+ BACKGROUND, CHALLENGES AND OBJECTIVES
Japan is a country who frequently suffers from great earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, and other disasters; Some example of such cases are the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake in 1995, the Chuetsu Earthquake in 2004, the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and the Kumamoto Earthquake in 2016. Japan has experienced many major disasters in the past that have claimed thousands of lives and taken a heavy toll on the economy.
The greater the damage caused by the disaster, the harder it is for the fire and police departments to rescue and protect the life of every citizen. Almost 90% or more people saved from such disasters are helped by people around them or people in the local community. Each time, people have worked together, helped each other, recovered and rebuilt their lives and economies. These experiences have made us aware of the importance of local residents' efforts to protect their own lives as well as their own communities, proving to be effective in reducing losses. Human resource from the community level is a non-neglectful human resource when disasters come.
Therefore, from 2005, Matsuyama city began to train “Bousaisi,” disaster prevention personnel with specialized knowledge in local communities, a first in Japan. To support more citizens to be equipped with professional knowledge and skills when disasters happen, all costs for taking relevant courses are funded by the city with public funding. The trainees of this program come from various occupations, such as elementary and junior high school teachers and employees of companies that have a disaster assistance agreement with the city.
Right now, there are over 6,200 qualified “Bousaisi” in Matsuyama, which has a population of 510,000 citizens, ranking as the city with the most “Bousaisi” in Japan.
+ ACTIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION
In Matsuyama, the government is actively encouraging people with diverse background to become certified “Bousaisi.” It is important to increase the number of newly trained “Bousaisi”, as well as keeping the experienced “Bousaisi” with the most updated skills.
1) Annual Workshop and lectures for “Bousaisi” are conducted to maintain and improve the skills of “Bousaisi” after they obtained the certificates. As the involvement and existence of Female “Bousaisi” in disaster prevention is also considered as very important, social exchange meetings between female “Bousaisi” are organized to foster good relationships and exchanges.
Photos. Annual Female Bousaisi Meeting (2018): This annual meeting is for promoting interaction among women and developing their knowledge. Last year, female Bousaisi from Matsuyama and Saijo got together (approx. 60 participants). Learning about disaster prevention through interaction with Bousaisi from neighboring cities.
2) The private sector is also indispensable for disaster prevention. Matsuyama government has established a system in which companies in the city can actively cooperate in regional disaster prevention by training their employees and being certified as “Disaster Prevention Corporation Establishments” for their proactive roles. This is the original certification system created by Matsuyama city and the only one in Japan. As of now, there are more than 300 private companies in Matsuyama that have already been certified. To mobilize more active participation from the private sectors, the government provides funds for the companies to train their employees as “Bousaisi.”
Photo. Participation of Private Companies In Local Disaster Prevention; Distributing certificates (plates) to companies that trained Bousaisi
3) In collaboration with Ehime University and University of Tokyo, Matsuyama city has established the “Bousai Leasers Training Center” in Ehime University, which is also the first in Japan to train “disaster prevention leaders.” So far, over 1,000 university students have become “Bousaisi” and they will continue to work as a “Bousaisi” even after they find a job. “Bousaisi” coming from the universities participated in various activities and volunteered or researched in different disaster-stricken areas. Actual visits to these disaster-affected areas is the best way to learn about disasters. We are also improving their skills as “Bousaisi” by letting them interact with the local people and hold lectures in elementary schools. Since last year, the center has been focused on developing a disaster prevention education program which cover all generations from the elementary school students to the elderlies. This initiative is also a first in Japan. Disaster prevention education for all generations is to continuously practice disaster prevention education in the curriculum starting from elementary school. Matsuyama City is aiming to let all students in Matsuyama acquire a certain level of disaster prevention knowledge by the time they complete their studies.
Please visit Matsuyama Bousai Leader Training Center's home page (https://matsuyama-bltc.com/) for more information regarding our events. For video recordings of the events, you can access them through the following Youtube link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnejETAX25Ccqsnd95i7bQ
4) Students from Elementary School, Junior High School and High School, who are particularly interested in disaster prevention and motivated to engage in disaster prevention activities, have formed the Junior disasters prevention leaders club. This year, there are more than 300 junior leaders committed to protect their own future. In this way, from an early age, we are supporting the development of human resources who love the region and wishes to protect the region while gaining disaster prevention knowledge specific to the region.
During the training conducted at elementary schools, students learn how to deal with challenges that might occur during the evacuation in the event of a disaster, and how to take care of people who needs support such as the elderly, the disables and foreigners. Disaster prevention knowledge and practical skills are taught with disasters simulation, such as earthquakes, where students participate as evacuees.
Photos.Activities of the Disaster Prevention Leaders Club (disaster prevention education)
+ OUTCOMES AND IMPACTS
1) As an outcome from the “Bousaisi” effort, we witnessed the positive impact when a real disaster came. In July 2018, torrential rain caused great damages in Japan and 200 precious lives were lost national wide due to the rain and secondary disasters that followed behind. Takahama Area located in Matsuyama City has also suffered over 30 secondary disasters including landslides and debris flow. “Bousaisi” voluntarily checked the high-risk area house by house to warn the residents. They evacuated the residents based on their knowledge and experiences ahead of the evacuation advisors issued from the local authorities. All local residents survived with no casualties due to the early preparation with emergency drills and study sessions with which they are very familiar. People also looked after each other in such occasions because they are empowered to protect the community.
2) In recognition of these efforts, Matsuyama City has been awarded the Disaster Prevention Achievement Award by the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office four times in the past five years, both for individual category and as an organization. Matsuyama Method of community based DRR, which utilizes the power of the local residents, has been recognized as one of the most advanced initiative in Japan.
+ REPLICABILITY AND SCALABILITY
1) The resilience of a city is not achieve only through its infrastructure, but more importantly, through its public education and training to sustain the awareness and knowledge about disaster preventions. Human resource from the citizens is the most accessible and direct power to protect our cities.
2) Matsuyama city also invites, not only local residents and Japanese natives, but also foreigners who are residing in Japan, as well as exchange students who visited Japan to participate in the disaster prevention education. Highly trained high school and university students act as instructors. There also have been mayors from other cities and countries also experienced the disaster prevention training.
3) Matsuyama city has been proactively promoting the initiatives to develop disaster-resilient citizens and a disaster-resilient city. We would like to share these expertise and knowledge with other cities in order to save as many people's lives as possible.
+ BUDGET AMOUNT
The total budget for Matsuyama’s “All Community Disaster Prevention Program” is about 34,000,000 JPY (310,500 USD), which covers all relevant programs such as the “Bousaisi Program,” “Training of Bousaisi College Student” and “Disaster Prevention Education for All Generations” etc. The budget for the “Bousaisi Program” alone is about 5,200,000 JPY (47,500 USD).
+ BUDGET SOURCE
Both the National Government and Prefectural Government rated highly and recognized this program, providing solid support to Matsuyama city on the “All Community Disaster Prevention Education Program.” Matsuyama received 7,500,000 JPY (68,500 USD) from the National Government and 2,000,000 JPY (18300 USD) from the Prefectural government.
The success of Matsuyama city’s disaster prevention education program could not have been achieved without the support from the community. The main experts to develop and conduct the training are coming from the Ehime University, with contributions from other colleges, high schools and chamber of commerce, etc.
During the COVID-19 pandemic period, Matsuyama city created disaster prevention education videos and distributed them to elementary and junior high School. By doing so the students could still be educated remotely online.