Through decades managing large-scale natural hazards, Japan has developed and refined its disaster risk management (DRM) approach many times over. The country continuously assesses and tests the capacity of its infrastructure, systems, and communities to maximize preparedness and respond effectively.
A critical aspect of this focus on pre-disaster preparedness is Japan’s use of disaster simulation drills to improve existing practices and ensure readiness for the disruptive and destructive events that are sure to strike. Through the Japan-World Bank Program for Mainstreaming DRM and the DRM Hub in Tokyo, the World Bank has captured a number of key lessons and good practices from Japan’s experience designing and executing these drills in a new report, “Learning from Disaster Simulation Drills in Japan”.
The report aims to provide national DRM agencies, local governments, public utilities, as well as civil society organizations with lessons and examples of how Japan has:
- Developed and enhanced institutional and policy frameworks to involve key stakeholders and secure high-level support for simulation activities;
- Planned the drills carefully and ensured that they are carried out by different agencies at national and sub-national levels, and that local communities are actively engaged; and
- Organized frequent drills to systematically enhance disaster-response abilities.
The report draws on a host of practices across Japan, including from the prefectures of Hyogo, Shizuoka, and Tokyo.
Produced as part of the World Bank’s ongoing support to the Government of Armenia, the report is already guiding developing countries with similar disaster profiles to learn and apply new practices at home.
Using the report, officials from Armenia, Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan visited Japan to improve their crisis management systems by learning first-hand about Japan’s experience, including participating in National Disaster Preparedness Day on September 1, 2016. These countries have already begun work to institute new reforms and simulation exercises in their countries. With this report and additional resources, more countries will also be able to take further steps to strengthen their level of preparedness.