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[Waseda University Public Relations Magazine "Northwest Wind" Special Project]
Round-Table Discussion among Scientists

Responsibility of science, mission of Waseda (first installment)

The unprecedented large-scale disaster of the Great East Japan Earthquake has also led to questions regarding the form of research and education at universities. In order to conduct research which meets the rapidly changing needs of society, the Waseda University Faculty of Science and Engineering utilizes the spirit of innovation and scale merit of a comprehensive science university which conducts research in a variety of scientific fields. After experiencing such a large-scale disaster, what is expected of advanced science? What actions should be taken? In order to examine such questions, Senior Dean Hiroshi Yamakawa moderated a discussion among three researchers.

(*Printed in the 2011 editions of the Waseda University Public Relations Magazine "Northwest Wind." Readers of Northwest Wind should begin reading from the second installment.)

Participants

Hiroshi Yamakawa
Senior Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering
Professor, Modern Mechanical Engineering Course, Graduate School of Creative Science and Engineering / Department of Modern Mechanical Engineering, School of Creative Science and Engineering

In 1970, graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Department at the School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. In 1975, completed the Doctoral Program of the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. Has served as Professor at the School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University, since 1983. Appointed as Dean of the School of Creative Science and Engineering in 2007. Areas of expertise include design engineering, structural control and vibration, and structural analysis/optimization.
Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, as Senior Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, has worked to unify faculty projects related to earthquake disaster. Actively transmits research results related to disaster prevention, nuclear power, energy conservation and reconstruction.
In particular, the Nishi-Waseda Campus where the Faculty of Science and Engineering is located has set a goal of reducing peak energy consumption by 20% compared to the previous year. The campus has engaged in various energy-saving activities.

Shigeru Satoh
Professor, Department of Architecture, Graduate School of Creative Science and Engineering / Department of Architecture, School of Creative Science and Engineering

In 1973, graduated from the Department of Architecture at the School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. In 1975, completed the Master's Program of the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. Founded the Shigeru Satoh Laboratory in 1984. Conducts research on town-building and performs advance recovery town-building through cooperation with local communities. Has served as Chairperson of the Architectural Institute of Japan since May 2011.
Areas of expertise include urban design and planning. As a practical town-building and community-building project, conducts advance recovery town-building through cooperation with the district council in Shinjuku Ward. Also conducts town-building in the Hase region of Nara Prefecture through cooperation with local municipal governments, citizen organizations and functional organizations.
Following the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995, stationed himself with his laboratory in Noda-Hokubu district in Kobe. For approximately 18 months, recorded and research the recovery process of the town. Currently, he draws upon his past experience to develop recovery support activities while also researching town-planning which enables response to major earthquakes in the future.

Tomoya Shibayama
Professor, Construction Engineering Course, Graduate School of Creative Science and Engineering / Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Creative Science and Engineering

In 1977, graduated from the Department of Civil Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Tokyo. In 1979, completed the Master's Program of the Graduate School of Engineering, University of Tokyo. In 1985, acquired his PhD (doctoral degree by thesis) in engineering from the University of Tokyo. Served as Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo and Professor at Yokohama National University before assuming his current position in 2009. Chairperson of the Committee on Ocean Engineering, Japan Society of Civil Engineers.
Areas of expertise include disaster prevention in coastal regions, water engineering, coastal engineering, engineer ethics and social systems, and systems development theory for developing countries. His research theme consists of analyzing the contents of disasters and using analysis results to formulate community-based strategies for lessening disasters.
After the recent Great East Japan Earthquake, served as leader of the Waseda University survey team which was deployed by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers. The team surveyed regions which were struck by the tsunami. Then, an image of the earthquake was reconstructed by using two methods consisting of 1) survey results and 2) replication of the tsunami using numerical simulations. Currently using information gained from these activities in order to conduct research for lessening the effect of future disasters.

Shinichi Iwamoto
Professor, Electrical Engineering and Bioscience Course, Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering / Department of Electrical Engineering and Bioscience, School of Advanced Science and Engineering

In 1971, graduated from the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Waseda University School of Science and Engineering. In 1978, completed the Doctoral Program of the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. Holds a PhD in engineering. Served as Assistant Professor at the Tokai University School of Engineering and as Associate Professor at the School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University, before assuming his current position in 1986. Chairperson of the Electric Power System Council of Japan, Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan.
Areas of expertise include mathematical programming, electric power circuits, electric system engineering and power system theory. As part of power system deregulation and the implementation of renewable energies, conducts research on methods for stable power supply and methods for introduction of new energy/stored energy to electrical systems.
Regarding the recent Great East Japan Earthquake, focuses on power issues arising as a result of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Provides proposals related to power transmission mechanisms and the ideal forms of power companies. Through media appearances and lectures, continues to appeal to the general public the importance of possessing correct knowledge regarding power issues in Japan.

Disaster prevention, construction and power
Yamakawa:

Today, we will hold a discussion between professors who are utilizing their expertise to conduct a variety of projects for recovery and reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake which occurred on March 11th. Professor Iwamoto is specializes in electrical energy, Professor Satoh is in expert in construction and town-building, and Professor Shibayama specializes in disaster prevention and tsunamis. To begin with, please tell me your impressions regarding the recent earthquake.

Shibayama:

When a large tsunami or storm surge occurs, I always try to go onsite and take a survey of the damage. Recently, I conducted surveys of damage caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami caused by the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of 2004 and the Chile tsunami caused by the Chile earthquake of 2010. I believe that the damage from the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake is similar to that of Indian Ocean tsunami which struck Ache, Indonesia. Almost all of the wooden homes were destroyed and almost all of the vegetation had been pulled out by the roots. I hadn't seen such a horrible seen since I visited Ache.

Satoh:

One the day of the earthquake, I was attended a board meeting as chairperson of the Architectural Institute of Japan. Actually, the association was just about to make the very important decision of adding the phrase "contribute to society" to our articles. The earthquake occurred at the very moment that we were about to clarify our position that the Architectural Institute of Japan must firm a solid relationship with society. We passed the resolution on amendment of our articles on that day, and we also established a Committee for Reconstruction/Recovery. In that respect, I believe that the earthquake was an impetus for architects and researchers to take a first step in contributing to society.

Iwamoto:

Although my field of expertise is the operation of electrical power systems, the accident which occurred at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima was completely unexpected. Although the accident was extremely surprising, it overturned the normal concept that electricity is something which can be taken for granted. It also caused the general public to focus on the issues of electricity and nuclear power. In this respect, I believe that the accident will be useful when considering future energy issues in Japan.

Yamakawa:

Currently, what kind of discussion is taking place to prevent similar damage when Japan is struck by an earthquake in the future?

Shibayama:

Tsunami experts have recently agreed to establish two levels of tsunami settings. The first level is called the "tsunami protection level," meaning that damage can be prevented through structures. This level is set for tsunamis which occur at a cycle of several dozen or several hundred years. Our towns and assets can be protected from such tsunamis by constructing seawalls at the mouth of bays and by constructing coastal levees on land. The second level, which is called "tsunami disaster reduction level," envisions large-scale tsunamis that occur only once every thousand years. Damage from such tsunamis cannot be prevented by structures and evacuation is therefore required. Accordingly, we are working to set standards for the selection of evacuation areas. In other words, tsunamis which can be prevented will be addressed through tangible facilities such as structures, the damage caused by large scale tsunamis will be reduced through intangible planning such a selection of evacuation areas.

Satoh:

Immediately after the disaster, some people proposed that we should build structures which can withstand even the most powerful tsunami. However, the Japan Society of Civil Engineers and other associations have formulated policies similar to the one just introduced by Professor Shibayama. Such proposals are extremely valid from our perspective of town-building and urban planning. Each municipal must decide how to implement the form of such proposals. Conditions in each region are different in terms of both infrastructure and geography. Therefore, each region must consider how to create systems based on the two levels describe by Professor Shibayama

Iwamoto:

In terms of electricity, east Japan has a frequency of 50 hertz and west Japan has a frequency of 60 hertz. Therefore, some people insist that the frequency should be unified to enable increased flexibility in electricity. However, as an expert, I have to say that such proposals are completely unreasonable. To use an analogy, electricity is like water and power lines are like a water pipe. The flow of electricity will be increased simply by increasing the width or number of the pipes. The problem is the small size of the inter-company lines between TEPCO and Chubu Electric Power Company which fulfill the role of a water pipe. The frequency is of no relation. It is important for everyone to have correct knowledge regarding this issue.

Future issues in various fields
Yamakawa:

Based on the issues discussed above, what kinds of issues need to be addressed in the future?

Satoh:

At least two major earthquakes at predicted to occur in the first half of the 21st century alone. These earthquakes are the Tokai/Tonankai Earthquake and an earthquake with an epicenter directly below Tokyo. From the perspective of town-building and urban planning, we must do more than just rebuild and recover from the Great East Japan Earthquake. We must also consider how to prepare for the two forecasted major earthquakes. Although this is very difficult, our current goal is to act based upon this kind of vision.

Iwamoto:

Iwamoto Recently, the electric monopoly of electric power companies is being raised as an issue. However, there is actually no monopoly of electricity in Japan. There are now new electric supply companies. Individuals consuming 50 kilowatts or more are free to contract with any electric power company that they wish. Another issue receiving attention is the separation of generations from transmissions. Although this issue requires further debate in the future, when considering the aspect of risk management, I feel quite uneasy regarding the separation of generations from transmissions. A major feature of Japanese electric companies is that they are assigned the responsibility of supply. Supposing that the generation and supply of electricity is assigned to different companies, who would take responsibility if a large-scale blackout occurred within the next 10 years? Furthermore, Japan is an island nation and does not have power lines connected with another country. Therefore, thermal power generation would be forced to rely on LNG or coal if the nuclear generation stopped. Since only one month's worth of fossil fuel is stored in Japan at all times, Japan would only have one month of power supposing that we were subject to a naval blockade. Nuclear power would provide electricity for three to four years. Such realities must be considered when discussing the issues of supply electricity and nuclear power.

Shibayama:

As an expert in tsunamis and disaster prevention, I believe that it is necessary for the general public to specifically consider the risks associated with disaster in the future. Until now, many people may have believed that they were protected by structures. However, the recent tsunami pushed aside and washed away such structures. Even if structures exist, we must evacuate when a disaster occurs. Each person must consider the risks that they are exposed to while commuting to work, while at school or while at home. They must then decide how best to evacuate in the event of a disaster.

Energy-saving graph of Waseda University. Compares the amount of electricity consumed this year and last year.

Satoh:

It's true that we must rethink our lifestyle and values in the future. This can be said for both disaster risk and for the issue of electricity. For example, in the case of electricity, my family reduced our monthly electric bill by more than 33% simply by implementing some simple energy-saving measures. Such measures are also being implemented within our university.

Yamakawa:

Professor Iwamoto has made proposals regarding that point since before the recent earthquake. Our university uses a large amount of energy for air-conditioning and operating computers. There are an extremely large number of computers at our university. Therefore, a significant reduction in energy consumption can be realized the monitor brightness is reduced at each computer and if batteries are used.

Iwamoto:

That's right. The Nishi-Waseda Campus, which contains the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, has set a goal of a 20% reduction in peak electricity consumption when compared to last year. When using a graph to compare the campus electricity consumption for this year and last year, it is clear that this goal has been achieved. It is obvious that everyone has made great efforts to save electricity. However, as is true with anything, excess is not good. Japanese people also adhere thoroughly with any rules or actions. Still, we should seek optimization while making appropriate adjustments.

Expectations towards universities
Yamakawa:

As professionals in the field of science and engineering, what should we do, and what can we do to solve future issues and to support reconstruction of disaster areas? Please tell me your opinion.

Graduate students in the Satoh Laboratory use a model to review disaster prevention in town-buildingstudents

Satoh:

Currently, I feel that there are high expectations for universities. The Waseda Institute of Urban and Regional Studies, where I serve as director, is conducting a five-year program with Shinjuku Ward for recovery training based on cooperation with the community. This program assumes the occurrence of an inland earthquake in Tokyo. Based on damage estimations, the programs simulates aspects such as the number of people who will be forced to live in emergency shelters and the types of processes which will take place during a ten-year period for restoration of the city. If a disaster occurs, people in the community must formulate their own recovery plan. Therefore, it is extremely important to conduct image training regarding possible disasters and necessary actions.

Iwamoto:

Regarding the field of electricity, I think that future students should study topics such as decentralized generation and the new smart grids.

Shibayama:

It is our role to correctly interpret the recent earthquake from a technical standpoint and to transmit this knowledge to future generations. In this respect, I believe that Waseda University has an extremely important role to fulfill. Our university has implemented a project known as the Center for Research on Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake. I serve as director of the Complex Disaster Research Institute which is a sub-organization of the center. I have great expectations for graduate students studying at the institute.

Yamakawa:

Specifically, what kind of activities do you foresee?

Shibayama:

We are currently thinking about conducting an overnight survey in Tohoku by taking a group of graduate students who are performing earthquake-related research. During the day, students would walk around disaster areas and conduct a survey to assess the meaning of their research for the region and to examine steps which need to be taken. At night, all participants would gather together for a meeting between faculty and students in different research areas. Conducting such a survey would enable us to grasp a comprehensive image of the recent earthquake and formulate appropriate response. For example, graduate students who specialize in water engineering and only consider water-related issues would have the opportunity to discuss the disaster with students in other fields.

Satoh:

That's a wonderful idea. I hope that other research teams from Waseda can participate in the survey. Although it is rather difficult for academic communities to work together, such actions are possible at universities because students are the base. Realizing projects in which each participant discusses their individual results with others will help to cultivate professionals and academics which can withstand the responsibility of leading the next generation.

Shibayama:

That's very true. For example, in the case of past earthquakes such as the Meiji-Sanriku Earthquake and the Showa-Sanriku Earthquake, disasters only remain in the memories of individuals and are not conveyed to the next generation. Graduate students participating in such an overnight survey would be 22 or 23 years old, and thus can continue to discuss and pass on information for the next fifty years. However, it would be a great disservice to future generations if the memory of the recent earthquake were to disappear after fifty years. Therefore, it is necessary to have young people accumulate disaster-related experiences and implement measures for passing on such experiences to future generations. I believe that this is not a mission for science and engineering professionals alone; rather, it is a mission for Waseda University as a whole.

Iwamoto:

At the same time, it is necessary for science and engineering professionals to become internationalized in the future. Specifically, professionals must be able to communicate in English, even if it is broken English. I think that the Graduate School of Science and Engineering should put a little more effort into English education. Scientists and professionals in the field of science and engineering must accurately transmit information to overseas regarding this disaster experience and Japan's electricity issues.

(Continued in the second installment. *"Northwest Wind" readers, please read from here.)