Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)

Volume 3 Number 2 (2011)

Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management 2011 3 2

doi: 10.3850/S1793924011000678

Editor’s Note

Rajib Shaw, Jet-ChauWen and Yukiko Takeuchi

The relationship between human and environment is most pronounced in areas of human dependence on access to natural resources. Environmental resources are a critical part of the livelihoods of many people. Disaster risk management has its direct connotation to human environment and human security. Many of the natural disasters like typhoon, flood and drought are found to be directly related to the environmental degradation. These disaster events affect the poor people the most by affecting their lives, properties and livelihoods, and also affect the natural and built environment. Therefore, by creating disaster resilient communities, it is possible to enhance environmental protection.

Taiwan and Japan have significant similarities in terms of geo-morphological characteristics, rainfall patterns, and occurrences of typhoons. Although the socio-economic condition and administrative structures might differ, there are strong need and possibilities of mutual learning from developing effective risk communication strategy. Due to change in climatic condition, both Japan and Taiwan are facing new risk of catastrophic rainfall, change in the typhoon path and intensity of typhoon. This, in combination with other existing risks of urbanization, forest management and aging society (especially for Japan) has contributed to the urgent need of development of risk communications strategy for effective typhoon risk reduction.

Risk Communication is a process of engaging different stakeholders in gathering risk information, analyzing them and transmitting to different end users. The success of risk communication is its effective use by the end users. "The Last Mile" (to reach the end users and make it work) is the key to this success, and this requires sustainable multi-stakeholder involvement. Timely early warning system, knowledge of people and communities about local conditions, dialogue of administrators, experts and communities and continuous monitoring of local communities (including ecological characteristics) are some of the key elements of developing successful "last mile" approach.

This special volume is the product of the Japan Taiwan Joint Symposium on Disaster Education and Risk Communication for Climate Change Adaptation (13–16 October 2010), which was co-organized by Kyoto University Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Interchange Association, Japan, National Science Council, Taiwan, Taipei Economic & Cultural Representative Office in Japan, Kyoto University GCOE Human Security Engineering in Asian Megacities, and Kyoto University GCOE Sustainability Science for a Resilient Society Adaptable to Extreme Weather Conditions.

The symposium was divided into two parts: the first part was held in Kobe as a part of the larger conference on New Technologies for Urban Safety of Megacities in Asia (USMCA 2010), which is jointly organized by the Kyoto University Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies. The second part of the symposium will be held in Kyoto. The key participants were researchers and professionals from Taiwan and Japan. In addition, there were participants from the Asian University Network of Environment and Disaster Management (AUEDM), where both Kyoto University and National Yunlin University of Science and Technology (NYUST) are the key partners.

We hope that the papers presented in the special volume will contribute significantly to the important issues disaster education, climate change adaptation and risk communication, and it will serve as a reference document in this subject.