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Flood Fighting Drill Tour 2019: 68th Flood Fighting Drill in the Tonegawa River Basin

On May 18, the 68th Flood Fighting Drill in the Tonegawa River Basin took place , in the City of Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture. This drill is aimed at handing down Japan’s traditional flood prevention techniques and raising public awareness of flood prevention. This type of annual event, organized by by Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) and riparian municipalities along major rivers, are conducted across Japan prior to the flooding season involving many stakeholders including flood-fighting teams, local residents, and other people concerned with disaster prevention. The drill in the Tone River basin is one of the biggest of the kind in Japan.

Japan Water Forum (JWF) has been organizing the Flood Fighting Drill Tour since 2006 for officials from embassies and international organizations in Tokyo, with the aim of transmitting information to the rest of the world about our experience and the lessons learnt from water disasters, as well as traditional flood fighting activities carried out by local residents. Twenty officials from embassies in Tokyo and thirteen countries, including Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from Republic of Congo and Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and Charge d’Affaires ad interim of Republic of Mozambique to observe the drill and experience the hands-on activities together with other embassy officials.

At the exhibition area, JWF had an exhibition tent to enlighten visitors and the tour participants of the current water situation around the world through a quiz-style poster exhibition and and introduced JWF’s activities connecting with SDGs.

JWF will keep providing information about Japan’s traditional flood fighting techniques and the disaster prevention systems based on public-private partnerships. Transmitting Japanese knowhow to the world, we are committed to help enhance flood prevention capabilities throughout the world.

Outline of the 68th Flood Fighting Drill in the Tonegawa River Basin

Date Saturday, 18 May, 2019
Venue Yobe-cho, City of Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture
Organaizers MLIT; Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaraki, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, and Kanagawa Prefectural Governments; City of Ashikaga
Outline of the Drill

Opening ceremony

Flood Fighting Drill, Part 1

Flood Fighting Drill, Part 2

Closing ceremony

Number of participants Approx. 16,000, including guests and visitors

Outline of Flood Fighting Drill Tour 2019 for Embassy Officials

Objective Providing an opportunity to officials from embassies and international organizations in Tokyo for observation and to take part in the flood fighting drills
Agenda – Drill site visit (demonstration of the flood fighting techniques, observation of rescue and relief training and hands-on practice of making sand bags and rope work).
– Inspection visit to the Watarase Retarding Basin
Participants 20 embassy officials from 13 countries including the Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from Republic of Congo and Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Charged’ Affaires ad interim of Republic of Mozambique (participating countries: Ethiopia, Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Iraq, India, Indonesia, Brazil, France, Mexico, Maldives, Moldova, Romania and Russia/Japanese alphabetical order)

After the drill, the tour group visited the Watarase Retarding Basin for the latter part of the Tour. The Watarase Retarding Basin is located in the middle reaches of the Tone River, stretching over four prefectures, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama and Ibaraki. It plays an important role for controlling flood as tremendous quantity of assets concentrated on its lower reach areas. The tour group inspected the operation center that has been under earthquake-resistance construction to learn about the importance of disaster-resilient facilities as well as how to control the amount of water within the reservoir.

JWF received high evaluation from the participants on the ways of inheriting flood fighting techniques and combined practices of high-technology and traditional wisdoms as well as some feedbacks of wanting to follow good practices of Japan, etc.

A scene from the drill (Part I)   Rope work activity
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 At the exhibition tent of JWF

At the exhibition tent of FRICS
Quiz-style exhibition at the JWF tent Group photo at the operation center of Watarase Retarding Basin

(Reported by Naomi Kato, Coordinator)

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