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Japan – New Zealand disaster management collaboration

Associate Professor Norio Maki (Kyoto University) explains disaster recovery processes following the Kobe and Tohoku earthquakes
Associate Professor Norio Maki (Kyoto University) explains disaster recovery processes following the Kobe and Tohoku earthquakes

Senior Japanese scientists and government officials have visited New Zealand to share Japanese and New Zealand disaster management expertise.

The visiting experts took part in a three-day workshop with New Zealand scientists to identify projects of practical use to the recovery in Tohoku prefecture in Japan and in Christchurch.

The workshop also had a wider aim of encouraging collaboration between Japanese and New Zealand universities, research institutes and other science agencies.

This year is the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Japan and New Zealand, and the seminar was one of a range of bilateral engagements planned.

Professor Masato Motosaka (Tohoku University) and Michael Pender (Auckland University)
Professor Masato Motosaka (Tohoku University) and Michael Pender (Auckland University)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade organised this event, in collaboration with the Japanese foreign ministry, and the New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, CERA, and the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Jan Kupec (CERA) describes the damage caused by the Christchurch earthquakes
Jan Kupec (CERA) describes the damage caused by the Christchurch earthquakes

The workshop finished with an inspection of the Christchurch CBD – on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku, which happened on March 11, 2011.

The working groups looked at soil behaviour in earthquakes, the interaction of soil and structures in earthquakes, and recovery and reconstruction.

Professor Ikuo Towhata of the University of Tokyo said now is the time for geotechnical engineers of both counties to work together to mitigate against future liquefaction.

Other challenges identified during the workshop included the strengthening of underground pipe networks.

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Page last updated: Friday, 27 April 2012 15:30 NZST