monodzukuri Nippon Grand Award has been established with the goal of furthering the ambitions of the talented people who support Monodzukuri and informing society about their existence in order to develop and pass on to future generations the Monodzukuri that has supported Japan's industry and culture.
The system gives awards in a balanced manner to those key personnel who sustain the core of Monodzukuri, the skilled personnel who support traditional arts, and the young personnel who are resposible for the specifics. Additionally, because teamwork is one of Japan's key strengths, groups are also eligible to receive an award. In this second award ceremony, 45 individuals from 20 entries (including MLIT-related awards, which accounted for 14 individuals from seven entries) received the Prime Minister's award.

*Invairowan: Enviro-one = Environment + one

(Contact: General Affairs Division)

ARRC Open Experiment
Fish Catching Experiment by Lifting Stones

Fish swimming between stones
Fish swimming between stones
Fish swimming between stones
Stones linked with wires lifted by heavy equipment
Stones linked with wires lifted by heavy equipment
Caught fish checked on the spot. I wonder what kinds of fish were there!
Caught fish checked on the spot.
I wonder what kinds of fish were there!

Stones in different sizes are often found on the riverbanks in the middlestream of a river. Spaces between the stones, or gaps, have been believed to provide habitats for fish such as Japanese eel and crucian carps. In actual river works, holes are sometimes made in revetments and stones arranged along riverbanks. However, no research has been reported on what kinds of fish use the gaps in what way, and the effects of these holes were unknown. Accordingly, the Aqua Restoration Research Center (ARRC) decided to use an experimental stream where fish can live to find out by way of an experiment how much of the spaces between stones are used by fish and demonstrate the results to people engaged in river works.
The sizes of stones were either 300 mm or 100 mm in diameter and the individual stones were chain-linked. As the stones were lifted with heavy equipment, the fish in the gaps fell in a net installed below the stones in advance, thereby catching all fish. In the experiment, we had the fish checked on the spot and explained that the types of inhabiting fish varied depending on the size of the stone. Fifty-two people participated in the experiment, which was originally set at forty participants, and we felt that this demonstration project was largely successful.

Generally, results achieved by researchers like us are published in the form of papers, where phenomena transformed into diagrams, however accurate, tend to be confined to knowledge that lacks realism. Open experiment is significant in that it provides an understanding and conviction through experience, and the ARRC considers it an effective method to disseminate achievements in an easy-to-understand manner. We intend to come up with more ingenious ways of publishing in order to disseminate our achievements.

(Contact: Aqua Restoration Research Center)

Research Cooperation Arrangement Concluded with the Institute of Geography, Romanian Academy

Location of Romania
Location of Romania
Center of Bucharest, Romania's capital city
Center of Bucharest, Romania's capital city
Example of field survey site (Siriu Dam reservoir landslide)
Example of field survey site
(Siriu Dam reservoir landslide)

On Sep. 20th, the Institute of Geography, Romanian Academy and PWRI entered into an agreement in the Romanian capital of Bucharest concerning cooperation in landslide research and other topics.

In Japan, Romania is considered rather foreign. But the beautiful country, which is filled with an old townscape tinged with the flavor of the Middle Ages and a beautiful natural environment, is also the birthplace of the legend of Dracula. Behind Bucharest loom the Carpathian Mountains (a range of 2,000 meter high mountains) with geologically weak soil, where torrential rains and earthquakes have caused sediment-related disasters such as landslides, slope failures and mudflows. The Institute of Geography, Romanian Academy conducts research on sediment-related disasters including the risks of landslide in view of the topography and geology. The agreement that has been concluded is intended to develop the technologies to forecast the falling of landslide and evaluate the risks of sediment-related disasters through the research exchange between the two institutes.

Along with the agreement signing ceremony, a field survey of sediment-related disasters was conducted in the Carpathian Mountains. Sites of landslide generated in sandy soil and mudflow disaster that occurred in marl* ground, which seldom found in Japan, were investigated. We were able to learn the actual conditions of sediment-related disasters in Romania.

Going forward, the two institutes will join hands to engage in collaborative research, thereby contributing to the reduction of landslide damage in both countries.

* Marl: Rock with 25 to 75 percent carbonate mineral content made of consolidated fine calcareous sediment with high clay content; characterized by vulnerability to decomposition and low permeability.

(Contact: Landslide Research Team)

Master's Course "Water-related Risk Management Course of Disaster Management Policy Program" Launched

October 4th, 2007 Group photo from the Opening Ceremony
October 4th, 2007 Group photo from the Opening Ceremony
Address by Mr. Mirta Baral (Nepal), the trainee representative
Address by Mr. Mirta Baral (Nepal),
the trainee representative

ICHARM* opened a new master's course on Water-related Risk Management Course of Disaster Management Policy Program from 2007 and started lectures on Oct.9th, 2007. This was coordinated with the week that includes Oct.10th, the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction.
Water-related disasters including floods are occurring everywhere around the world. In 2007, too, has seen major floods cause serious damage in the southern part of China, England, India, Nepal, Africa, and other places. Such damage indicates how vulnerable modern society is to water-related disasters. The external forces that cause these disasters are expected to become even more serious in the future because of climate change.
To address these situations, the training of flood experts in developing countries, in which disasters are frequent, is a pressing issue. These experts must acquire extensive knowledge needed for disaster management regarding preparations for disasters under normal circumstances and recovery and restoration in the event of disaster from a technical and socio-scientific viewpoint.
To meet this demand, ICHARM worked with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) to found the above-mentioned master's course. The trainees will engage in learning and research activities based at ICHARM through lectures, exercises, field practice and individual training. ICHARM is committed providing a better learning environment.

Course established:
Master's Course "Water-related Risk Management Course of Disaster Management Policy Program"

• Problem-solving training that improves both the capabilities to present solutions to problems facing the trainees' individual countries as well as each trainee's knowledge
• Training that allows trainees to earn a master's degree in one year
• Training with a focus on practical work rather than theory

Number of participants in 2007
11 in total
(From Bangladesh, China, India, Philippines, Nepal and Japan)

* ICHARM : International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management under the auspices of UNESCO

(Contact: International Technical Exchange Team, ICHARM)