On August 3, Kobe University held a public symposium titled "Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake ― What Can Kobe Do to Help" at the Kobe International Conference Center on Kobe's Port Island. Approximately 470 people, consisting of the general public, government officials and researchers, attended the half day event. They listened intently to lectures about the current state of disaster stricken areas, reconstruction plans and the panel discussion which followed.
When the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake hit the Kobe area in 1995, Kobe University suffered losses of precious lives and damages. At such times, warm support came from people all over Japan, including the people in the Tohoku region. In the wake of that disaster, Kobe University began working on researches to build a safer, more secure society. This is when the “Research Center for Urban Safety and Security (RCUSS) ” was established and the beginning of the “Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Disaster Materials Collection”, which is stored in the University Library. The concept for this symposium was based on “Kobe University's Proposal for Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake (First Edition) ,” which was compiled and submitted to “The Reconstruction Design Council in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake”.
President FUKUDA Hideki of Kobe University opened the symposium with an introduction of the “Proposal” and explained the thoughts of the people involved, which went in its creation. This was then followed by a keynote lecture on the theme, “The Great East Japan Earthquake and Reconstruction Plans” from Mr. IOKIBE Makoto, the Chairman of the Reconstruction Design Council, who is also a Professor Emeritus of Kobe University. Sharing his own personal experience of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, Mr. IOKIBE highlighted the fact that the concept of “disaster mitigation” was conceived after this earthquake. He also stressed the importance of “creative reconstruction,” rather than simple “recovery”.
After a short recess, President INOUE Akihisa of Tohoku University, and Professor MUROSAKI Yoshiteru of Kwansei Gakuin University, who is also a Professor Emeritus of Kobe University, joined President FUKUDA, and Mr. IOKIBE in a panel discussion moderated by Professor TANAKA Yasuo, Director of the RCUSS.
President INOUE introduced the fact that even though Tohoku University suffered severe damage from the recent disaster, it has been busy setting up research groups to support reconstruction. Professor MUROSAKI emphasized the urgent need to provide manpower support for disaster-affected areas.
Prior to the opening of the symposium, participants observed a moment of silence to pay their respect to the victims of the earthquake. Warm support was shown from participants in the form of donations collected in a donation box placed at the entrance of the hall.
During the intermission, staff from the Student Volunteer Support Center presented activity reports of students who traveled to the disaster stricken areas on a bus chartered by Kobe University. Student volunteer activities were also introduced through a panel exhibition in the main lobby of the hall.