International / Military-Public-Private Cooperation in Disaster Relief―Lessons Learned from Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011―

Friday, July 18, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: Booth 50
Oral Presentation
Keishi ONO , Defense Economics and Post-Conflict Reconstruction Program, National Institute for Defense Studies, Japan
Nozomu YOSHITOMI , Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Japan
Daisaku SAKAGUCHI , National Defense Academy, Japan, Yokosuka, Japan
Grant NEWSHAM , Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, Japan
Robert ELDRIDGE , US Marine Corps, Okinawa
The Great East Japan Earthquake which occurred on March 11, 2011 was a complex disaster including the massive earthquake, enormous tsunami and large-scale radiation leaks from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It was the one of the most serious natural or man-made disasters in the history of Japan.

On the occasion of this tragic disaster, various military, public and private actors from inside and outside of Japan were engaged in disaster relief.  These international/military-public-private actors conducted various activities and made remarkable accomplishments. However, we noted that numerous survivors endured immense suffering, chaos and deprivation in the affected areas.  We wondered whether international/military-public-private actors responded to the urgent needs of the survivors as quickly and effectively as possible. This question was the basic motivation for our research.

Our research summarized several issues concerning the state of affairs and lessons learned regarding trilateral cooperation from the view point the MOD and JSDF.  First, it was discovered that there was considerable room for improvement in Japan-U.S. bilateral and joint operations in the event of a large natural disaster, even though they have a half-century record of collaboration under the Japan-U.S. alliance.  Concerning other foreign military forces, construction of framework for cooperation is also desirable.

Collaboration with local governments produced a lot of lessons.  Although local government should assume a leading role in disaster response, in some cases damage caused by the disaster kept them from exercising their normal disaster relief functions. This led to a dramatic increase in the volume of aid needed and demands on local organizations following the Great East Japan Earthquake.  

A framework for collaboration between JSDF and the private/public aid sectors is also necessary in order to properly prepare for the next large earthquake.