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JWF News ❘ December 2020: From Local Disasters to Global Pandemic


【JWF News Vol. 194】16 December 2020


◇ Contents ◇

・Forward From Local Disasters to Global Pandemic

・Announcement from the Japan Water Forum
– Invitation to the 5th APWF Webinar (22 Dec 2020 15:00 – 16:00 JST)

・Report from the Japan Water Forum
– Summary of the 4rd APWF webinar


From Local Disasters to Global Pandemic
By Dr. Kotaro Takemura, Secretary General of the Japan Water Forum


The Japanese Archipelago Has Experienced All Kinds of Disaster
 Here we are in December, 2020. I have been struggling with water-related disasters throughout my life, fighting against damage caused by flooding and water shortages brought about by droughts, but this will be a memorable year for me.
 Since the old days, Japan has been known as “a showcase of disasters”. There is no type of disaster that hasn’t afflicted Japan. There have been typhoons, heavy rains, heavy snowfalls, high tides, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslides, sediment disasters, cyclones, heat waves, droughts, frost damage, and wildfires. In addition we have suffered from urban fires, plagues, wartime air raids, atomic bombings, and nuclear accidents.
 Japanese lives have been lost ephemerally like ginkgo leaves falling in early winter. Those living on the Japanese archipelago have endured disaster after disaster. In a sense, the Japanese have accepted these various disasters with an attitude of nonchalance. There is a reason for this.
 The Japanese archipelago stretches about 3,500km from north to south. It is a collection of islands divided by straits and mountains. In the center of the archipelago lies a mountain range with a height of 2,000 to 3,000 meters, which forms the country’s backbone. Numerous rivers flow down these mountains and divide the land. Therefore, the topography of the Japanese archipelago is divided up by straits and rivers.

Survival of the Japanese Archipelago
 In the past, disasters were confined to a particular region by topographical conditions. Damage caused by large-scale floods, serious droughts, large earthquakes, major epidemics, atomic bombs and radioactive contamination was limited to the region where the disaster has occurred.
 When Fukuoka prefecture suffered from a serious drought, people in neighboring Kumamoto prefecture were able to continue life normally. Even when an atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima, people in Okayama lived as usual. When low-lying areas were completely devastated by flooding, higher ground remained safe.
 If a certain region was affected by a serious disaster, neighboring areas remained safe. Since the Japanese archipelago was divided by topography, a particular area would be damaged by a disaster but the rest of the archipelago remained intact.
 When a disaster strikes a particular region, people and organizations from neighboring areas always help the victims. Volunteers from across Japan get together to provide aid for reconstruction work. In disaster-prone Japan, people have always survived by helping each other.
  In 2020, however, the pattern of disasters in Japan has completely changed.

The Pandemic
 At the beginning of this year, we heard news of an infectious disease which had appeared in Wuhan, China. The infectious disease spread throughout the world like wildfire. Then we heard the term “pandemic” together with “novel coronavirus”, which referred to an infectious disease that was spreading across countries and continents.
 The novel coronavirus spread very quickly from a passenger ship in Yokohama to all parts of Japan. Everyone became aware that pandemics were infectious diseases that spread throughout the whole world. One of the characteristics of this disaster is that people can’t help each other. We can only defend ourselves by wearing masks, setting up plastic partitions, and practicing social distancing.
 The situation is the same in every region. Inter-regional traffic has been forcefully or voluntarily restricted. This is a fight against a new type of disaster that we have never experienced. Humanity has to overcome the novel coronavirus. The key to the war against this infectious disease is water. To be more exact, hand-washing. This is a universal standard.
  Therefore, we have renewed our determination to promote partnerships and cooperation regarding water across national borders as the mission of the Japan Water Forum (JWF). Our common enemy is the global pandemic. The JWF has been involved in cross-border partnerships and cooperation. We have knowledge and international information networks we can use in the fight against the pandemic.
  We have already begun our new initiative towards this end. We will brace ourselves and await a new year filled with hope.


・Announcement from the Japan Water Forum


– Invitation to the 5th APWF Webinar (22 Dec 2020 15:00 – 16:00 JST)

The Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) would like to cordially invite you to join our 5th APWF Webinar.
Topic: Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) 2020 and Water Financing in Asia and the Pacific
The Speakers:
– Dr. Tom Panella, Chief-Water Sector Group, Asian Development Bank, and
– Dr. Xavier Leflaive The leader of the OECD Resilience, Adaptation and Water Team, Environment Directorate, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

▼The Registration▼


・Report from the Japan Water Forum


– Summary of the 4th APWF webinar

APWF has been organizing the APWF webinar series as a part of the important preparation process for the 4th APWS. The objective of the APWF webinar series is to widen and deep-dive into the knowledge of government officials from 49 countries in Asia and the Pacific, including those working in Japanese embassies and the practitioners in the world, and to hold discussions on the latest water and water-related issues from different perspectives.

The 4th APWF webinar was organized on 26th November 2020. Dr. Torkil Jønch Clausen, Chair, Action Platform for Source to Sea Management, talked about Integrated Water Resources Management from Source to Sea – linking the Water SDG 6 and Ocean SDG 14.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼,rep_en

(Reported by Yumiko Asayama, Manager)


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JWF News Vol. 194 / 16 December 2020
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