Nepal

Nepal: The Long Road to Recovery

May 1, 2015 Asia Pacific Memo 2

A Statement from the Institute for Asian Research, University of British Columbia: The Institute for Asian Research at UBC sends its deepest condolences to the people of Nepal in the aftermath of the 7.8 earthquake […]

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Japan

Social Networks and Japan’s 3/11 Disaster

March 6, 2012 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #137 – Social networks matter. They help us find jobs. They influence whether or not we vote and if we gain weight or get buff. Long before last year’s nuclear disaster in Japan, electric power utilities worked with the central government to place atomic power plants in villages along the coast with weaker social networks. […]

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Japan

Japan One Month after the Earthquake (Video Interview with David Edgington)

April 12, 2011 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #72 – One month after the March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake, we followed up with Japanese geography expert David Edgington. He characterized the first month with emergency response, learning, and information gathering. He says most of the major infrastructure has been reconstructed. But getting food and essential services to those affected remains a constant challenge. In the second month, the recovery stage will begin. This includes removing massive amounts of rubble and improving the health of survivors. There will also be efforts to build temporary housing to accommodate about 150,000 survivors who are in evacuation centres, including school gymnasiums. […]

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China

Chinese Artist/Activist Ai Weiwei Detained

April 7, 2011 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #71 – Famous artist, tweeter, and critic of the Chinese authorities Ai Weiwei (艾未未) disappeared on April 3rd, 2011. This marks the latest in a series of arrests and detentions of human rights activists, bloggers, and lawyers in the Chinese government’s crackdown in response to fears of a jasmine revolution in China. Yet rather than having links to a ‘colour’ revolution, it is Ai’s self-assigned role as memory-keeper for the child victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and obsessive recorder of state-sanctioned acts of violence and surveillance that has led to his detention. Ai Weiwei has taken on the time-honoured task of Confucian historian, allocating praise or blame or imperial censor critiquing a ruler’s shortcomings. His is a modern take on ancient roles: documenting abuses and criticizing injustices by using the internet and social media. […]

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Japan

Japanese Buddhism After the Earthquake: Memorials, Spiritual Comfort, and Emergency Response

March 31, 2011 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #69 – On the 7th day after the earthquake, at precisely 2:46 p.m., sirens rang out along Japan’s northeastern coast. Millions paused, placing their palms together and bowing their heads to remember those who were lost. In the Japanese Buddhist funerary cycle, the living perform rites for the dead every 7th day, continuing until the 49th day after death. Spirits of the deceased are believed to spend 49 days traveling to their next rebirth. As communities transition to harsh new realities, Japanese Buddhist groups are hard at work in expected ways, performing memorials for those lost and comforting those displaced. Perhaps unexpectedly, they are also organizing an effective emergency response. […]

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Canada

Former Canadian Ambassador to Japan on the Crisis (Video Interview)

March 22, 2011 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #66 – In an exclusive interview, Joseph Caron discusses the crisis in Japan. As former Ambassador to Japan and Honorary Professor at the Institute of Asian Research, Caron is in a position to evaluate bilateral relations between Canada and Japan following the recent earthquake, tsunami, and problems at the Fukushima Dai’ichi nuclear power plant. Caron notes that the government of Canada has already offered a great deal of support to Japan and may be asked for their expertise on such things as urbanization and construction codes once rebuilding begins. Moreover, he hopes that Canada and Japan can sustain strong political relations during what may be a period of political uncertainty in Japan. […]

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Japan

UBC Japanese Geography Expert – Full Video Interview

March 17, 2011 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #65 – UBC Japanese geography expert, Dr. David Edgington, compares the earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, dubbed the “Sendai Regional Earthquake,” with the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. In his view, the Japanese government’s response to the Sendai Regional Earthquake is a textbook example of emergency response, indicating there have been lessons learned from Kobe. […]

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Japan

Lessons from Rebuilding Kobe after the 1995 Hanshin Earthquake

November 24, 2010 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #40 – The Great Hanshin earthquake devastated Kobe on January 17, 1995, leading to 6000 deaths and the destruction of over 200,000 homes. Beyond immediate reconstruction and recovery, the book, “Reconstructing Kobe: The Geography of Crisis and Opportunity” examines the long-term planning implications of the disaster. What were the city’s objectives in rebuilding urban areas? How were the hundreds of thousands of displaced people housed? How was Kobe’s urban economy affected? […]