Megaquake: How Japan and the World Should Respond

Megaquake: How Japan and the World Should Respond

Megaquake: How Japan and the World Should Respond

Megaquake: How Japan and the World Should Respond

Synopsis

In March 2011 a magnitude 9 earthquake struck off the eastern coast of northern Japan, triggering a massive tsunami and damaging a nearby nuclear reactor. Nearly twenty thousand people were killed or went missing, and many areas have yet to rebuild. Megaquake: How Japan and the World Should Respond, authored by the prolific and award-winning writer Tetsuo Takashima five years before this disaster, appears here for the first time in English.

This edition of Megaquake has been updated with additional information, including a new chapter coauthored by Robert D. Eldridge, translator and one of the key American officials involved in the response to the 2011 earthquake. Both Takashima and Eldridge experienced the 1995 Kobe earthquake and combined their skills and insights to produce this English-language edition to offer the lessons Japan has learned over the centuries, having endured a disproportionate share of disasters. Takashima and Eldridge hope to educate the international community about how to prepare for and respond to the next big Japanese earthquake, which is expected to far exceed the 2011 quake in terms of lives lost, destruction of infrastructure, and worldwide economic impact.

Excerpt

I first met the author, Takashima Tetsuo, in May 2007. He and I were speakers in a course taught at the Osaka University School of International Public Policy (Ōsaka Daigaku Kokusai Kōkyō Seisaku Kenkyūka). I had co-founded the course in the fall of 2001 with a colleague, Professor Hoshino Toshiya, and Maj. Gen. Kasahara Naoki of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, or GSDF (Rikujō Jieitai), the then director of the Osaka Provincial Liaison Office (Ōsaka Chihō Renraku Honbu), which represents the interests of all three services making up the Self-Defense Forces, or SDF (Jieitai) in Osaka Prefecture. I did not know of Takashima at that point, other than the fact that his novel, Midonaito iiguru (Midnight eagle)— about the race to secure a tactical nuclear weapon that was loaded on a Japan-based American stealth bomber that had crashed in the Japan Alps in winter—had been turned into a movie earlier that year. Since one of the main characters in the movie was a soldier in the GSDF, my SDF counterparts, who arranged to invite Takashima to the class, were particularly excited to welcome him.

The purpose of the pioneer course, known as the Workshop on International Security, or WINS (Kokusai Anzen Hōshō Waakushoppu), was to have leading experts, government officials, and military officers brief and discuss aspects of international or regional security issues with graduate students and SDF personnel attending the graduate program of the National Defense Academy (Bōei Daigakkō). The course included a series of on-site visits—to a nuclear reactor in Fukui Prefecture, the Disaster Reduction Museum (Hito to Mirai Bōsai Sentaa) in Kobe, and various SDF bases and facilities—and it concluded with a two- to three-day retreat to Camp Itami for all-day . . .

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