The UN emphasis the importance of building a bridge between science and policy*. The Mishima Numazu and Shimizu (MNS) environmental movement in 1963-1964 is really really turning point in Japan. After the movement, the Japanese environmental movement was spreading out all over Japan. Establishing the Japanese Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Law was delayed because of this movement. The core story related to science and policy is the conflict between the governmental EIA research group and the local EIA group. The government group used high-tech machines and money, but the local research group used high school students, local people, and local knowledge. For example, the government group did research by using a helicopter to check the wind direction, on the other hand, the local group used a carp-shaped streamer for examining the direction around the 5th of May in 1963. Japanese people usually raise carp-shaped streamers in front of the house to celebrate their children’s prosperity. Finally, local people, including farmers and fishermen studied hard to recognize the environmental impacts of their living areas and chose the local research group results.
I once proposed a model for analyzing relationships between natural disasters and society, a cyclic model of development-environment-disaster. This provides a long-term perspective and an overhead view for examining natural disasters. This analytical framework could expand on previous research from the viewpoints of the nexus between development and environment and also development and disasters. This also makes it possible to consider the relationships between development, environment, and disasters and the process from the disaster to the victims and from the disaster back to development.
Not only that, but this circular thinking method also provides viewpoints of circulation, opposite direction, cycle speed, time, development stage, and so on. Moreover, this framework provides foresight into considering relationships, not only for development, environment, and disasters in terms of domestic views but also for two or more countries. This is effective for grasping the meaning of natural disasters in the social context. In other words, this framework makes it possible to stimulate sociological imagination and to visualize the issues.
I actually analyzed the Typhoon Iwean disaster in 1959, the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster in 2004, and the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami disaster in 2011 with this framework. However, these works are only in Japanese.
To be continued.
Abstract of the Japanese paper
The second turning point is the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (Kobe Earthquake) in 1995.After the event, we have recognized that we can not prevent disaster, but we can mitigate disasters as mentioned before.This disaster’s total victims number is 6,437 including disasters related death after the disasters.
There are five major disaster management law was enacted as follows:
1) Act on Special Measures for Earthquake Disaster Countermeasures in 1995
2) Act on Promotion of the Earthquake-proof Retrofit of Buildings Amendment of Disaster Countermeasures Basic Act in 1995
3) Act on Special Measures for Preservation of Rights and Profits of the Victims of Specified Disasters in 1996
4) Act on Promotion of Disaster Resilience Improvement in Densely Inhabited Areas in 1997
5) Act on Support for Livelihood Recovery of Disaster Victims in 1998
Especially, 5) Act on Support for Livelihood Recovery of Disaster Victims in 1998 was finally enacted by the strong request from civic groups. It was difficult to approve the act because this act means assisting the personal assets by government financial support. The act is disbursed to households whose homes are destroyed above the setting scale. In 2004, the support amount was extended to three million yen.