Disaster Risk Reduction

March 15, 2015 Sendai, Japan

March 15, 2015
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
As a country which has suffered from numerous disasters throughout its history, including the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan has accumulated great knowledge and technology for disaster risk reduction. Against this background, Japan has been the top donor in this field internationally, and has led international cooperation by sharing its knowledge and technology. 
For example, when Typhoon Yolanda caused enormous damage in the Philippines in 2013, Japan immediately and seamlessly provided a series of assistance measures, including the dispatch of a Japan Disaster Relief team, the provision of emergency relief goods, financial cooperation, humanitarian assistance through NGOs, and the designing of a longer-term recovery and reconstruction plan. The concept of "Build Back Better," which has been put into practice here in East Japan, is also reflected in the reconstruction plan of the Government of the Philippines.
Based on the "Sendai Cooperation Initiative for Disaster Risk Reduction," announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday, Japan will contribute to the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction. In the four years from 2015 to 2018, Japan will provide financial cooperation of 4 billion US dollars and train 40 thousand government officials and local leaders to play a leading role in national efforts for disaster risk reduction and post-disaster "Build Back Better".
Japan's specific cooperation will effectively include the following elements: (i) non-material assistance, including assistance for establishing legislation, institutions and systems, as well as human resource development, (ii) material assistance, centering on the development of economic and social foundations through quality infrastructure and (iii) global and region-wide cooperation.
Disaster risk reduction is a universal challenge involving all countries, both developing and developed. And the national governments of all countries have the primary responsibility to protect their people and assets from disasters. With this in mind, let me explain the "three keys" to which Japan attaches importance in international cooperation for disaster risk reduction.
  • The first key is prior investment in disaster risk reduction based on a long-term perspective. If only emergency response and recovery measures are taken each time a disaster occurs, sustainable development cannot be achieved. This idea is backed up by Japan's own experience of economic development despite suffering from numerous disasters.
  • The second key is global partnership. International cooperation for disaster risk reduction is not a one-way street of assistance from developed to developing countries. Japan will never forget the assistance provided by both developed and developing countries in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Developed countries also have a lot to learn from the experiences of disasters in developing countries. Furthermore, it is necessary to build an implementation system involving all stakeholders, including local governments, civil society and private companies, in addition to central governments.
  • The third key is the human security approach. In implementing cooperation for disaster risk reduction, it is important to focus on each individual and to include the perspectives of women and of those who face particular vulnerabilities, such as persons with disabilities and the elderly.
Japan is determined to play a leading role in formulating and implementing the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction and promote international cooperation towards a world that is resilient to disasters with these "three keys." We would also like to stress the outcome of this Conference will be an indispensable contribution to the post-2015 development agenda.
Thank you for your attention.

Back to Disaster Risk Reduction