Nagoya University
Disaster Mitigation Research Center

Research Projects

Research Projects to Realize Disaster Mitigation

To build disaster mitigation strategies for region-specific, large-scale disasters, the Disaster Mitigation Research Center will pursue academic projects aiming at the "prediction of great natural disasters to hit the Tokai area and realization of safe and secure communities by comprehensive disaster mitigation measures." This initiative will allow the Disaster Mitigation Research Center to achieve the following goals through cooperation between different fields, industry-academic-government sectors, regions, and universities:

  1. Preparation of disaster mitigation scenarios for great earthquakes along the Nankai Trough;
  2. High accuracy hazard and damage predictions of great earthquakes along the Nankai Trough;
  3. High accuracy hazard and damage predictions of "Super Isewan Typhoon";
  4. Development/sophistication of next-generation monitoring methodologies;
  5. Social consensus on optimum disaster prevention standards.

Research Division

Research Project

Endowed Research Division

Disaster Precautions in the Energy Supply Area: (Chubu Electric Power Company) Endowed Research Division

Research aims

In order to improve the ability to respond to disasters in terms of energy supply and to enhance measures for rapid recovery in the case of earthquakes and other natural disasters, it is essential to conduct hazard assessments by examining historical earthquake damage, assess the earthquake resistance of energy supply facilities, and accurately understand the supply-demand balance in the case of disasters. Accordingly, this endowed research division will conduct research on the following themes with the aim of helping to enhance the region’s disaster prevention ability through the maintenance of a safe and assured energy supply:

  1. More accurate estimates of the magnitude of seismic ground motions and tsunami caused by great earthquakes along the Nankai Trough
  2. More accurate estimates of damage at energy supply facilities in the event of colossal earthquakes along the Nankai Trough
  3. Examination of preparatory measures for maintaining the function of facilities when disaster strikes, and an examination of measures for rapid recovery
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Disaster Precautions in the Soil and Lifelines Area: (Toho Gas) Industry-Academia Cooperative Research Division

Research aims

Lifelines such as waterworks, sewage systems, and the power supply are essential items of social infrastructure that affect society. As a review of damage predictions and disaster prevention systems is conducted in preparation for a potential great earthquake along the Nankai Trough, our urgent challenges from the perspective of maintaining social function and economic activity in the event of an earthquake are to minimize damage and facilitate rapid post-disaster recovery.
Accordingly, this endowed research division focuses on the notion that lifelines involve broad areas. It conducts research on the following individual themes with the goals of conducting assessments and developing natural disaster countermeasures that cover broad areas, realizing a regional society that is geared for disaster mitigation and training experts:

  1. Assessment of the earthquake resistance of lifeline facilities against ground motion and tsunami caused by a potential great earthquake along the Nankai Trough
  2. Assessment of the impact of extended long-period ground motion on the occurrence of liquefaction and other damage to lifeline facilities
  3. Development of a more accurate technique for estimating damage to lifeline facilities in the event of a massive earthquake
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Disaster Mitigation Planning for Regional Communities (OYO Corporation) Endowed Research Division

Research aims

This research division will employ tools accumulated over many years—physical insights mainly related to geophysics, as well as technologies including civil engineering and geotechnology—to conduct a series of research and development activities to help facilitate the regional development of disaster mitigation plans so that communities can respond to earthquakes and complex disasters. The research will especially focus on the Tokai area.
The division’s initial goal is to learn thoroughly from the experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake, assess the predicted economic damage from imminent great disasters, and from the viewpoint of the region, develop disaster mitigation plans based on predicted economic damage. Specifically the research content of the division will be as follows:

  1. Upgrading of the ground model based on an analysis of ground and geographical data in the Tokai region and enhancement of the technique for estimating damage based on such model
  2. Development of a technique for estimating economic damage from disasters based on an economic equilibrium model that ta
  3. kes into consideration the structure of the supply chain
  4. Development of proposals and suggestions for disaster mitigation measures, such as ways to effectively enhance social capital, using economic damage as an indicator
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Study Project for Nankai Trough Broad Area Earthquake Disaster Prevention

With the aim of reducing damage inflicted by a predicted Nankai Trough megathrust earthquake and resulting tsunami, the study project for Nankai Trough broad area earthquake disaster prevention encompasses two major tasks. These consist of the acquisition of data to determine the mechanism behind the generation of massive tsunami, and to enable a long-term assessment and implementation of broad area damage prediction and simulation for considering measures for disaster prevention and mitigation as well as restoration and recovery plans. Nagoya University was entrusted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology to implement this project in collaboration with the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Tohoku University, the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention, and other organizations. With regards to this project, the Disaster Mitigation Research Center is responsible for organizing studies on region-collaborative disaster prevention, conducting prediction and simulation of damage arising from ground motion and tsunami, and developing systems for promoting measures for disaster prevention and mitigation for the region. This project was launched in September 2013, when a kickoff symposium was held.

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Tokai Disaster Mitigation Research Consortium

In addition to being located at the center of Japan and its status as the nation’s largest industrial base, the Tokai region is said to be at risk of a Nankai Trough megathrust earthquake as well as other disasters. Therefore, developing effective strategies for disaster prevention and mitigation is a nationally important and urgent challenge. The Tokai Disaster Mitigation Research Consortium was established with the aim of implementing research that focuses on reducing the impact of natural disasters in order to realize safe and assured regional societies. It is a collaborative effort involving six universities in the Tokai region—namely Gifu University, Shizuoka University, Nagoya University, the Nagoya Institute of Technology, Toyohashi University of Technology, and Mie University.

Consortium Members

The Center for Infrastructure Asset Management Technology and Research (CIAM), Gifu University (in Japanese)
The General Disaster Prevention Center, Shizuoka University (in Japanese)
The Disaster Mitigation Research Center, Nagoya University
The Advanced Disaster Prevention Engineering Center, Nagoya Institute of Technology
The Research Center for Collaborative Area Risk Management, Toyohashi University of Technology
The Regional Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Study Center, Mie University (Mie University)

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Region-Based Disaster Mitigation Think-tank Based on Regional Collaboration and Information-Sharing

The Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) launched by the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan cites “Enhancement of the Resilience of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Functions” as its R&D challenge. We have thus implemented this project with the goal of meeting this challenge. In order to establish a region-based disaster mitigation think-tank based on regional collaboration and information-sharing, we have been engaged in the following two matters: First, we have been working to enhance cooperation and collaboration among adjacent municipalities and industries within the region; second, we have been working on the development of disaster mitigation information systems designed to encourage voluntary disaster mitigation actions and facilitate prompt disaster recovery, such as regional disaster information analysis stations. In addition to this work, we serve as a core institution in the collation and integration of various disaster information systems and applications developed in projects undertaken by other institutions. We extract the essence and expertise generated through these projects and then study approaches for widely disseminating such knowledge to other regions.

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Disaster Mitigation Renaissance through Improved Regional Capabilities

Every year, a single municipality is chosen and designated as a model area from among municipalities in Aichi Prefecture that have populations of 100,000 or fewer (a total of five municipalities chosen in five years). All of the designated municipalities differ from one another in terms of geography, geology, past experience of natural disasters, natural disaster risk level, industrial structure, and historical background. In the model areas, documents are collected concerning regional history and geography, the populationʼs ability to respond to disasters, and information on disaster prevention and mitigation based on the latest scientific and technological research concerning seismic disaster prevention. Using these documents, workshops are held by municipal office staff, regional companies, and residents to pave the way toward implementation of appropriate disaster prevention and mitigation countermeasures. After the completion of this project, we will aim to apply and widely extend this studyʼs results to other municipalities that have geographical characteristics that are similar to those of the five model municipalities. (Business subcontracted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology “Project for the study on support of local disaster-damage prevention measure”)

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Establishment of Planning Methods to Realize the Creation of Resilient Urban Areas (2014-2016)

To create resilient cities, our challenges are to ensure a long-term perspective, consider multiple hazards and risks, and establish planning concepts that take into account the scale of the urban area. The aims of this study project are twofold: The first is to hold workshops of various sizes covering broad areas and districts in order to establish planning methods. The second is to review the role of stakeholders in terms of clearly defining the requirements that a resilient community must satisfy and identifying the essential social systems. We will place greater emphasis on gathering major stakeholders to develop suggestions regarding the future organization of regions and industries in the Chukyo area (the metropolitan area that is centered on the city of Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture) as well as the wider region, with the goal of developing planning guides that are in line with the actual state of each region and which can be adjusted for wider areas. (R&D Focus Area “Creating Community-based Robust and Resilient Society”)

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Research and Development for Educational Materials on Disaster Prevention

We are continuing to develop the Bururu series of educational materials that allow experience-based learning regarding earthquake related oscillation and disaster prevention. The “Ground Bururu,” which is a miniature that can express resonance in the ground and buildings, was demonstrated on the Japanese famous TV program. We have also developed “Pinocchio Bururu,” a miniature of a wooden house that demonstrates how a house collapses. This can be assembled quickly and easily, enabling repeated experiments. When the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, the major issues included shaking and indoor damage in high-rise buildings as a result of long-period ground motions.

Experiment-based educational resources that simulate the motion of the ground and buildings during an earthquake

A bi-directional long-stroke oscillation stand, BiCURI (Bi-directional Shaker and Computed Ultra-Response Integration Environment), can reproduce the shaking of a high-rise building. It also enables authentic simulation of long-period ground motions by displaying images of the inside of a building during an earthquake and synchronizing the images with the motion of the shaking stand.

Bi-directional long-stroke oscillation stand, BiCURI
A shaking table to enable visitors to experience long-period ground motions

As of March 2014, the Disaster Mitigation Research Building has an oscillation laboratory on its rooftop. This laboratory shakes the entire room according to any given waveform. Images of the inside of the building cast by four projectors, as well as various sounds, including those of earthquakes, are synchronized with the motions of the laboratory, allowing visitors to experience the shaking with all five senses. In addition, the Disaster Mitigation Research Building has installed “3D Visualize,” a detailed white miniature of the landscape, onto which hazard maps and other images can be projected. Created using three-dimensional data, this exhibit helps increase visitors’ cognition regarding disaster risks. In addition to these devices and exhibits, we are also developing other effective, easy-to-use educational materials in order to raise public awareness.

“3D Visualize”

Rooftop laboratory for disaster mitigation and experimentation

Inside the rooftop laboratory
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