-2008 Oct., The United States of America

Name/Title Overseas Sabo Seminar and Study Tour
Venue: Country,City Hawaii, The United States of America
Date Oct. 19-24, 2008

"Overseas Sabo Seminar and Study Tour", one of international exchange activities sponsored by Japan Sabo Association, was held in Hawaii this year. A group of 10 persons led by Shigeo ARAMAKI (Professor Emeritus at Tokyo University) participated in the seminar which took place on Oct. 19-24.

The Japan-US joint seminar on Oct. 21 was started with the keynote lecture by Harry Kim, Mayor of Hawaii County. He emphasized that disaster prevention education and vulnerability assessment were very important to minimize damage due to tsunami disasters. He introduced that the government was developing a disaster prevention system and organization by such means as buying up of hazardous areas near the coast. He also mentioned that it established a framework to discuss and determine plans and responses at the meeting where all responsible divisions (Country Guard, Police, Shelter, etc.) get together.

In the afternoon, three Japanese participants, Shigeo ARAMAKI, Professor Emeritus at Tokyo University; Koji KAMEE, Technical Advisor at Japan Sabo Association; and Nobuo ANYOJI, Director of General Disaster Prevention Dept., SABO Technical Center, made presentations on volcanic sabo in Japan. From the U.S. side, Administrative Officer Mento talked on disaster prevention in the U.S. (Photo1)

At the seminar on Oct. 22, Bruce Houghton, Professor of Volcanology at the Department of Geology and Geophysics, the University of Hawaii, explained natural disasters in Hawaii (Photo2).

Prof. Houghton firstly mentioned that volcanic disasters in Japan's Miyakejima Island and Izu-oshima Island could be a good reference when considering disaster prevention awareness of Hawaiian people. He then briefed hurricanes and tsunamis which occur relatively frequently, and volcanic eruptions. The Q&A session followed on such topics as lava flow countermeasures at Mauna Loa Volcano and the role of universities in public administration. During that session, Prof. Houghton revealed one story ­Mauna Loa lava explosion and training dike construction were planned in 1984, but they were abandoned because of questions on their effectiveness and materials used. According to him, their abandonment was partly influenced by Hawaii's indigenous spiritual and cultural thinking, e.g. native Hawaiians consider eruptions as divine providence. He concluded that, because of such background, the Hawaii state government does not have any disaster prevention plans against lava flows at present.

Photo1: Scene of the Japan­US Joint Seminar

Photo2: Seminar at the University of Hawaii