Japan’s Soma City One Year after the Disaster (Video Interview with Dr. David W. Edgington)

Memo #138 (Scroll below to see 6 Video Clips)

Featuring David W. Edgington – david.edgington [at] geog.ubc.ca

Photo by Martin Dee

Dr. David Edgington has conducted research on Soma City, Japan, since last year’s earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. Soma City, one of many devastated communities, is a remote agriculture and fishing town along the coast and is part of the Fukushima prefecture.

In this interview, Dr. Edgington speaks about the reconstruction efforts in Soma City. He mentions that debris has been sorted and put into piles for relocation. But larger Japanese cities hesitate to take this material due to fear of radiation. This debris would be ten years worth of landfill for Soma City.

Dr. Edgington compares Soma City’s reconstruction efforts to the larger, industrial Kobe City, which was devastated by a 1995 earthquake. In Soma City, only in September 2011 had the deputy mayor unveiled the city’s reconstruction plan.

Lessons from Rebuilding Kobe after the 1995 Hanshin Earthquake (Memo #40, Video)

Every municipality in Japan has comprehensive legislation, protocols, and emergency response plans for disasters. But lessons learned from Soma City suggest that communication protocols between different levels of government may need to be altered to reflect the need of small communities such as Soma City.

Soma City (in bright pink), Fukushima Prefecture, Japan

David W. Edgington – Associate Professor, Department of Geography, The University of British Columbia. He teaches courses on Japan and the Pacific Rim. Memo #40 (Video),Memo #65 (Video)Memo #72 (Video)Memo #98

If you enjoyed this memo, subscribe to our e-newsletter for free and receive new memos 2+ times per week via email.

Part 1 – Soma City in the 2011 Japan Disaster (1:12 min)

Part 2 – Debris in Soma City one year later (1:02 min)

Part 3 – Alternative energy in Soma City (1:20 min)

Part 4 – Reviewing Soma City’s disaster response (1:38 min)

Part 5 – Reconstruction planning in Soma City (1:49 min)

Part 6 – Disaster reconstruction in Kobe City and Soma City (1:24 min)


Related Memos:

  • Our other Memos about Japan

Print Friendly
About Asia Pacific Memo 176 Articles
Asia Pacific Memo is published by the Institute of Asian Research (IAR) at The University of British Columbia. Distributed weekly, we feature 350 word essays or video interviews on contemporary Asia.