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Campus Now

Early Spring Issue (Apr. 2014)

SPECIAL REPORT

Waseda’s support for reconstruction

—3 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake—

3 years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Reconstruction is still lagging behind schedule.
From immediately after the earthquake, Waseda University has considered what can and must be done for regional reconstruction and a brighter future. Waseda has conducted a variety of support activities both inside and outside our school.
In this article, we will review past activities, discuss recovery from an academic perspective, and convey our university’s position towards disaster.

A Study on the Reconstruction

Academism for reconstruction and the future

1. Reconstruction Research Project for Medical Care & Health

Research Leader:
Professor Yoichi Nakao, Faculty of Science and Engineering
Research Theme:
Survey and research of needs for scientific/social response to prevent health hazards caused by major earthquakes

2. Reconstruction Research Project for Infrastructure & Disaster-Preparedness

Research Leader:
Professor Tomoya Shibayama, Faculty of Science and Engineering
Research Theme:
Research on reconstruction strategy and disaster analysis for the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
Cooperating Researcher:
Professor Kazuo Kamura, Faculty of Science and Engineering
Research Theme:
Environmental diagnosis for reconstruction/recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and recommendations for countermeasure technology
Cooperating Researcher:
Professor Shunji Matsuoka, Faculty of International Research and Education
Research Theme:
Research related to causes, effects, measures and restoration for complex mega disasters; Nuclear disaster and risk governance

3. Reconstruction Research Project for Urban Planning & Social Systems

Research Leader:
Professor Takeshi Nakagawa, Faculty of Science and Engineering
Research Theme:
Integrated research on futuristic reconstruction housing and urban planning in harmony with natural ideology learned from cultural heritage
Cooperating Researcher:
Professor Michitaro Urakawa, Faculty of Law
Research Theme:
Waseda University Reconstruction Support Judicial Project for Great East Japan Earthquake
Cooperating Researcher:
Professor Osamu Soda, Faculty of Social Sciences
Research Theme:
Reconstruction of a new global social system with the power to recover from large-scale disaster

On May 11, 2011, Waseda University established the Institute for Research on Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake (Director Yoshiaki Fukazawa; Senior Executive Director for Research Promotion) as a mid/long-term research project which assembles wisdom in order to aid reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake. The center is composed of 3 projects and 7 themes. In addition to contributing to reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, focus is placed on the important research theme of contributing to the minimization of damage caused by similar disasters in other regions. The center has received support from the Waseda Supporters Club and our university has provided grants with an annual maximum of 20 million yen over a 3-year period. In this article, we will reflect on the past 3 years while considering research results and future themes.
http://www.waseda.jp/rps/fas/research-expenses/fukkou.html

We spoke with Project Leaders regarding research contents and reports of results.

Reconstruction Research Project for Medical Care & Health

Focusing on the future after reconstruction and evaluating the long-term impact of environmental pollutants

Yoichi Nakao
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Professor Shigetaka Asano played a leading role in establishing this research project, which has conducted multidisciplinary research in 4 groups: 1) formation of communities and establishment of appropriate risk communication in the event of a disaster, 2) establishment of a disaster medical system and promotion of international cooperation, 3) development of effective devices for use in disasters, and 4) clarification of the action mechanism for the health impact of hazardous chemicals dispersed during a disaster, and development of treatment methods.

I gathered and analyzed soil samples from coastal regions hit by the tsunami. For a portion of these samples, I performed survey and research on how living organisms are impacted by the dispersion of environmental pollutants. In particular, this field has yet to establish of an appropriate evaluation method for the long-term effect of chemical substances. Diligent surveys and testings are required in order to define objective standards. Clarification for the causal relationship between health and chemical substances spreading in the environment will make it possible to establish prevention and treatment measures. It will also lead to progress in other fields such as the development of sensing devices intended especially for chemical substances which impact health.

In the future, we must transmit project results as innovations, and lead them to social contribution in the medical field in Japan and the Asian region. I will focus on the future after reconstruction and continue to conduct diligent research which spans multiple fields.

Reconstruction Research Project for Infrastructure & Disaster-Preparedness

Research on reconstruction strategy and disaster analysis for the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Tomoya Shibayama
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

In this project, we propose the revision of disaster-preparedness plans. In addition to reassessing the estimated scale of tsunami, we are thinking beyond those estimated values and creating an evacuation plan to enable response in the event of a tsunami that exceeds expected values. Furthermore, we have clarified the overflow phenomenon for tsunami seawalls and reviewed measures to prevent scouring. We then search for ways to combine reliable structures and tide-water control forests that provide tenacious resistance in the event of a tsunami. On the other hand, the tsunami in Tohoku clearly showed that it was difficult to protect residential areas when using only disaster-prevention structures. Therefore, we are developing a numerical simulation model for revision of evacuation plans and formulation of non-structural countermeasures. Through this model, we propose methods for selecting specific emergency evacuation routes.

When devising responses to composite disasters, there is a need for systems which promote cooperation among researchers and form composite fields. By maintaining close contact with the international network of disaster researchers which we have established in Canada, England, Iran, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Bhutan, we seek to establish the Waseda University Science and Engineering as an international disaster research center for the themes of 1) disaster management for structures and 2) disaster management for composite structures. Furthermore, we seek to create a package of research results for developments including a forecasting program for tsunami and storm surges, a flow forecasting program for areas around structures, onsite measurement, and methods for hydraulics model tests. We will then apply this package to disasters throughout the world and heighten the versatility of our developments.

Reconstruction Research Project for Urban Planning & Social Systems

Considering lifestyles in which individuals and the community exist in harmony with nature

Takeshi Nakagawa
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

This research project seeks to establish methods for urban/village planning required for the reconstruction and renewal of communities in the disaster area. We also work to find harmonious solutions for regional economy and legal issues. Research is done through cooperation among an Urban/Architecture Team, a Sociology Team, and a Legal Team.

My team’s results have been summarized in Philosophy of Reconstruction and Conservation for Heritage Sites (April 2012) and Introducing Cultural Elements to Urban Reconstruction (October 2013), part of the series Waseda University Booklet “Thinking Post-Quake.” Particular attention was given to the role fulfilled by traditional performance art, cultural properties and nature during recovery in Otsuchi Town, Iwate Prefecture. Architectural students from Waseda University and Chinese universities entered Otsuchi Town and cooperated with the local government and citizens to hold repeated hearings and comparative surveys. These research activities led to the significant result of holding workshops in May 2012 and May 2013 to discuss possible solutions to issues faced by the town. Another noteworthy achievement is the presentation of results conducted by the faculty in Morioka in November 2013.

If I were to state my current ideas without fear of being misunderstood, earthquake recovery does not start from increasing the height of seawalls from 10 meters to 15 meters or rebuilding the regional economic infrastructure. Instead, recovery is possible by accepting the blessings of nature, grappling with them, and establishing a harmonious lifestyle with nature. This lifestyle is used as the basis for communities and individuals, and as a core of cultural creativity and safety.

We also discussed research themes with cooperating researchers.

Kazuo Kamura
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Environmental diagnosis for reconstruction/recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and recommendations for countermeasure technology

We have searched for ways in which research can contribute to solving the various environmental issues and environmental damage that arise from major earthquakes. Currently, in order to restore farmland damaged by saltwater from tsunami, we are developing a low-cost, low-labor purification method with small environmental loads, using volcanic ash soil dispersed throughout the Tohoku region. This technology can also be applied to dry regions throughout the world which suffer from salt damage. We are working to refine our technology further to ensure its global usefulness.

Shunji Matsuoka
Professor, Faculty of International Research and Education

Research related to causes, effects, measures and restoration for complex mega disasters; Nuclear disaster and risk governance

The main theme of our academic joint research is nuclear safety regulations and recovery for Fukushima. We learned by interacting with people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and resulting Fukushima nuclear accident, considering the form of nuclear policy, reconstruction policy and university education/research. In the future, we will continue to connect Waseda University and Fukushima recovery through survey and research. Through the creation of social innovation which utilizes diversity, we plan to continue researching the form of a sustainable society.

Michitaro Urakawa
Professor, Faculty of Law

Waseda University Reconstruction Support Judicial Project for Great East Japan Earthquake

This project was established based on volunteer participation from instructors at the Faculty of Law. Through close cooperation with the office in Namie Town of Fukushima Prefecture, we support surveys for the condition of citizens affected by the disaster and filing of group lawsuits for an increase in consolation payments. Students from the Waseda Law School also contribute greatly to the project by fulfilling a role in clinical law. In the future, we will continue to cooperate with other municipalities impacted by the disaster and long-term support to disaster victims for new legal issues which arise as reconstruction continues.

Osamu Soda
Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences

Reconstruction of a new global social system with the power to recover from large-scale disaster

In a global society, there is a limit to the power of regional municipalities and national government when it comes to securing reconstruction power from large disasters. Financial support, personnel and know-how from overseas are essential. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, regions based on the farming, forestry and fishery industries are receiving a variety of support including projects for overseas exchange, verification seminars on reconstruction, medical support, donation of machinery used in the farming and fishery industry, and inspections of the marine product industry. By continuing such participant observation and verifying the process until support elements form reconstruction results, we seek to establish a global model for reconstruction policy.

University faculty members from various research fields submitted the following essays on the theme of reconstruction.

[Reconstruction and gender]

Akiko Murata
Professor, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Mutual support for each other’s life--Community-building for reconstruction

For the last 2 years, I have served as Research Leader for the “Community-Building by Regional Coordinators for Reconstruction--From the Perspective of Realizing a Gender-Equal Society,” a research project consigned by the Fukushima Gender Equality Centre. Through the project, I have been involved in reconstruction support from the perspectives of gender equality, gender, adult education (my area of expertise) and support for interpersonal aid occupations. I have strongly felt a discriminatory view cast on Fukushima, as well as a trend of forgetting current conditions in Fukushima when attempting to return to daily life. Giving consideration to such matters is an important theme. On the other hand, I encountered the philosophy of “mutual support for each other’s life” which was constantly raised by people working daily in Fukushima today. Such people include municipal government employees, health nurses, staff at facilities such as the Gender Equality Centre, support staff from groups such as women’s organizations, and coordinators in the regional community. Based on my conversations with such individuals, I constantly ponder how our university and researchers should respond to the expressed needs.

[Reconstruction and emotional care]

Keiko Honda
Professor, Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences

Post-disaster emotional care—Together with the hearts of children affected by disaster

Today, there is a shift from direct support to continual support for living a healthy life despite suffering from lingering trauma from the disaster. Amidst such conditions, we provide support to volunteer staff visiting temporary housing, as well as support to teachers who work at schools in the disaster area and must prevent and respond to a variety of issues involving children. People working toward reconstruction display wonderful energy and ideas. However, a gap is growing between people who have been left behind. There is an increase of interpersonal disputes in temporary housing, delinquency among children, and crime.

Together with graduate students from my laboratory, I hold training once every 1 to 3 months to improve the listening ability of volunteer staff. We also conduct case reviews and propose specific support methods. Another part of our research is visiting schools to hold training for faculty and staff members. We continue to study how to listen to children who are struggling to deal with stress, and are working to develop specific methods for responding to children who lash out with anger.

[Reconstruction and marketing]

Hisashi Takei
Professor, Faculty of Commerce

Consumption which approaches existence

The 3-year recovery plan established by Miyagi Prefecture has ended. During that time, several students born in Tohoku have completed my seminar. Graduates and many other people are working in various professions in Tohoku. Last summer, after I proposed several books for class and summarized reports, I found that 2 students born in Sendai City selected books related to earthquakes. Their deep compassion for their hometown and their spirit of cooperation truly exceed our imagination.

Research is based on objectification. Through consumption, people connect their present, past and future, and recognize their existence. For example, one person may have dry cleaning performed for a kimono belt which belonged to a relative who died in the disaster in order to keep it as a memento. Friends may go to karaoke to rejoice over their survival and refresh themselves. In order to restore the daily life of people living in the disaster area, we must provide support with the warmth of compassion. I believe that support for Tohoku must be filled with the feeling of prayer.

Open courses which consider reconstruction from a variety of angles

In order to enable Waseda University students to consider reconstruction from multiple perspectives including politics, economics, law, science and health, the Open Education Center has established “From Waseda University/Thinking about Japan in the Future” (2012) and “Community Building for Earthquake Recovery: Course offered by JA Kyosai” (2012/2013) and more as courses open to all students.

Publishing the Waseda University Booklet “Thinking Post-Quake”

The Waseda University Office for Aiding Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake donated 33 completed volumes of the Waseda University Booklet “Thinking Post-Quake” to the approximately 580 high schools (including vocational high schools and schools for special needs education) in the five affected prefectures (Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki). The series was published to aid in reconstruction of the affected areas from the Great East Japan Earthquake by broadly sharing with society the wisdom, contemplation and activities gained through various research and support projects which were headed by Waseda University students, faculty and staff.

Inquiries: Waseda University Press
TEL:03-3203-1551 http://www.waseda-up.co.jp/