Joint Workshop with the National Institute of Disaster Management of India
PWRI and the National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management (NILIM) held a 4-day joint workshop with the National Institute of Disaster Management of India (NIDM) from Jan. 13th to 16th, 2010. Here is a report on the workshop.
India is Japan's largest ODA recipient. Although it is a country enjoying rapid economic growth, it also suffers from a very large number of disasters. Disaster management is therefore a pressing issue in India.
PWRI exchanges ideas with overseas researchers at "the Conference of Research and Development of Public Works in Asia" , held annually at Tsukuba, on such themes as effective disaster prevention and mitigation measures against natural disasters that occur frequently in Asian countries. Based on the results of the discussions held so far, we held a joint workshop with NIDM on landslide measures and disaster management.
3. Workshop Details
The presentations were held on Jan. 13th and 14th in the international conference room on the 8th floor of NILIM for the purpose of promoting a deeper mutual understanding regarding landslide disasters in the two countries and the status of the corresponding measures taken against them. And also visiting to the facilities was performed on Jan.14th after the presentations. The party moved to Shikoku to visit a landslide site on Jan. 15th and 16th, observing measures being conducted at the Zentoku Landslide site.
Indian participants presented an outline of India's legal and organizational structures for natural disaster management, current status regarding landslide disasters, and problems and initiatives thereof.
Representing the Japanese perspective, NILIM presented the current status regarding sediment-related disasters and corresponding measures against them in Japan, while PWRI outlined cases of recent landslide disasters and gave specific accounts of landslide measures.
Through these presentations, Indian and Japanese participants enjoyed an active exchange of opinions on various topics, including effective mutual technical support and procedures for promoting the coordination of research.
(2) Visit to the facility
For the Vibration laboratory, Dynamic geotechnical centrifuge laboratory, and Earth structure laboratory, we gave summaries of the experimental equipment and explained the experiments performed on it. The Indian participants actively asked various questions about the mechanism of the equipment, setting up experimental conditions, and interpretation of experimental results.
(3) Visit to the site
The Indian visitors saw lateral boring and drainage tunneling for the removal of groundwater and survey boring work, these being typical investigation and control measures conducted in Japan.
PWRI and NIDM are working on the preparation of an agreement on research cooperation relating to landslide measures. We hope to deepen our cooperation with India for the further promotion of landslide measures.
(Contact: Landslide Research Team)
CERI's 5th Engineer Exchange Forum in Otaru Held
CERI has four branch offices in the Center, the South, the North and the East of Hokkaido to promote the development and diffusion of factory floor technology and technical improvement in local areas. Each branch office is engaged in promotion of local survey and testing for R&D, understanding of local needs, diffusion of research results and developed technologies, and provision of technical guidance.
As part of these activities, the Engineer Exchange Forum is held to promote the exchange of information on technical development required in local areas, engineer exchange between industry, academic, and government, and coordination and cooperation among engineers.
The Forum, whose theme for the year was "Shiribeshi Tourism and its Supporting Road Infrastructures," was held on Dec. 1st, 2009, at Grand Park Otaru, and some 180 people from industry, academia and the government participated in the session.
The keynote speech was made by Makoto Ebina, Head of the Center for Business Creation, Otaru University of Commerce, on the theme of "Hokkaido Tourism - What People in the Tourist Industry Misunderstand". It was then followed by general lectures by Kimiyoshi Kurauchi, Assistant Manager, Otaru Development and Construction Dept., Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau, on "Road Landscapes in Shiribeshi", Yoshiaki Matsuda, Senior Researcher, Scenic Landscape Research Unit, CERI, on "Improvement of the Attractiveness of Roads in Hokkaido and its Contribution to Tourism", Akira Kasai, Team Leader, Traffic Engineering Research Team, CERI, on "Road Structures Unique to Hokkaido", and Tetsuo Suzuki, CEO of HRS Co., Ltd. on "Geotourism and Shiribeshi's Choice". These lectures were followed by a panel discussion.
A panel discussion was held on the theme "Thinking about Future Shiribeshi Tourism and its Supporting Road Infrastructure", with Akira Otsu, Associate Professor at the Department of Information and Management Science, Otaru University of Commerce, serving as coordinator.
The necessity for road development was discussed from the viewpoint of tourism and disaster prevention, the coordinator finally summing up the discussion with words to the effect that "We should pool the wits of industry, academia and the government, as we did for in Forum, to tackle the problems" and ending the discussion.
Branch offices of CERI plan to continue holding the Engineer Exchange Forum in the future as a mechanism for exchange amongst people in industry, academia and the government in various areas in Hokkaido.
(Contact: Central Hokkaido Branch Office, CERI)
ICHARM Symposium "ICHARM Quick Reports on Floods 2009"
ICHARM held an international symposium, "ICHARM Quick Reports on Floods
2009," Dec. 10th 2009. This symposium has been held every year to
be informed of recent flood disasters worldwide and make use of the information
for ICHARM's activities. This year's symposium focused on destructive flood-related
disasters that occurred in 2008 and 2009 across the world. ICHARM invited
top experts from five countries including Japan to speak about disaster
damage that their countries suffered and lessons and issues they learned
from the experience.
Prof. Liang-Chun Chen, director of the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction (NCDR) of Taiwan, was the first speaker to talk about the flood damage caused by Typhoon Morakot in Aug. 2009. He spoke about lessons learned from the event, such as improving rainfall forecasting, strengthening restoration and rehabilitation measures, and promoting better land-use practice.
Dr. Susan Ramos Espinueva, officer-in-charge of the Hydro-Meteorology Division, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), followed Prof. Chen to give a presentation on the flood caused by Typhoon Ketsana in Sep. 2009. She mentioned that there were more factors which contributed to worsening the damage, listing the insufficient run-off capacity of major rivers, rapid population growth in the vicinity of Manila, and the deforestation in upper river areas. She also spoke about possible countermeasures to prevent similar disaster events, referring to promoting proper land-use practice, flood forecasting, warning systems and disaster education.
Dr. Md Abu Taher Khandakar, chief engineer of the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), gave a presentation on cyclonic floods in Bangladesh. He said that with the national land having low-lying characteristics, Bangladesh is subject to suffer from storm surges. To protect the country from such kind of damage, he told that they need to implement countermeasures such as coastal vegetation, shelters and personnel capacity development.
Dr. Tun Lwin, retired director-general of Myanmar's Meteorology and Hydrology Department, presented on Cyclone Nargis in May 2008. He attributed the devastating damage to the fact that it hit a densely-populated, low-lying area inherently vulnerable to such a hazard. He also added that the area had had little experience with such a hazard and is not equipped with hazard maps or shelters. Dr. Lwin also pointed out an important point, saying "Disaster management is a social science and thus requires collective efforts across all disciplines and organizations."
Mr. Eiji Otsuki, director for Water Management Coordination of the River Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), was the final speaker of the symposium and presented on the flood damage in the summer of 2009 in the western part of Japan.
It was impressive that experts from developing countries regarded non-structural countermeasures such as flood forecasting, proper land-use practice and disaster education as common issues to be solved. It will become more important to promote as much non-structural measures as structural countermeasures.
Annual Report Meeting 2009 of the Kakushin Program
A group of research institutes and universities in Japan have been collaborating in global warming impact study under the Innovative Program of Climate Change Projection for the 21st Century (2007-2012), or the so-called Kakushin Program*(Fig.1). Using "the Earth Simulator," a world-class
super computer, the program aims to provide highly reliable projections
of global warming impacts. More specifically, it focuses on quantitative
projections of the impacts of global warming on extreme meteorological
events which are feared to be intensified due to global warming. Such events
include ones that are categorized as statistically extreme: for example,
typhoons and heavy rainfall events. Based on such projections, it also
conducts assessment of global warming impacts on multiple aspects of natural
disasters, such as change in damage risk to society.
The International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM) is among the institutes under this program and has been on a joint research team with the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Meteorological Research Institute (MRI), the National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management (NILIM), and the Disaster Prevention Research Institute Kyoto University (DPRI-KU). In this joint research, ICHARM has been working on projection of flood risk change on the global scale in both the near future and the end of the 21 century based on global warming impact simulation results from the atmospheric general circulation model with a 20-km spatial resolution (AGCM20) developed by JMA. ICHARM has also been conducting detailed impact assessment over specific vulnerable areas such as the Mekong River basin and mountain basins in Nepal.
Kazuhiko Fukami, team leader of the ICHARM Hydrological Research Team, attended the Kakushin Program Annual Report Meeting held on Jan. 13th 2010 to present ICHARM's research achievements during FY2009. He reported on a bias correction method for AGCM-based precipitation based on globally available rainfall data. He also spoke about possible future change in flood discharge simulated by a river discharge simulation model applicable to river basins worldwide. Participants also discussed other issues to make further progress in the program, including better collaboration among research teams and effective ways to publish research achievements.
*The KAKUSHIN Program has been launched by MEXT in order to further contribute to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and suggest scientific basis for policymakers using the Earth Simulator (ES), as a 5-year (FY2007 - 2011) initiative.
(Contact: Hydrological Research Team, ICHARM)
Participation in the 3rd Promotion Fair of Tsukubaoriginated Industry-University Cooperation in Akiba
The 3rd Promotion Fair for Tsukubaoriginated Industry-University Cooperation in Akiba (Akihabara) was held in the Convention Hall on the 2nd floor of the Akihabara Daibiru Building on Feb. 16th, 2010, under the title "Tsukuba as a Place for Testing". Initiated by Tsukuba city, this event aims to promote the diffusion of knowledge through a framework or mechanism that allows the research equipment of Research Institutes and universities to be used by external organizations and corporations in order to produce innovation. Tsukuba research and educational institutions from various fields participated in the event. At their respective booths, these participants displayed rentable research equipment to visitors, explaining how it is used and providing consultation with regarding to renting.
PWRI established the lease system of the facilities in 2001, the year when the organization became an independent administrative agency and put in place an "environment in which external organizations can use PWRI's facilities and equipment." 2010 is the 10th year since PWRI commenced renting. Lease equipment available at PWRI includes large-scale equipment whose equivalents are rarely found elsewhere in Japan, such as a 3D large-scale shaking table, a wheel running machine, and a 30 MN universal testing machine. Brochures, photos and other documents, created in order to explain the specifications and functions of these pieces of equipment and how to use them, were made available to visitors to stimulate their interest. This event also served as a good opportunity for us to make local governments and corporations in Tokyo and other areas aware of PWRI's facilities and research themes.
PWRI website regarding rentable equipment (Japanese only) -
(Contact: Facilities Management and Research Information Division)
23rd CERI Lecture Meeting Held
The 23rd CERI Lecture Meeting was held at Kaderu 2.7, Sapporo City, on
Nov. 27th, 2009. Even though it was held on a weekday, over 400 people
came to the venue to participate in the meeting.
This meeting has been held since 1986 its purpose being to present to a large number of people the results of CERI research, and topics regarding civil engineering technology in cold regions. This year's meeting marked the 23rd.
A special lecture on the theme of "Future Regional Disaster Prevention Learning from Recent Disasters" was given by Prof. Toshitaka Katada, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Gunma University, who is a specialist in social engineering relating to disasters and contributes to the promotion of administration for disaster prevention as a member of many councils and committees of the national government and local authorities. Prof. Katada analyzed present disaster prevention effort, stating, "Japanese disaster prevention, conducted primarily by the authorities based on the Disaster Measures Basic Law, has contributed to a reduction in the number of disaster victims from thousands every year in the years when the Act was established to the level of a few hundred in recent years. However, we are facing a limit with regard to the disaster prevention performed by the authorities when it comes to reducing a few hundred victims to zero". He continued, "What is necessary for future disaster prevention is the establishment of a local society where both citizens and the authorities voluntarily work against natural disasters, rather than disaster prevention being left primarily to the authorities alone". He then emphasized an important aspect of future disaster prevention, "What citizens are particularly required to do is embrace, under their own initiative, the concept of self-help with regard to disaster prevention, and to master skills and knowledge, depending on the local characteristics and conditions at the time of occurrence, that will enable them to cope with disasters".
General lectures were given by Shoji Yamashita, Team Leader, Watershed Environmental Engineering Research Team, on "Snowfall and Snow Buildup in Hokkaido - What we have learned from recent Meteorological Data and Snow Buildup Weight Meters", Yasuaki Matsuda, Senior Researcher, Regional Landscape Unit, on "Formation of Favorable Landscapes and Creation of Richness in Rural Areas in Hokkaido", and Yoshikazu Yamaguchi, Team Leader, Dam Structure Research Team, Tsukuba Central Research Institute, on "Recent Trends in Effective Use of Technology for Existing Dams".
At the CERI Panel Exhibition, also held in the hall, panels, models and brochures were displayed explaining the research results of various research teams. The exhibition was favorably received by visitors.
We greatly appreciate that so many visitors attended the Fair this year.
(Contact: Cold Region Technology Promotion Division, CERI)
English Web Pages Redesigned
PWRI's Publicity Initiative
PWRI has established the Public Relations Committee and engaged in various publicity activities, including distribution of the web magazines, preparation of periodic publications and DVD materials, and holding of events, etc.
As part of these publicity activities, we redesigned the English web pages on the PWRI official website in order to make overseas readers avail our research results and activity information.
Problems with the Previous Website
PWRI often receives requests for the establishment of cooperative relationships from overseas research institutions, and inquiries about technical matters from foreign universities and corporations. There was therefore a necessity for PWRI to enhance the information for overseas readers on the website. However, there were several problems with the previous English pages. For example, the amount of information in English was insufficient, and when readers tried to move from a lower layer in the Japanese pages to the English pages, they were directed to the top of the English pages, out of their necessary information.
Details of Redesign
To solve the above problems, we redesigned as follows:
(1) Enhancement of English information
In order to provide information in English that was almost equivalent to the information in Japanese pages, we translated all the Japanese information in the website into English, except for laws, regulations, and lectures in Japanese. All the translated texts were checked by native English speaking proofreaders as well as members of the P.R. Managerial Meeting, a sub-organization of the Public Relations Committee and researchers, who performed specialist reviews of technical terms so that the accurate information reached overseas readers.
(2) One-to-one linkage between Japanese and English Pages
Linkages between Japanese and English pages were redesigned, so that when "English" was clicked on a Japanese page (or "Japanese" was clicked on an English page), the reader was directed to the corresponding English page (or Japanese page).
Furthermore, academic papers for which the full text is only available in Japanese, we have translated their summaries into English in order to enhance the content of the English pages.
It is our intention to make further improvements to the quality and quantity of information and to further enhance ease of use of our website. We would be glad to receive readers' comments and opinions regarding the PWRI website.
(Contact: Public Relations Committee and the P.R. Managerial Meeting)