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Japan's International Contribution in the Field of ICT for Disaster Management

Natural Disaster damage in the world and Importance of Disaster Prevention/Reduction Activities

    Natural Disaster damage has amounted to 1.7 trillion dollars in terms of money, resulted in 2.9 billion victims, and claimed 1.2 million lives in the world since 2000, according to the United Nations Secretariat for International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). Sufficient disaster prevention and reduction activities should be conducted in order to reduce such disaster damage.

 

Efficient and Effective Disaster Prevention/Reduction Activities utilizing ICT

    Disaster prevention and reduction activities are conducted in the phases of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery and ICT will enable efficient and effective disaster management.
 


    The networks for ICT for disaster management can be utilized not only for disaster prevention but also for ICT infrastructure. Furthermore, ICT applications can be utilized for other fields, such as the environment protection field.  
    For this reason, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) defines its Smart Sustainable Development Model (SSDM) , which closely associates ICT for Development (ICT4D) and ICT for Disaster Management(ICT4DM). A framework (including new technologies, policies and regulations, and business models),  was studied for the optimum utilization of ICT resources in order to realize both the "development" to bridge the digital divide and the "utilization" of ICT for disaster management, and the ITU have summarized the results of the study into a report. The report introduces Japan's ICT technologies for development and disaster management.
(Reference)http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Initiatives/SSDM/Pages/default.aspx

Features of ICT in Disaster Management Field

    MIC, Japan propose the concept of "3S" as the features of ICT for Disaster Management, i.e., Seamless, Strengthen, and Smart.

1. Seamless
(1) Seamless in Time
It is important to share information seamlessly in each phase of disaster prevention, emergency response, and recovery and reconstruction.
(2) Seamless in Space
It is important to share information seamlessly between disaster-affected areas and non-disaster-affected areas and across borders.
(3) Seamless between Organizations responsible for disaster risk reduction
It is important to promote seamless information sharing proactively between organizations, including various national governments, local governments, private enterprises, and regions.

2. Strengthen
In order to strengthen ICT networks, which disseminate a disaster information network, the diversity and multiplicity of ICT is important, this includes the complementation of communication path with various communication means, such as wired communications and radio communications.

3. Smart
It is important to construct a resilient communications infrastructure by taking advantage of information collection through sensor networks, disaster prediction utilizing big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) and other new technologies.
 

International Cooperation in the field of ICT for Disaster Management

    Japan has a history of being exposed to and tremendously damaged from natural disasters extensively, and it has been taking countermeasures against natural disasters. Furthermore, Japan has been taking a variety of initiatives for the utilization of ICT systems, and it is one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of technology and operation of ICT for Disaster Management in the field of ICT for Disaster Management.  
    In order to promote the international cooperation of sharing of Japan’s technology and knowledge, MIC has organized them in the ICT Solution Map for Disaster Management. This solution map categories each phase of disaster information distribution (i.e., the phase of observation and collection, information analysis, accumulation, and delivery) horizontally and ICT layers (i.e., terminals (on-site equipment), applications, platform, and communication infrastructure) vertically, where solutions are allocated on a category-by-category basis.
 


    In response to natural disasters that occur frequently in many parts of the world, MIC utilizes this map and specifically considers the needs of partner countries, thus aiming for the international cooperation of the ICT system for Disaster Management that has been cultivated with Japan’s long-term experience and know-how.  
    In addition, MIC promote the international cooperation through policy dialogue, feasibility study, demonstrations, workshops, and human resource development seminars, and in cooperation with related organizations.
 

Recent Movement

Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (in Sendai from March 14 to 18, 2015)

1. UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction  
    The UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction is a large formal meeting of the United Nations organized to discuss international strategies for disaster risk reduction. The first meeting was held in Yokohama in 1994 and the second meeting was held in Kobe, a city affected by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, in 2005, respectively. The second meeting outcomes included the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015, an international guideline to reduce vulnerabilities to natural hazards. With the aim of developing a new framework of international disaster prevention in and after 2015, the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held in Sendai, a city affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

2. Summary of Conference Outcomes  
    More than 150,000 people from home and abroad participated in the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, and it became one of the largest UN-related international conferences held in Japan. The opening ceremony on the first day of the conference was held with the attendance of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe represented the host country and extended his greetings.  

      Prime Minister Abe announced the Sendai Cooperation Initiative for Disaster Risk Reduction for the further promotion of Japan’s contribution of the high-level segment to the disaster prevention field in the international community. He expressed that Japan would implement its cooperation and human resource development for 4 billion dollars and with 40,000 talented people, respectively in total, over the next four years. As a result of the conference, the Sendai Declaration was formulated and adopted, which included the Sendai Disaster Prevention Framework 2015-2030 as the successor framework of the HFA and the political commitment of each participating country.
(Reference)http://www.mofa.go.jp/ic/gic/page3e_000305.html

 3. Participation of Sanae Takaichi, Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications in Conference
      Minister Sanae Takaichi served as co-chair along with Senator Loren Legarda of the Republic of the Philippines at the session of Mobilizing Women’s Leadership in DRR. Minister Takaichi in her opening remarks at the session introduced activity case examples of Japan’s female firefighters and female fire-preventing club members immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake and a local woman who launched an extraordinary disaster FM station after the disaster. She emphasized the importance of women’s leadership in each phase of disaster prevention, emergency response, and recovery and reconstruction. Furthermore, she guided Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress at the opening ceremony of the conference.
 


4. Public Forum 
    MIC held the International Forum on the Use of ICT for Disaster Risk Reduction at Tohoku University. Mr. Yasuo Sakamoto, Vice-Minister for Policy Coordination (International Affairs) of MIC, attended the Forum, and gave a lecture on the importance of ICT-employed disaster prevention measures based on the lessons of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Japan’s international contribution in the disaster ICT field. Furthermore, Mr. Brahima Sanu, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (ITU-D), Mr. Said Faisal, Executive Director of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre), Mr. Toru Yamashita, Chief Corporate Advisor of NTT DATA Corporation, and Masanori Satou, Chairman of BHN Association gave lectures on their respective disaster prevention ICT initiatives. A lively discussion was held by speakers and forum participants. The number of participants including those from abroad amounted to approximately 250, and it was greatly successful.
(Reference) MIC’s presentation materialPDF, AHA Centre’s presentation materialPDF, NTT Data’s presentation materialPDF, and BHN Association’s presentation materialPDF

    The ITU-sponsored High-Level Forum on using ICTs for Disaster Risk Reduction was held in Tohoku University as well. Mr. Yasuo Sakamoto, Vice-Minister for Policy Coordination (International Affairs) of MIC, participated as a panelist, and emphasized that Japan would contribute to the disaster prevention measures of each participating country through the deployment of mobile ICT units.
    Other meetings related to disaster prevention ICT, including the Disaster Resilient ICT Symposium and a forum on the Role of Volunteer Fire Corps and Community Residents in the event of Earthquake, Tsunami and Landslide Disaster, were sponsored and held by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, respectively.

5. Various Outdoor Exhibitions 
    In the entrance plaza to the conference hall, MIC exhibited four types of vehicles that would play active roles in the restoration of communication means in times of disaster. These vehicles were an ICT car that would move to disaster-affected areas to restore communication means promptly, a large-scale in-vehicle earth station capable of providing high-speed satellite communications, a power source car owned by the Tohoku Bureau of Telecommunications, and a spatial signage projection car. The disaster response of these vehicles working together specifically attracted any participants, including those from abroad.
(Photos below: ICT car, in-vehicle earth station, power source car, and spatial signage projection car from the left.)


    Furthermore, the ICT car working together with the in-vehicle earth station provided visitors with free Wi-Fi services during the International Forum and demonstrated the operation of the ICT car that would allow phone calls using usual smartphones and telephone numbers during the disruption of the mobile phone infrastructure.
    In addition, the Sendai City Hall and the Dream Messe Miyagi demonstrated fire drills and exhibited firefighting vehicles and fire science and technology under the cooperation of fire services in order to introduce Japan’s excellent fire science and technology and disaster countermeasures with consideration of the experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

6. Various Indoor Exhibitions
    The booth for Information and Communications Technology for Disaster Risk Reduction (ICT 4 DRR) in foyer of the conference hall exhibited various devices. These devices include an L alert (disaster information sharing system), movable and deployable ICT resource unit (MDRU), multilingual area mail system, very small aperture terminal (VSAT) with a small antenna for satellite communications, and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to be loaded on small aircraft or unmanned aircraft with communications relay functions. MIC gave precise explanations about them to Forum participants from each country.

Future-related Events

7th APT Workshop on Disaster Management/Communications (WDMC-7)(in Bangkok, Thailand from April 27, 2016 to April 29, 2016)

     The objective of the Workshop is to share lessons learned and experiences for effectiveness of Early Warning Systems in Disaster Management, and exchange ideas and information about future issues.

**APT : Asia-Pacific Telecommunity

    APT is an intergovernmental organization established in Bangkok in 1979 to foster the development of telecommunication services and information infrastructure throughout the Asia-Pacific region. APT holds trainings and seminars for development of human resources, and adjusts regional policies related to radio communication etc.

(Reference) http://www.aptsec.org/2016-WDMC7

Progress of Conclusion of Memorandums of Understanding, etc. with Foreign Governments related to the Field of ICT for Disaster Risk Reduction

    MIC concluded memorandums of understanding or similar agreements with foreign governments in the ICT field for the further promotion of an international expansion of Japan’s ICT for Disaster Risk Reduction.

<Memorandums of understanding incorporating descriptions related to disaster prevention ICT>
• Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Cooperation Packages for Cooperation in the Information and Communications Field signed with the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, Republic of Indonesia (September 17, 2015)

• Joint Statement on the Cooperation in the Field of Information and Communications Technology signed with the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, the Kingdom of Thailand (April 30, 2015)

• Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of cooperation in digital network development as a matter of summit-level concern signed with the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications, the Republic of Colombia (April 3, 2015)

• Memorandum of Understanding on the Cooperation in the Field of Information and Communications signed with the Department of Science and Technology of the Republic of the Philippines (June 23, 2014)

              • Memorandum of Cooperation on Disaster-prevention ICT Systems Utilizing ISDB-T
                                                signed with the Republic of the Philippines (November, 11 2014)

Inquiry

In charge of the cooperation in the field of ICT for Disaster Management, International Cooperation Division, Global ICT Strategy Bureau, MIC, Japan

   ict4drr-japan_atmark_ml.soumu.go.jp
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