Japan – U.S. Sister Cities Natural Disaster Preparedness and Response Exchange

Timeframe: 2009-2010

Six U.S. and Japan cities participated in a three day conference exchanging lessons learned and best practices in planning, preparing, and responding to natural disasters.   The six port cities had experiences earthquakes, floods, typhoons and heavy rains were eager to improve their preparedness and response for future disasters.

Peace Winds America brought together senior disaster planners and managers the U.S.-Japan Sister Cities of Seattle-Kobe, San Francisco-Osaka, and Honolulu-Hiroshima. Also participating were sister state-prefectural partners: Washington State-Hyogo Prefecture; California-Osaka Prefecture; and, Hawaii-Hiroshima Prefecture.   Representatives included the militaries and national guard, universities, the provide sector, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, The Boeing Company, Microsoft, T-Mobile, banks, transport firms, and consulting companies.   Peace Winds America and its sister organization, Peace Winds Japan, partnered with the Seattle Office of Emergency Management and the San Francisco Emergency Management Department to conduct the three day conference for the 100+ participants.

The Japan-US Sister Cities Exchange led to numerous best practices in the following areas: Earthquakes, flooding and typhoons/Hurricanes, Government coordination, military assistance and emergency operation Centers; public messaging; transportation infrastructure and supply change; infectious and pandemic diseases; and human services and government-NGO coordination.

For Conference Proceedings, including best practices and recommendations, please see our pdf: SC Conference Proceedings

Osaka Prefecture Crisis Management Office Senior Executive Masami Kikuchi (right) and Seattle Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith exchange gifts at the Japan - U.S. Exchange Reception at Seattle City Hall.

Since the 2010 Sister Cities Exchange, PWA has surveyed the participating sister cities every two years to assess the benefits and use of the Conference lessons and best practices.   The response has indicated great satisfaction and utility particularly best practices of coordinating public and private resources around specific disasters.   Also “networking” within Japan and the U.S. has strengthened as well as between the two countries and the respective sister cities.

The Japan-U.S. Sister Cities Natural Disaster Preparedness and Response Exchange was funded by Peace Winds Japan and Peace Winds America, with generous support from Puget Sound Energy, The Boeing Company, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, T-Mobile, the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) of Kobe, and the City of Seattle.