OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies. Japan: Large-scale Floods and Earthquakes

Japan: Large-Scale Floods and Earthquakes
International Futures Programme

Damages to economic assets resulting from natural disasters have soared in the past fifteen years, and climate change models forecast intensified exposure to extreme weather in many OECD countries. The occurrence of flooding in Europe for the period 1998-2006 more than doubled compared with 1990-1998, while in North America the spectre of hurricane season is an annual threat to coastal communities. Seismic risks remain a key concern for countries such as Mexico and Turkey, both of which have a perilous record of earthquakes. As economic assets and populations continue to concentrate in urban centres, the damages from such disasters will increasingly test emergency response capabilities and the public’s resilience. Governments at national, regional and local levels will need to efficiently and effectively manage a broad value chain of risk management policies to confront these challenges.

This OECD review of risk management policies focuses on Japan, a country whose geography, topography and climate subject it to serious natural hazards, especially seismic activity and typhoons. This report looks at how Japan monitors, prepares for and responds to floods and earthquakes. It identifies good practices and areas where improvements could be made. The case studies consider several issues of particular interest to policymakers, such as how to take climate change into account for long term policy planning related to large scale floods, and Japan’s unique earthquake insurance scheme for damages whose probability and impact are hard to accurately assess. Moreover, the report offers lessons that other countries can draw from on the integration of various phases in the risk management cycle — from risk assessment to disaster recovery.

More information available on the OECD website