Japan's DRM

Japan - A model DRM for tsunamis


In looking for the model response to a tsunami disaster, Japan would undoubtedly set the standard. The very word tsunami is Japanese and this country has a long history of earthquake and tsunami events. The response of Japan to the threat of tsunamis is extensive, both in relation to preparation and reconstruction.


There are 6 regional centres linked to more than 300 sensors located throughout the islands of Japan, including 80 sensors located at sea, monitoring seismic activity 24 hours a day


There is a tsunami warning service, established in 1952 that is monitored by the Japan Meteorological Society (JMS), who can issue a warning within 3 minutes of a earthquake that may cause a tsunami occurring. The network can also predict the height, speed, as well as destination and arrival time of any tsunami. Alerts are broadcast on all radios and televisions, and if the threat of tsunami is particularly significant an evacuation broadcast can be made. Central government, disaster relief organisations and local authorities are given warnings through specially designated channels so as to promote a speedy response.


Tsunami walls ring many parts of the coast to prevent damage. All along Japans tsunami-prone east coast there are 258 tsunami and quake resistant shelters. Many coastal towns have also built floodgates to prevent the force of tsunami waves funnelling up rivers further inland and causing more damage. Strict building laws to minimise damage from tsunamis or quakes are rigorously implemented. 


All of these measures have helped to keep casualties low in this disaster prone area of the world. Such a system is constantly being upgraded, and estimates of the cost of the tsunami-forecasting model are around US$20M a year.


Education forms a central part of the response to any disaster and local authorities have annual assemblies and instruct communities as to what to do in the event of a tsunami; where to go for safety, shelter and supplies and what to do if injured.



Earthquake Observation Centre, Japan.


Tsunami Warning Systems, Japan



Portable Control Unit For Tsunami Warning System