In April 2002, with assistance from the national government, the Hyogo Prefectural Government (Hyogo) established the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution (DRI). Its mission is to pass on the experience and lessons from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (GHAE) to future generations and disseminate knowledge for disaster prevention and disaster risk reduction based on the disaster experience to Japan and the world. In addition to gathering, preserving and exhibiting materials related to the GHAE, DRI is engaged in comprehensive and practical research activities about disaster reduction, with dedicated researchers working for the institution, while providing disaster management training to local government officers nationwide.
Establishment and operation of the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution (DRI)
It was the first mega earthquake that directly hit a modern Japanese city with an increasingly aging population. It left citizens with many precious lessons. Hyogo, however, had no scheme for investigating and researching the disaster or for sharing results with a wide range of stakeholders in Japan and abroad. Consequently, the institution was designed to serve as the core organization to pass on the experience and lessons from the GHAE to future generations and to utilize such experience and lessons effectively.
While Hyogo proposed the establishment of this institution to the national Government, this initiative failed to gain endorsement at national level. So it was ultimately set up as a Hyogo Prefectural institution with a commitment from the national government to provide subsidies for its establishment and operational costs.
To establish and operate the institution, it was essential to obtain the support and cooperation of a wide range of victims of the Earthquake. Hyogo therefore made efforts to raise the profile of the institution by holding forum events and a contest for the official naming.
DRI accepts and has preserved a variety of primary materials related to the GHAE that were donated by citizens and organizations. At the same time, many disaster victims participate in the operation of the Institution as voluntary staff engaged in storytelling, explanation of exhibits and interpretation into different languages. In this way, DRI created a scheme for the entire community in disaster-affected area to support the Institution.
DRI needs to disseminate information on the GHAE and disaster risk reduction consistently, and it hires young researchers for a fixed term of employment to develop their action research expertise.
DRI provides practical opportunities to learn about the GHAE through exhibits using the permanently preserved earthquake-related materials. Moreover, after recent major natural disasters, the Institute immediately dispatched its specialists and researchers to disaster-affected areas as well as local governments to provide practical advice and information for disaster-responses, and thereby help reduce damage and promote smooth recovery, based on the experiences and lessons from the GHAE. These activities contribute to DRI being a world-class institution for disaster reduction.
As of August 2014, DRI has received 6 million visitors since its launch. The Institute also collected approximately 180,000 pieces of disaster-related primary materials, trained 21 young researchers, educated about 6,000 local government personnel in charge of disaster management, and provided technical assistance to staff from a total of 40 foreign countries and regions. DRI continues to fulfill its mission in a reliable manner.
Potential for replication
Bursa Province in Turkey, which is an earthquake-prone country, has established the Bursa Disaster Training Center, an institution modeled on the DRI. Meanwhile, in Miyagi Prefecture, which was affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, the prefectural government is considering establishing an “Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Management Museum” as a project to commemorate the Earthquake and Tsunami.
Information of Contact Person
Mr. Masahiko Murata – Director, Research Department
Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution (DRI)
1-5-2 Wakinohama-kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, 651-0073, Japan
Tel: +81-78-262-5065 / Fax: +81-78-262-5082
Mr. Naoki Nakatsu
Chief, Disaster Management Project Planning Division,
Disaster Management & Planning Bureau,
Civil Policy Planning & Administration Department
5-10-1 Shimoyamate-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo, 650-8567, Japan
Tel: +81-78-362-9870 / Fax: +81-78-362-9914