WIT Press

Great East Japan Earthquake Damage And Local Government Relief


Free (open access)





Page Range

209 - 219




1,041 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


C. Doi, M. Taniguchi


Japan sustained catastrophic damage from The Great East Japan Earthquake and its consequent tsunami on March 11, 2011. Those events caused economic losses estimated at more than 210 billion US dollars. Moreover, the disasters demonstrated the threat of natural disasters to other nations. Local governments affected by the earthquake depended on assistance offered by other local governments because they faced dire but unpredicted circumstances. Many researchers have examined international assistance, but no comprehensive perspective of assistance from other domestic areas has been reported. Improving the organization of assistance from all parts of Japan is an urgent necessity for preparation for large-scale disasters. This study analyzed Japanese local government websites, particularly examining all aspects of their support motivation and their actual support conditions. Data used for the study were downloaded from 1554 Japanese local governments’ websites, except for those which applied the Disaster Relief Act. Data were collected from websites under strict rules to produce objective analyses. Descriptions on websites were related to their assistance efforts after The Great East Japan Earthquake such as charity, supply of goods, physical support, provision of municipal houses, and recruiting of field activities. The database was created from information extracted from numerous websites, including its contexts. The extracted information included descriptions of the presence or absence of assistance, victims and destinations of assistance, etc. Results show that some local governments were helping stricken regions via neighboring areas based on local extended government unions. Relations among local governments are important to facilitate their voluntary assistance to other regions and their government associations. Moreover, daily interregional exchange can assist mutual assistance in extreme situations.


assistance, domestic local governments, motivation, Great East Japan Earthquake