This proposal summarizes the contributions we can make and what we should do, mainly from the viewpoint of science and technology, to recover from the Tohoku Earthquake.
The multiple catastrophic disasters caused by this earthquake are pressing us to fundamentally transform Japan's social and economic structures, change our sense of values, and present global challenges in the 21st century. The reconstruction of the affected areas requires a combination of the forces of many fields, organizations, generations, and nations. Science and technology can also significantly contribute to the reconstruction.
Basic Ideas about the Use of Science and Technology
Reconstruction activities require a combination of expertise from many scientists.
By working collaboratively with municipalities, victims, and others in disaster-stricken areas, scientists can find ways to make effective use of their knowledge beyond their individual fields.
An amalgam of regional culture and tradition and the latest scientific/technical knowledge provides true reconstruction.
Through the use of the said knowledge, we can create robust, adaptive scientific knowledge that is required by future reconstruction activities and that is also capable of breaking the barriers of organizations and systems and is capable of making international contributions.
Through these activities, we will push forward with reforms to the science and technology systems, which were difficult in the past.
Scientists are responsible for providing advice and recommendations based on their expertise; they should be different from policymakers and performers in responsibility and role.
This proposal considers I "Reconstruction of the Disaster-stricken Areas," II "Future Energy Strategy," and III "Future Responses to Disasters," and presents recommendations. Particularly important points are listed below.
I. Reconstruction of the Disaster-stricken Areas
[Participation of scientists]
To identify the needs and social expectations associated with reconstruction activities and develop and carry out plans, many scientists must participate in research and study activities in conjunction with regional communities.
[Damage investigations and follow-up researches]
We propose that an international organization be established to study the long-term impact of radioactive substances on the environment.
We propose that facilities for storing and analyzing the record of the earthquake and archives for survey findings be set up.
[Contribution to the reconstruction of regional communalities]
To treat and clean up the soil, plants, land, and water contaminated with radioactive substances, the creation of a framework for comprehensive, continuous implementation is required, while making use of overseas expertise and accumulated technological know-how.
The use of science and technology in creating new towns provides new approaches such as the following:
The design of entire systems for social infrastructures (for energy, water, transportation/distribution, and information) that use a combination of hardware and software
Implementation of eco-city initiatives of various scales by, for example, introducing renewable energy
Upgrades medical care and education by making use of ICT (information and communication technology)
[Reconstruction of research & development infrastructures]
Damaged research & development infrastructures must be reconstructed early in consideration of priorities. In reconstructing them, we should promote networked, problem-solving research systems beyond field, organizational, and national boundaries and enhance our methods of international information dissemination.
II. Future Energy Strategy
The national energy strategy must be developed openly and research and development activities for energy must be continuously promoted.
In disaster-stricken areas, we must implement show future systems that will reinvigorate local communities and act as future models for energy demand and supply.
III. Future Responses to Disasters
We must ascertain why the fruits of the research and development regarding disasters and other scientific knowledge had not been implanted, and we must make improvements to these activities.
A disaster response system must be built which provides smooth connection between usual conditions and emergencies based on modeling and simulations.
It is essential to build an information and telecommunications system that is robust (resistant to changes) even in times of disaster. We must also study the relationship between information and society (reliability of information, damages caused by rumors, etc.).
In providing disaster medical care, it is important to provide prompt support based on effective logistics. We must also set up a control tower for medical care management.
The Center for Research and Development Strategy will continue to further consider some points so that they will lead to specific research and development challenges, budget development, and system reforms.
The reconstruction activities for this disaster require responses that make use of science and technology as a whole instead of individual techniques and pieces of knowledge. They must be also carried out as global collaboration. To meet these requirements, we must transform the scientific and technological systems in Japan into ones that can optimally combine human and other resources for solving problems beyond many barriers.
The Center for Research and Development Strategy will continue to conduct studies from these viewpoints as well.