At the beginning of the 21st century, with the drastic revision of Japan’s disaster prevention strategy, the Chukyo region was designated one after another both as a region to strengthen earthquake disaster prevention measures related to the Tokai earthquake and a region to promote earthquake disaster prevention measures response to the Tonankai and Nankai earthquakes. For this reason, Nagoya University, which has about 20,000 members, established Nagoya University Disaster Management Office in October 2002 as a place to promote practical research that transcends the academic barriers of humanities, society, and nature in order to strengthen its own disaster prevention capabilities and to strengthen its foothold working together with the local community to improve its disaster prevention capabilities.
Since the Meiji period, our region has suffered a number of catastrophic disasters, including the Nobi Earthquake(1981), the Tonankai Earthquake(1944), and the Mikawa Earthquake(1945), which killed more than a thousand people, as well as severe storms and floods such as the Isewan Typhoon(1959) and the Tokai torrential rains(2000). When we truly hope for disaster reduction in the near future, the regrets and lessons learned from these disasters are irreplaceable, and in order to apply them to disaster reduction, it is necessary to bring together interdisciplinary and social wisdom.
In April 2003, in order to promote interdisciplinary research on natural disasters from a comprehensive standpoint, Nagoya University established the Research Center for Earthquake and Volcano Observation, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, and reorganized the Center into Earthquake and Volcano Research Center. In addition, from the viewpoint that true regional disaster prevention cannot be achieved without cooperation with local communities, the Disaster Management Office was expanded and developed to strengthen the social cooperation system in disaster prevention research.
In light of this background, the first task of the Disaster Management Office of Nagoya University is to support the development and maintenance of a safe and secure campus, and to formulate measures for the enhancement of the university’s disaster prevention and crisis management system from a professional standpoint, and to support the disaster preventive activities in peacetime and emergency activities in the event of a disaster that each department is responsible for. The second is practical research and social collaboration activities aimed at building a cooperative system for disaster prevention in local communities. We will strongly promote local disaster prevention in cooperation with disaster prevention-related researchers on campus and local disaster prevention-related organizations. The third is the promotion of new research and development based on the integration of humanities and science with the aim of realizing regional disaster prevention. We will promote collaborative projects among industry, academia, government, and citizens, with a view to building social consensus on appropriate levels of disaster prevention and the ideal form of medium- and long-term regional disaster prevention plans. The results of these practical research will be brought to fruition in regional disaster reduction studies.
April 1, 2004 Nagoya University