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Introduction

In response to devastating earthquakes over the past century, the United States and Japan have developed broad programs of research, engineering, and emergency management to mitigate the damage and disruption from seismic hazards. For the past 20 years, this effort has significantly improved the understanding of earthquakes, the seismic-resistance of buildings and infrastructure, and the assistance provided to communities following a disaster. Given financial commitments by the United States and Japanese governments, and the long history of cooperation between the two nations on scientific and technical issues, this effort has fostered world-renowned research programs in earthquake science and engineering at many university and government laboratories.

In this setting the Northridge, California (1994), and Hyogo-ken Nanbu (1995) earthquakes were painful reminders that the United States and Japan remain vulnerable to seismic hazards, despite the important contributions of their national programs. Spaced one year apart to the day, and occurring in the two countries with the most advanced mitigation efforts, these earthquakes resulted in huge economic losses and significant casualties (in the case of the Hyogo-ken Nanbu disaster, hundreds of billions of dollars in losses and thousands of deaths). In the wake of these events, there has been increased recognition of the severity of urban earthquakes and great interest in improving policy and research to address this problem. Indeed, in the past year both the United States and Japan have begun to restructure their national programs for reducing the impacts of seismic hazards.

In response to these concerns, then Prime Minister Murayama proposed an effort to President Clinton to increase United States - Japan cooperation on reducing earthquake impacts. The leaders discussed these issues at the G7 meeting in Halifax, five months after the Kobe disaster. Following the summit, President Clinton and now Prime Minister Hashimoto agreed that the United States would host a high-



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Report of the Observer Panel for the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium 1 Introduction In response to devastating earthquakes over the past century, the United States and Japan have developed broad programs of research, engineering, and emergency management to mitigate the damage and disruption from seismic hazards. For the past 20 years, this effort has significantly improved the understanding of earthquakes, the seismic-resistance of buildings and infrastructure, and the assistance provided to communities following a disaster. Given financial commitments by the United States and Japanese governments, and the long history of cooperation between the two nations on scientific and technical issues, this effort has fostered world-renowned research programs in earthquake science and engineering at many university and government laboratories. In this setting the Northridge, California (1994), and Hyogo-ken Nanbu (1995) earthquakes were painful reminders that the United States and Japan remain vulnerable to seismic hazards, despite the important contributions of their national programs. Spaced one year apart to the day, and occurring in the two countries with the most advanced mitigation efforts, these earthquakes resulted in huge economic losses and significant casualties (in the case of the Hyogo-ken Nanbu disaster, hundreds of billions of dollars in losses and thousands of deaths). In the wake of these events, there has been increased recognition of the severity of urban earthquakes and great interest in improving policy and research to address this problem. Indeed, in the past year both the United States and Japan have begun to restructure their national programs for reducing the impacts of seismic hazards. In response to these concerns, then Prime Minister Murayama proposed an effort to President Clinton to increase United States - Japan cooperation on reducing earthquake impacts. The leaders discussed these issues at the G7 meeting in Halifax, five months after the Kobe disaster. Following the summit, President Clinton and now Prime Minister Hashimoto agreed that the United States would host a high-

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Report of the Observer Panel for the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium level government-to-government symposium on earthquake policy and research and that collaboration on seismic hazards would be added to the existing bilateral agreement for cooperation on policy and technical issues (the ''Common Agenda,'' see below). The U.S. Department of State asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to take the lead in planning and hosting the earthquake symposium in the United States and in coordinating the federal, state, and local agencies that would be involved. This request and the response by FEMA's director appear in Appendix A. Originating from the G7 discussions and the agreement between President Clinton and Prime Minister Hashimoto, the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium was held on September 16–18, 1996, at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Hosted by FEMA, the meeting was attended by FEMA Director James Lee Witt and Kazumi Suzuki, Minister of State for the National Land Agency of Japan. One hundred participants, spanning all levels of government, were invited from the United States and Japan, with additional representation from universities and private industry (see Appendix B). The purpose of the meeting was to initiate a new era of earthquake policy collaboration between the United States and Japan guided by the best available science and technology. To achieve this goal, discussions were to focus on critical policy decisions and the supporting research to reduce earthquake losses. Plenary speakers emphasized that cooperation should include all areas of policy, from mitigation to emergency response, and that it should be based on a broad range of cooperative exchanges, including partnerships with the private sector. The agenda for the meeting is included in Appendix C. The Symposium was organized around the following four theme areas, each with formal presentations and a general policy discussion: Earthquake Forecasting, Warning, and Hazard Zonation Earthquake Risk Assessment and Loss Estimation Earthquake-Resistant Design Construction, Rehabilitation, and Repair Standards Earthquake Preparation, Response, Recovery, and Mitigation Presentations were based on previously submitted papers that contained proposals for United States-Japan collaborations and discussions of

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Report of the Observer Panel for the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium policy decisions for reducing earthquake losses. These papers will be published by FEMA at the end of 1996 as part of the Symposium proceedings. During the Symposium, a bilateral interagency Working Group met separately to integrate the presentations and discussions into a formal statement of conclusions and agreements. This document, which is reproduced in Appendix D, was approved by the American and Japanese participants at the end of the meeting on September 18, 1996. The Joint Statement is the formal outcome of the meeting, and it will serve as the reference for future United States-Japan cooperation on earthquake policy under the Common Agenda. As part of the Symposium, FEMA also invited the National Research Council's Board on Natural Disasters to convene a panel to observe the presentations and policy discussions. The panel was charged to (1) "assess the outcomes of the Symposium" and (2) "identify important opportunities for future scientific and policy exchanges between the two countries." It is intended that this report will be helpful to FEMA in planning and implementing cooperative activities resulting from the Symposium. To this end, the present report reviews the outcomes of the Symposium in the context of existing bilateral programs. Considering the Joint Statement and the Symposium presentations, potential areas for research and policy collaboration to reduce earthquake losses in the United States and Japan are discussed. As part of this discussion, the panel distinguishes between technical issues and policy decisions. The report concludes with the panel's view of the Symposium's achievements together with recommendations for strengthening future scientific and policy exchanges on earthquake hazard reduction.

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Report of the Observer Panel for the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium This page in the original is blank.