Japan gears up up to face disasters in post-Fukushima period

Tokyo, May 7: Life is back to normal after two years of the devastating earthquake and Tsunami that hit East Japan on March 11, 2011, and this can be seen in the revival of several business enterprises.

For example, Ministop Co. Ltd., a chain of convenience stores, whose 70 percent outlets out of 288 were damaged, is on the revival path.

During the crisis, the company played a significant role in securing the supply of food, drinking water and beverages to the affected people.

Despite its own losses, it had set-up logistic teams to supply fast-food items at the disaster sites.

“On March 11, 2011 – just after the earthquake, we established a temporary office to connect with franchise chain shops and secure the safety of the employees. The next day, we decided to send our sales manager to Sendai City. We tried our best to collect information by connecting to the on-site headquarter the and Tokyo office through video conferencing,” said Akihiro Maeda, Director, Ministop Co. Ltd., Japan.

The natural calamity turned more disastrous when a Tsunami disabled power supply and the cooling of three Fukushima reactors, causing a nuclear accident.

About 160,000 residents were evacuated to safe areas and 10,000 hectares of agricultural farm land was devastated.

Now, the farms at Fukushima produce radiation-free food, which is safe for human consumption.

Recently, HIS, a Japanese travel agency, conducted a study tour to Fukushima named “Never Forget Tour”.

The visitors met some evacuees and residents who have started the “Kaachan” power project, which essentially deals with edible and safe meals consisting of vegetables, rice and other ingredients produced in Fukushima.

“No Fukushima food. No Japanese Food. 44 countries refused to import our crops. Now, the Japanese government has set the safety basis of radiation at under 100 Becquerel. The safety basis for food imports is 370 Becquerel,” said Wantanbe Tomiko, President, Mom’s Project.

“I heard people from other countries want to learn from the nuclear accident that happened in Fukushima. We accept those inspections in the near future, ” said a tour planner.

Efforts are on to improve technology to get advance information about natural calamities. As part of disaster management, a seminar titled “Networking for Observation Satellites” was recently held at the Ministry of Economy, Trading and Industry in Tokyo.

It aimed at fighting disaster damage and peaceful multi-use of satellites, and was attended by experts from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Pasco, a Japanese representative company of the Space Observation industry, demonstrated the Integrated Mobile Ground Station, which was developed in cooperation with METI.

When a disaster occurs this car moves to that place to get information through satellites and provides data for analysis.

“It’s really a good invention to help us, especially when we have disasters in far areas. It is mobile and you can bring it nearest place. So you cannot depend on single station, you can move around. So it is very helpful,” said Esperanza O. Cayaman of Pagasa, Philippines.

The system costs 1,000 million USD.

Countries which are prone to natural disasters like typhoons, flood and earthquake can take advantage of the Japanese technology and be better prepared to handle natural calamities. (ANI)