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Building resilient societies that can withstand disasters ― Launch of the Disaster Prevention Consortium

2022.01.24

On November 24, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance announced the establishment of the Disaster Prevention Consortium (CORE) for the acceleration and promotion of new efforts to prevent and mitigate disasters according to the national Fundamental Plan for National Resilience. Collaboration between a total of 13 corporations from various industries was achieved. The co-founders are I-Resilience, AlgoNaut, OYO, River & Basin Integrated Communications, SECOM, Tokio Marine dR, Nippon Koei, NTT, Pasco, Boston Consulting Group, JR East, and Mitsubishi Electric. The name CORE incorporates the concepts of "society-centered," "people-centered," and "seeking to create core measures directly linked to disaster prevention and mitigation."

To help build a resilient society, the consortium will provide the following opportunities for various companies across industry boundaries: opportunities to meet and communicate with each other; collaboration between companies, countries, and municipalities; engagement in the enhancement of four components related to disaster prevention and mitigation--grasping of the current situation, implementation of countermeasures, evacuation, and rebuilding of lives.

Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance and Boston Consulting Group serve as the management secretariat for the consortium. The preparation period will continue until March 2022, during which themes will be selected, subcommittees established, and implementation plans developed. Additionally, the acceptance of companies and corporations who wish to participate in the consortium will start in January 2022. A full-scale start is planned for April.

The national Fundamental Plan for National Resilience is based on Article 10 of the Basic Act for National Resilience and guides other national plans on enhancing national resilience (Cabinet decision on June 3, 2014). Large-scale damage typically occurs in the aftermath of natural disasters, which have become severe in recent years. Precious human lives are lost. Meanwhile, economic losses in the past 10 years are estimated to be as much as JPY 20 trillion. However, technological innovation has also led to a higher degree of disaster prevention and disaster mitigation measures. The means for building a resilient society are also becoming apparent.

This consortium is aimed at resolving social issues by framing disasters as "social phenomena" (necessary) rather than "natural phenomena" (chance). To help realize a resilient society, disaster prevention and disaster mitigation shall be approached using all kinds of technologies. Another objective is to develop a disaster prevention model that draws on the strengths of Japan--a country frequented by natural disasters--that can be exported. The consortium is intended to sustainably implement integrated public-private efforts toward building a resilient society in line with the national Fundamental Plan for National Resilience (Promotion of Five-Year Acceleration Measures) by consolidating the various strengths and data of participating companies. Further, the aim is to create new business models and opportunities utilizing disaster risk data and research results obtained in the consortium.

In its main activities, the consortium gathers know-how related to disaster prevention and mitigation from member companies and corporations. It strives to resolve social issues by implementing measures that integrate hard and soft approaches through general meetings and sub-committee meetings. These include creating disaster prevention communities, strengthening observation systems, improving the predictive accuracy for local heavy rainfall, and real-time collection and communication of disaster information using robots, drones, and 5G/6G. In general meetings, policy decisions will be addressed, including those relating to the management of the consortium, sharing of findings and outcomes, cooperation with national and local governments, and collaboration between industry, academia, and the government. Meanwhile, the sub-committees will be responsible for creating and developing advanced services through corporate cooperation.

The consortium specifically promotes the following six activities:
1. identification of issues and research on countermeasures relating to the four elements of disaster prevention (grasping the current situation, implementation of countermeasures, evacuation, and rebuilding of lives);
2. facilitation of demonstration experiments related to disaster prevention and mitigation;
3. technology matching and cooperation support inside and outside the consortium;
4. dissemination of findings obtained by the consortium to society, etc.;
5. social implementation support of results obtained through research and demonstration experiments;
6. support for the creation of new business models and opportunities by accelerating and evolving social implementation.

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd.(https://sci-news.co.jp/). Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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