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Synthetic aperature radar patterns of seismic deformations associated with a model earthquake on the San Francisco section of the San Andreas Fault.

Earthquakes are a major concern in increasingly populated regions, however their prediction is a difficult task. Researchers have recently made progress in the use of complex simulation and modeling techniques to better forecast the occurrences of earthquakes.

In a recent study, researchers used Gradient Boosted Regression Trees, a machine learning technique for regression and classification problems that incorporates training data, to better determine spatiotemporally complex loading histories within subduction zones. The researchers simulated tens of earthquakes using a small‐scale experimental replica of a subduction zone and show that machine learning predicts well the timing and size of laboratory... read more

Publishing Date: 13/03/2019
The Japanese coastal town of Otsuchi few days after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Image: Al Jazeera/Flickr.

The Japanese government is preparing to test a disaster early warning system that uses one of its Quasi-Zenith’s satellites this... read more

Publishing Date: 25/01/2019
An image of Tropical Storm Toraji over Japan taken by the Suomi NPP satellite on 2 September 2013. Image: NASA/CC BY 2.0

Japan plans to launch a new disaster prediction system using data from both satellites and the ground, in an effort to enable local governments to efficiently organize evacuations in the event of a natural disaster.

As part of the new system, disaster-prone locations will be designated in advance as monitoring spots, based on relevant information including... read more

Publishing Date: 31/07/2018
Collapsed building after the Kumamoto earthquake, Japan. Photo: Hyolee2/CC BY-SA 3.0

A study conducted by engineers from Tohoku University in Japan sees promising opportunities for LiDAR applications in the context of informing responders after earthquakes. The team investigated the use of LiDAR for earthquake damage assessments following two earthquakes which hit the Island of Kyushu within in 28 hours in April 2016.

... read more

Publishing Date: 12/03/2018
Himawari-8 in orbit

A group of scientists from the Riken Advanced Institute for Computational Science has undertaken a new project that aims to improve weather forecasting. The project makes use of data from the Japanese Himawari-8 satellite and combines it with a supercomputer programme at the Riken science institute. The project aims to significantly improve weather predictions, particularly in the case of extreme weather, in order to improve official warnings and to ultimately help save lives.

In order to predict future weather, weather prediction models run simulations that are based on current conditions coming from various data sources. Accurate predictions are rather difficult to conduct due to the inherently complex nature of weather systems and the lack of precision and timeliness of the data.

As... read more

Publishing Date: 29/01/2018
The Kobe-Awaji-Naruto expressway at Naruto, Tokushima prefecture, Japan.

The government of Japan plans to provide drivers with disaster information straight to their cars by making use of Japan’s Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS). The proposed software aims to improve the country’s disaster... read more

Publishing Date: 12/01/2018
Launch of QZSA satellite Michibiki-1 in 2010.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have launched the Michibiki-4 communications satellite. The new satellite is part of a terrestrial positioning network system that will allow better communication in case traditional communication networks are unavailable due to a natural disaster.

The satellite complements the Global Positioning System (GPS) and will help reduce its error range from 10 metres to between 1 metre and circa 6 centimetres. It is part of the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS). The QZSS will be compatible with GPS satellites and can be used with... read more

Publishing Date: 11/10/2017
Japan's 2011 earthquake. Image: NASA

A 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the Japanese east coast triggering a tsunami warning. The epicenter was located 67km off the coast of Fukushima prefecture with a depth of approximately 10km. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued tsunami warnings for much of the country’s northern pacific coast.

The tsunami warning was issued because three meters high waves could be expected and the nation’s public broadcaster NHK,  recommended coast residents to evacuate to higher lands because repeated waves were estimated to hit.

The Fukushima prefecture hosts the Daiichi nuclear power plant, which caused the worst nuclear disaster after a powerful earthquake on 9 March 2011 originating a tsunami that left some 18,000 fatalities, reported Aljazeera. 

Publishing Date: 23/11/2016
Satallite image of the city of Karachi (Pakistan) on the Arabian Sea (Image: ESA)

The Japanese Government will support the replacement of the Karachi meteorological radar with 1.95 billion Yen (approximately 14.2 million Euros). This assistance belongs to a wider aid plan called National Multi Hazard... read more

Publishing Date: 13/07/2015
Japan to use a supercomputer for disaster risk reduction after the devastation caused by the 2011 tsunami (Image: U.S. Air Force)

The Tohoku University and Fujitsu Laboratories jointly developed a real-time flood analysis system with the help of the Fujitsu's supercomputer, K.

Disaster risk reduction has become a priority for Japan after 2011 tsunami, which devastated the coast and left more than 15,000 killed. With the help of K, this new system will allow calculating the estimated arrival time of tsunamis and the probability and extent of infrastructural damage.

The website Nikkei Asian Review reported: "The new system automatically predicts and simulates models of tectonic shifts and sea surface deformation at the time of earthquakes, using relevant data. Then, it performs parallel computations... read more

Publishing Date: 14/05/2015
The programme will provide data analytics for disaster response (Image: US Navy)

A joint funding programme between the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) will support the use of Big Data and data analytics to improve future disaster management.

Six different projects will be developed to enable experts, decision makers and emergency personnel accessing real-time information in order to assess the situation and respond appropriately in disaster situations. Individuals and... read more

Publishing Date: 31/03/2015
The new international framework for disaster risk reduction was agreed upon after 30 hours of negotiation in Sendai (Photo: Manny de Guzman)

After 30 hours of negotiations, the 187 Member States that attended the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan, agreed in the evening of 18 March (local time) on the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction, valid for the period 2015 to 2030. It contains seven targets and four priorities for action. The agreement on the text was announced by Conference President, Ms. Eriko Yamatani, Minister of State for... read more

Publishing Date: 18/03/2015
UNOOSA's director and two UN-SPIDER experts gave presentations during the CANEUS public forum

On 17 March 2015, UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER contributed to a side event at the Third United Nations World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), organized by the CANEUS (Canada-Europe-US-Asia-Africa) International Organization.

The forum entitled "New global framework for sharing of Space technology and data standards to serve nation's disaster management needs" focused on the need to collaborate and share information on an international level in order to mutually enhance the capabilities of nations to cope with disasters. This is crucial as no single country can afford to develop such complete set of sensors and satellite system needed... read more

Publishing Date: 18/03/2015
The public forum was co-organized by IRIDeS, DLR, ADRC, and UN-SPIDER

On Sunday, 15 March 2015, UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER co-organized a public forum on the sidelines of the Third UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR). The forum themed "Enhancing Disaster Resilience by Fusion of Simulation, Sensing and Geospatial Information" focused on enhancing society's resilience towards future catastrophic disaster by providing the possible and severe disaster scenarios and... read more

Publishing Date: 17/03/2015
UNDP and Tohoku University launched the "Global Centre for Disaster Statistics" at WCDRR (Image: UNISDR)

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) at Tohoku University launched the "Global Centre for Disaster Statistics" on 15 March 2015 at the Third UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan. As a result of a long partnership, the new Centre will help deliver quality, accessible and understandable disaster data to Member States as they endeavor to achieve the goals of the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Susumu Satomi, President of Tohoku University, announced that the new centre would generate sound evidence and scientific analysis to support the integration of... read more

Publishing Date: 17/03/2015
One of the key outcomes of the working session was the announcement of a global partnership comprised of UNOOSA and 15 partners.

UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER successfully co-organized a working session on Earth observation and high technology to reduce disaster risks on Sunday, 15 March 2015. 200 participants attended the session. The working session was conducted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) taking place from 14 to 18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan.

The session aimed to discuss focused on the roles of Earth Observation,... read more

Publishing Date: 16/03/2015
Panel of the WCDRR working session on early warning

Experts of UN-SPIDER as well as UNOOSA's director Simonetta Di Pippo have co-organized and contributed to a working group on early warning during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) on Saturday, 14 March. WCDRR was opened on 14 March and will continue until 18 March.

In her statement, Di Pippo stressed the significant progress in strengthening multi-... read more

Publishing Date: 16/03/2015
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon opened the WCDRR on 14 March in Sendai, Japan (Image: UN Photo)

The Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) was kicked off today in Sendai, Japan. It will be held from 14 to 18 March 2015 in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. Several thousand participants including world leaders are attending the event as well as related events linked to the World Conference under the umbrella of building the... read more

Publishing Date: 14/03/2015
UNISDR head Wahlström urges world leaders to take action on disaster risk reduction

Ahead of the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which will take place 14 to 18 March in Sendai, Japan, the Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Margareta Wahlström appealed to Member States to tackle the underlying drivers of disaster risks. The biggest of those drivers is climate change, accounting for 87 per cent of disasters, with other factors being poverty, land use and biodiversity degradation.

“Despite many successes and greatly improved performance in disaster management, it is sobering to note that 700,000 people have died in disaster events over the last ten years,” said Wahlström in a press... read more

Publishing Date: 10/03/2015
2013 Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines (Image: DFID/ Henry Donati)

More than 50 percent of the most exposed cities in the world for natural disasters are located in Philippines, China, Japan and Bangladesh, according to a recent publication by the global risk analytics company Verisk Maplecroft.

The 5th annual Natural Hazards Risk Atlas (NHRA) shows that of the 100 cities with the greatest exposure to natural hazards, 21 are located in the Philippines, 16 in China, 11 in Japan and 8 in Bangladesh. The combined risk of tropical storms and cyclones, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and severe storms or extra-tropical cyclones, among others, has placed the small capital city of Port Vila, on the isolated South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, on top as the world's riskiest ones.

The Philippines is the most exposed country with eight cities among the ten most risky at global level due to a high risk of tropical storms, earthquakes and landslides. In addition... read more

Publishing Date: 09/03/2015
The ALOS data is accessible via the CIRC observation data search

After the calibration and validation of ALOS-2/CIRC, the Japanese Space Agency JAXA confirmed that the data quality of ALOS-2/CIRC is adequate. All ALOS-2/CIRC data is therefore now available to the public. The data can be obtained via the CIRC observation data search. The only requirement is that the user follows the CIRC data policy.

The ultimate goal of the CIRC project is to minimize the damage and impact caused by forest fires, as well as contributing to urban planning and the management of volcanic disasters.

Publishing Date: 09/02/2015

The Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) has been a UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office (RSO) since 2009. In 2015, the ADRC will continue to promote and support the use of space-based information for disaster risk reduction in its role as a UN-SPIDER RSO.

In doing do, ADRC will continue to participate in the Sentinel Asia project. 

The project was launched in 2006 with the objective of establishing a disaster risk management system by making use of satellite images in Asia. ADRC functions as the focal point to receive... read more

Publishing Date: 29/01/2015
Tsunami Damage near Ishinomaki, Japan March 15, 2011

The Japanese government is currently planning the development of an operationally responsive small observation satellite to be launched in case of a disaster or military emergencies.

The creation of this disposable satellite is part of the draft Basic Plan on Space Policy, released by the Japanese government's Committee on National Space Policy.

As per the Basic Plan, a pre-assembled satellite, measuring 70 centimeters in length, width and height, and weighing between 100 and 150 kilograms, would be sent into orbit in case of an... read more

Publishing Date: 13/01/2015

Two representatives of UN-SPIDER attended the second Preparatory Committee meeting (PrepCom2) related to the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), scheduled to take place in March 2015 in Sendai, Japan. PrepCom2 took place on 17 and 18 November in Geneva and served to approve the Conference programme of work and develop the draft post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.

During the first preparatory session in Geneva on 14 and 15 July 2014, participants had already agreed on a draft agenda and proposed rules of procedure for adoption regarding the WCDRR. Participants of the PrepCom sessions include... read more

Publishing Date: 17/11/2014
Launch of the rocket with the five Earth observation satellites on board

On 6 November 2014, five Japanese satellites were sent into orbit from the Dombarovsky launch site, in Russia.

One of the satellites launched was ASNARO-1, an Earth observation mission funded by the Government of Japan in 2008. The Advanced Satellite with new System Architecture for Observation (ASNARO) mission will be used in the fields of environmental observation, disaster monitoring... read more

Publishing Date: 10/11/2014

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