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Special Seminar Co-organized by the Government of Japan and World Bank Building Back Better:Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake

March 18, 2021

Tokyo, Japan



Co-organized by the Government of Japan and World Bank

  • On March 11, 2011, an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 occurred in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan’s Tohoku region, triggering a tsunami, a nuclear power plant accident, a power supply failure, and a large- scale disruption of supply chains.  This tragedy, known as the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE), reminded the world that no country or community is totally safe from extreme natural hazards and their devastating impacts.  At the same time, many stories of resilience and effective response underscored the importance of preparedness and the need for a holistic approach to disaster risk management (DRM). Since then, the Government of Japan and the World Bank have been working together to capture the Japanese and global knowledge and lessons learned on resilience from such event to share with developing countries through the Japan-World Bank Program for Mainstreaming DRM in Developing Countries.

    Today, frequent and extreme disasters continue to threaten people around the world, with risks exacerbated with climate change.  The global COVID-19 pandemic further poses an unprecedented challenge in managing compound risks.  Commemorating the GEJE’s 10th anniversary, we look back at such event – to understand the reconstruction efforts to build back better, re-examine lessons learned, reflect upon what GEJE has taught us on enhancing future resilience, and discussed how to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.  


    Opening Remarks  

    MIYAHARA Takashi
    Executive Director for Japan, World Bank

    Mari E. Pangestu
    Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships, World Bank

    Video Message

    Great East Japan Earthquake – 10 Years of Reconstruction (title subject to change)
    KOHRI Kazuko
    Mayor of Sendai City

    Keynote Presentation

    A Decade of Resilience – Japan’s efforts on GEJE Reconstruction
    OKAMOTO Masakatsu 
    Former Vice-Minister of Reconstruction Agency

    Panel Discussion

    A Conversation on Lessons from the GEJE on Resilience – Looking Back to Look Forward 


    DODEN Aiko
    Special Affairs Commentator, Senior Director, NHK World TV 


    AMANO Yusuke
    Senior Vice President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

    IMAMURA Fumihiko
    Professor of Tsunami Engineering and Director of the International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University

    ISHII Naoko
    Professor, Executive Vice President, and Inaugurating Director for Center for Global Commons, The University of Tokyo, Former CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)

    Sameh Wahba
    Global Director for Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, World Bank

    Closing Remarks

    Maitreyi B Das
    Practice Manager for Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, World Bank


    *Special thanks to Tokyo Development Learning Center (TDLC)’s technical support for the creation of the video message. 


  • Co-organized by the Japanese government and World Bank, the special seminar to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE) took place online on March 18 with around 300 participants in attendance. The seminar reflected on the reconstruction efforts and lessons learned on enhancing resilience to build back better from the perspectives of prominent experts in various fields.  

    The seminar commenced with opening remarks from Mr. Takashi Miyahara, Executive Director for Japan of the World Bank, followed by Ms. Mari E. Pangestu, Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships of the World Bank.

    For detailed notes on the seminar, please click here: Special Seminar: Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake (PDF)

    Photo: Mr. Takashi Miyahara and Ms. Mari E. Pangestu share opening remarks.


  • DATE/TIME: Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 7:00pm-8:30pm EST (Washington DC) Thursday, March 18, 2021, 8:00am-9:30am JST (Tokyo)
  • Venue: Online (Webex Events)
  • Language: English (with simultaneous interpretation to Japanese)
  • CONTACT: World Bank Tokyo Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Hub TEL: 03-3597-1320