Executive Summary

From September 16–18, 1996, a U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium was held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. Hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the meeting involved high-level representatives from both the United States and Japanese governments as part of a new bilateral initiative for cooperation on policy and research to reduce earthquake losses. To help FEMA as it plans and implements this new program, this report by a panel of the Board on Natural Disasters of the National Research Council 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."

Based on its review, the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium Observer Panel concludes that there were a number of important achievements from the Symposium. The most important of these was the initiation of a new era of earthquake policy cooperation based on agreements at the cabinet level of the United States and Japanese governments. In its review of the Symposium presentations and discussions, the panel identifies specific opportunities for policy and research collaboration on real-time seismic monitoring; seismological studies; probabilistic seismic hazard analysis; loss estimation studies; disaster situation assessments; performance-based design methodologies; large-scale dynamic testing and simulation; and emergency preparedness, response, and mitigation efforts. To enhance the opportunities for collaboration, the panel makes recommendations to FEMA on a range of topics. These include:

  • there is a need for policy leadership to define the topics for U.S.-Japan collaboration,

  • strategic planning is needed to define specific cooperative activities,



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Report of the Observer Panel for the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium Executive Summary From September 16–18, 1996, a U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium was held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. Hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the meeting involved high-level representatives from both the United States and Japanese governments as part of a new bilateral initiative for cooperation on policy and research to reduce earthquake losses. To help FEMA as it plans and implements this new program, this report by a panel of the Board on Natural Disasters of the National Research Council 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." Based on its review, the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium Observer Panel concludes that there were a number of important achievements from the Symposium. The most important of these was the initiation of a new era of earthquake policy cooperation based on agreements at the cabinet level of the United States and Japanese governments. In its review of the Symposium presentations and discussions, the panel identifies specific opportunities for policy and research collaboration on real-time seismic monitoring; seismological studies; probabilistic seismic hazard analysis; loss estimation studies; disaster situation assessments; performance-based design methodologies; large-scale dynamic testing and simulation; and emergency preparedness, response, and mitigation efforts. To enhance the opportunities for collaboration, the panel makes recommendations to FEMA on a range of topics. These include: there is a need for policy leadership to define the topics for U.S.-Japan collaboration, strategic planning is needed to define specific cooperative activities,

OCR for page 1
Report of the Observer Panel for the U.S.-Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium there should be an effort to measure the success of the policy collaboration with Japan, there should be an emphasis on expanding the dialogue between the United States and Japan on earthquake issues, cooperative activities should involve policy makers and researchers with comparable roles and responsibilities, a single liaison office should be established in the United States to coordinate the cooperative activities, and to be a full partner with Japan in the collaboration, there is a need for increased funding for United States earthquake programs.