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/S1793924011000708

Role of Local Institutions in Climate Related Disasters in Small and Medium-sized Cities of Japan

Rajib Shawa and Yukiko Takeuchib
Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Japan.


The current study shows three examples from the small and medium sized towns and cities in Japan, which has faced climate related disasters in recent past. These are: Saijo in Ehime prefecture (2004 typhoon disaster), Tosashimizu in Kochi prefecture (2001 flood disaster), and Reihoku in Kochi prefecture (early 2000 mountain disaster). All these towns and cities are characterized by higher forest and mountain cover, aged population, and lack of economic activities. The paper shows three innovative activities of disaster risk reduction: in Saijo by local government through school disaster education, in Tosashimizu by the Voluntary Disaster Preparedness Organization (VDPO) utilizing local resources and community activities, and in Reihoku by local NPO (non-profit organization) through linking with the local business sector and revitalizing local economy. Although the nature of local institutions are different, its prominent roles in the local disaster risk reduction activities ensures its effectiveness and sustainability. Although there are limitations of these local institutions, future disaster risk reduction strategy needs to focus on the balanced approach of utilizing the local institutions, and linking these to external stimuli.

Keywords: Small medium-sized cities, Climate related disasters, Local institutions, Japan.

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