4
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

In the panel's view, there were a number of important accomplishments from the Earthquake Policy Symposium, as follows:

  • Based on agreements at the cabinet level of government, the Symposium provided the foundation for a new era of earthquake policy cooperation between the United States and Japan.

  • The Symposium brought together a unique mix of policymakers, scientists, engineers, and private-sector representatives, providing a rare opportunity to integrate technical discussions with the policy concerns of reducing earthquake losses.

  • By bringing national, state, and local administrators together, the Symposium fostered new avenues of internal collaboration within the United States and Japan. This has important implications for strengthening policies for emergency response.

  • The Symposium identified a promising list of topics for cooperation.

  • The Symposium prompted high-level support from FEMA Director Witt and Minister Suzuki for expanded research and cooperation in the United States and Japan.

  • The outcome of the Symposium provides a mechanism to bring together a wide range of bilateral programs into a common strategic framework.

Based on its observation of the Symposium and its own deliberations, the panel offers the following recommendations to FEMA and the Working Group to assist in the planning and implementation of future cooperative efforts between the United States and Japan on earthquake policy.



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Report of the Observer Panel for the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium 4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS In the panel's view, there were a number of important accomplishments from the Earthquake Policy Symposium, as follows: Based on agreements at the cabinet level of government, the Symposium provided the foundation for a new era of earthquake policy cooperation between the United States and Japan. The Symposium brought together a unique mix of policymakers, scientists, engineers, and private-sector representatives, providing a rare opportunity to integrate technical discussions with the policy concerns of reducing earthquake losses. By bringing national, state, and local administrators together, the Symposium fostered new avenues of internal collaboration within the United States and Japan. This has important implications for strengthening policies for emergency response. The Symposium identified a promising list of topics for cooperation. The Symposium prompted high-level support from FEMA Director Witt and Minister Suzuki for expanded research and cooperation in the United States and Japan. The outcome of the Symposium provides a mechanism to bring together a wide range of bilateral programs into a common strategic framework. Based on its observation of the Symposium and its own deliberations, the panel offers the following recommendations to FEMA and the Working Group to assist in the planning and implementation of future cooperative efforts between the United States and Japan on earthquake policy.

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Report of the Observer Panel for the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium POLICY LEADERSHIP The panel appreciates the considerable effort that resulted in the Joint Statement. The document is an important first step in collaboration. However, there is a need for a more detailed statement of the relevant policy issues and their relationship to supporting research efforts. Such a document should be prepared by the newly established Working Group. It will provide a foundation for future bilateral collaboration and high-level exchanges under the Natural Disaster Reduction initiative of the Common Agenda. The panel suggests that the Symposium papers, together with the discussion in this report, could serve as a starting point for that effort. STRATEGIC PLANNING After relevant policy issues are identified, specific measurable goals need to be established for all aspects of collaboration between the United States and Japan, including the transfer of research results to practical applications. A strategic plan should then be developed to achieve these goals. The plan should be formulated in the context of bilateral cooperation and should address technical issues and policy decisions together so that work can be coordinated with other United States - Japan initiatives (e.g., UJNR, JUST, Earthquake Disaster Mitigation Partnership, U.S.-Japan Universities Coalition for Earthquake Research). Part of this effort should focus on mechanisms to apply the results from individual projects to policy decisions for risk reduction. Where possible, there should also be an effort to integrate collaboration into a multihazard context. The panel notes that the cooperation with the Pan-Pacific Disaster Watch Network, described in the Joint Statement, offers excellent opportunities in this area.

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Report of the Observer Panel for the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium MEASURING SUCCESS As part of the strategic planning effort, new metrics should be developed for assessing the progress and success of collaborative risk reduction programs. These measures should be tailored to the goals from the strategic planning exercise described above. Having a consistent framework to measure progress should be given priority because it will lead to better policy and management decisions by government agencies and private corporations in both countries. EXPANDED DIALOGUE The United States-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium was valuable because it provided an opportunity for open communication among a wide range of professionals. Building on the exchanges made during the Symposium, there is a need to promote an expanded dialogue between the technical and policy communities from the United States and Japan. In the panel's view, this is one of the primary responsibilities of the Working Group that was established at the Symposium. Increased translations of primary reference materials into English and Japanese would also contribute to improved communications. Examples of productive topics for this dialogue include developing performance-based design methodologies and utilizing loss estimation methods and probabilistic seismic hazard analysis for risk reduction. The panel notes that the long-standing relationships between members of the technical community, established through other U.S.-Japan programs, will help to bring a sense of continuity to these efforts. FUNCTION-TO-FUNCTION COLLABORATION While there was great value in the professional diversity of the participants in the policy Symposium, the smaller, collaborative projects should be well-matched in expertise to facilitate a productive working relationship. For this goal, collaborations should involve comparable researchers and agency officials (i.e., matching function to function in

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Report of the Observer Panel for the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium the collaboration). Because of apparent differences in governmental function and authority between the Japanese national government and the prefectures, and the U.S. federal government and the states, efforts to match functions must be done deliberately. A better understanding of governmental organization, responsibilities, policy making, and administrative decision making in Japan will allow better matching of individuals. Strategic planning will also play an important role in integrating these smaller-scale efforts into the broader goals of the Common Agenda. LIAISON CONTACT To coordinate collaboration across the private sector, federal, state, and local agencies, and university researchers, there is a need for a United States liaison to serve as a single point of contact to facilitate the exchange of people, information, and resources. This liaison would also play an important role in minimizing the cultural and language barriers that can be an impediment to collaborative projects between the United States and Japan. The panel believes that FEMA, the State Department, or the Office of Science and Technology Policy could be responsible for these liaison functions in the United States. It will be important to establish a parallel liaison office in Japan. FUNDING To be a full partner with Japan in the effort to reduce earthquake losses, the United States should increase its financial commitments to the full range of research, mitigation, and preparedness activities related to seismic hazards. At present, there are significant differences between the two countries in expenditures for earthquake programs. For example, the combined 1995 budget for earthquake activities across seven Japanese Ministries and Agencies1 was greater 1   The seven Ministries and Agencies are National Land Agency, Science and Technology Agency, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Communication, and Ministry of Construction.

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Report of the Observer Panel for the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium than $770 million. Notably, these funds include a special augmentation following the Kobe earthquake, although they do not include salaries. (This figure may decrease in later years.) By comparison, approximately $95.1 million was appropriated for the United States National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) for fiscal year 1996. Direct comparisons between budget levels with Japan are difficult because the great majority of United States funds (60 to 90 per cent) are for salaries and the Japanese budget provides a more comprehensive description of that government's activities related to earthquakes. Nonetheless, on this basis it appears that the difference between the United States and Japan in expenditures for infrastructure, instrumentation, and nonsalary expenses is between one and two orders of magnitude. Japanese presentations at the symposium supported this conclusion as speakers described extensive new seismic networks for real-time systems and plans for an $800 million large-scale testing facility. In the current United States budget environment, comparable facilities are not feasible. With such disparities, it will be difficult for the United States to work as an equal partner in the effort to reduce earthquake losses. The panel notes that this may require new funding mechanisms for earthquake programs in the United States. To this end, there should be consideration of a proposal made by Congressman George Brown in one of the plenary sessions of the Symposium: that United States earthquake programs could be funded from a trust fund created by a levy on earthquake insurance policies.

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