A Seminar in London on Education’s Role in Restoring Disaster Affected Areas

  • December 1, 2014
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Kobe University, in collaboration with the Japan Foundation, London, and Miyagi University of Education, held a seminar titled Education and Its Responsibility for the Reconstruction of Regions--Tohoku and Kobe--at the Japan Foundation, London on November 14.

Mr. YANAGISAWA Kenichi, Director General of the Japan Foundation, London, contributed opening remarks, and Professor YUI Kiyomitsu, Executive Director of the Centre for EU Studies at the Institute of Promoting International Exchanges, Kobe University, moderated the seminar. Professors from both Kobe University and Miyagi University of Education gave presentations about how Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), has helped to achieve recovery in areas affected bythe Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (1995) and the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (2011).

Professor MATSUDA Tsuyoshi, Graduate School of Humanities at Kobe University, discussed the hazards of asbestos caused by seismic disasters which came to light after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Associate Professor ODA Takashi, Miyagi University of Education, discussed changes in disaster risk reduction education that first began after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, and how ESD has continued to evolve since the Great East Japan Earthquake. He also introduced reforms in teacher training programmes which took place after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Professor KOGANEZAWA Takaaki, Miyagi University of Education, reported on the status of the implementation of ESD programmes tailored to their particular geographical features. For example, he addressed the focus on education related to recovery from the Tsunami disaster and the restoration of tide-water control forests in coastal areas near Sendai and Kesennuma. Professor Ros Wade, London South Bank University, provided a general overview of the presentations given by the lecturers. She pointed out that it is important for the UK, where fewer natural disasters have occurred, to study the latest seismic disaster-related ESD research in Japan since it can help them address their own social and environmental issues.

More than 50 participants gathered for the seminar from universities and companies in the UK. A lively Q&A session, featuring various perspectives, took place, the discussion ranging from the differences between the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake and the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, and dissemination of ESD to non-disaster affected areas. Responses to questionnaires handed out at the end of the seminar reflected participants’ sincere appreciation of the event. They viewed it as an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the current state of earthquake disaster reconstruction as well as the role of higher education in disaster areas during the process of recovery.

(International Affairs Planning Division)