OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies. Japan


Large-scale Floods and Earthquakes




Damages to economic assets resulting from natural disasters have soared in the past fifteen years, and climate change models forecast intensified exposure to extreme weather in many OECD countries.


The occurrence of flooding in Europe for the period 1998-2006 more than doubled compared with 1990-1998, while in North America the spectre of hurricane season is an annual threat to coastal communities. Seismic risks remain a key concern for countries such as Mexico and Turkey, both of which have a perilous record of earthquakes.


As economic assets and populations continue to concentrate in urban centres, the damages from such disasters will increasingly test emergency response capabilities and the public’s resilience.

Governments at national, regional and local levels will need to efficiently and effectively manage a broad value chain of risk management policies to confront these challenges.


This OECD review of risk management policies focuses on Japan, a country whose geography, topography and climate subject it to serious natural hazards, especially seismic activity and typhoons.


This report looks at how Japan monitors, prepares for and responds to floods and earthquakes. It identifies good practices and areas where improvements could be made.


The case studies consider several issues of particular interest to policymakers, such as how to take climate change into account for long term policy planning related to large scale floods, and Japan’s unique earthquake insurance scheme for damages whose probability and impact are hard to accurately assess.


Moreover, the report offers lessons that other countries can draw from on the integration of various phases in the risk management cycle - from risk assessment to disaster recovery.


Table of contents


Part 1. Large Scale Floods
Executive Summary
Chapter 1. Introduction: Flood Risks in Japan
Chapter 2. Integrated Approach to Flood Risk Management
Chapter 3. Risk Assessment and Communication
Chapter 4. Flood Prevention and Damage Mitigation
Chapter 5. Emergency Response
Chapter 6. Recovery
Annex I.1. Basin Territory River Administration in France
Annex I.2. The United Kingdom Administration of Flood Risk Management
Annex I.3. Flood Protection and Climate Change - the Bavarian Adaptation Strategy
Annex I.4. The United Kingdom Use of Flood Risk Maps
Annex I.5. International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine
Annex I.6. The Dutch System for Emergency and Crisis Management
Annex I.7. Administrative Organisation of Emergency Response in Sweden
Annex I.8. Post-Disaster Experiences Collection and Communication in France
Annex I.9. The Post-Disaster Recovery Stage: A Step towards Enforcement of Risk Culture
Annex I.11. Self-Assessment Questionnaire
Annex I.12. List of Institutions Interviewed

Part 2. Earthquakes
Executive Summary
Chapter 7. Introduction: Seismic Risks in Japan
Chapter 8. The General Policy Framework
Chapter 9. Risk Assessment and Communication
Chapter 10. Disaster Prevention
Chapter 11. Emergency Preparedness and Response
Chapter 12. Post-Event Issues
Annex II.1. Methodology
Annex II.2. Self-Assessment Questionnaires
Annex II.3. List of Institutions Interviewed
Annex II.4. Members of the Steering Group


How to obtain this publication


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For more information on our work on Risk Management, please contact: and Sté





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