Government preparation blunted impact of Tsunami


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If there was ever an event demonstrating the value of infrastructure investment, Japan’s preparation and quick response to the recent tsunami proves it.

Consider for a moment what happened when a similar Act of God occurred in the Indian Ocean seven years ago. Lack of proper seawalls and emergency planning resulted in a far larger loss of life.

The Japanese government response was also impressive, as IHS Global Insight notes:

“Prime Minister Naoto Kan called an emergency cabinet meeting shortly after the earthquake struck. He has said that the natural disaster has caused serious damage across large areas of the country, emphasising that the Tokyo government was making every effort possible to minimize damage. Although there have been no reports of leakage of radioactive materials to the environment, Tokyo has declared a ‘nuclear emergency’ after attempts to cool down a nuclear reactor in a power plant in Fukushima failed to achieve the desired result. Prime Minister Kan has despatched military planes and naval vessels from near Tokyo to the worst-affected regions in Miyagi in order to assess the need for rescue efforts. A senior Japanese official said that the government has received international offers of assistance and that they would be inclined to accept them. The United Nations said 30 international search and rescue teams are on standby to provide assistance.”

As lawmakers in this country consider the cost of creating a comprehensive domestic transportation policy,  one hopes that they will apply a few lessons learned from the Japanese government’s swift reaction during this tragic episode…and take a few pointers as well.

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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