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Disaster Prevention

Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution

 On January 17, 1995, the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake struck Kansai directly below the Hanshin urban area, with its epicenter located in northern Awaji Island. The 7.3 magnitude earthquake caused a vast amount of damage over a wide area. Thereafter, a number of organizations aiming for "Creative Restoration" were established, such as the WHO Kobe Centre and the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC), as well as the Hyogo International House, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Hyogo, the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), Disaster Management Planning Hyogo Office, and the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research.

 Many programs were initiated in order to pass on the lessons learned in the aftermath of the earthquake to the next generation. The Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution was established in the central district of Kobe City in order to pass on the lessons and experience gained from the disaster and transmit a message to the world on the value of life and the beauty of harmony with nature. The Institution is engaged in transmitting the experience of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, and through making the lessons learned from the disaster available to the next generation, carry out its mission to develop a disaster-awareness culture, increase local district disaster prevention capabilities, create support for the development of disaster prevention policies, and contribute to the realization of a society featuring safety and peace of mind through citizen cooperation and disaster awareness in the society. Much can be expected for the Institution as an international base for disaster prevention research and the creation of effective policies for all types of disasters.

 In addition, in preparation of any possible disaster in the Tonankai and Nankai region, where it is considered that the possibility of a very dangerous earthquake occurring within the next half century is extremely high, the various autonomous bodies in Kansai are preparing a number of policies. In Wakayama Prefecture, the Inamura-no-Hi no Yakata was opened in 2007, as a participation-type facility where you can learn about earthquakes and tidal waves in order to learn how to protect yourself in an emergency. The facility has a 3D tidal wave movie theater that never fails to stun participants, and a 16-meter long tidal wave simulator where you can watch how tidal waves are transmitted. Increasing interest in natural disasters, this simulator is popular with both adults and children, and it draws many visitors. In 2009, Osaka prefecture opened the “Tsunami Storm Surge Disaster Prevention Station.” At this facility, visitors are able to experience the effects of what a tsunami disaster would be like.

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