Disasters are sudden events that are usually accompanied by debilitating effects that not only disrupt the normal functioning of societies but also lead to loss of lives. Counties and communities are encouraged to prepare for these disasters to ensure that the impact is limited. One way of preparing is through the development of emergency plans. These plans act as a blueprint that guides emergency responders during a disaster.


One of the countries in the world that have excelled in handling emergencies is Japan. The development of Japan’s National Emergency Plan involves all strategic stakeholders and the administration from all levels. The CDMC coordinates all the activities during an emergency as stipulated in the plan. Therefore, all nation-states should emulate Japan’s approach to emergencies.  


Nations are often hit by disasters that disrupt the normal functioning of society or cause loss of lives. A disaster refers to a sudden event that is accompanied by debilitating effects on the affected community or nation (Gordon & Gordon, 2015). In most instances, disasters are also accompanied by unnerving frequency. Therefore, nations are encouraged to prepare adequately for disasters to ensure that the occurrence of sudden disastrous incidences is properly managed to avoid massive loss of lives and destruction of properties. 


One way of preparing for disasters is to have a prudently developed emergency plan. According to Alexander (2015), an emergency plan refers to a detailed plan that stipulates how a nation will respond to a catastrophic incident and the provision of humanitarian assistance to individuals and communities that have been affected by the disaster. The plan also entails dealing with risks or avoiding risks in some instances, and rebuilding the society that has been affected by a natural or man-made disaster. The primary objective of emergency plans to ensure that relevant agencies respond effectively to a disaster. 


An effective emergency plan is the one that involves stakeholders at all governmental levels and non-governmental organizations (Alexander, 2015). This is because activities at one level influence activities in other levels hence the need for seamless coordination between all the stakeholders providing a primary response during an emergency. Some of the disasters that nations often face include floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and cyclones which are categorized as natural disasters. Man-made disasters include terrorist attacks, oil spills, industrial accidents, and nuclear explosions. Therefore, this post assesses Japan’s National Emergency Plan as a classic example of a country with a laudable emergency plan due to its susceptibility to natural disasters. 

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The nation-state of Japan is an island, found in the Eastern of Asia that is located in the Pacific Ocean. Japan shares its borders with North and South Korea, China, Taiwan, Russia, the Sea of Okhotsk, the East China Sea, and the Sea of Japan. It is also important to note that Japan is an archipelago that is comprised of 6,852 islands. Most of these Islands are characterized by volcanic mountains (Shibusawa, 2018)


Japan is run by a parliamentary system of governance that is comprised of a constitutional monarchy whereby the prime minister is the head of the government and the emperor is the head of the state. Also, the economy of Japan is a free market economy whereby the free market pricing system determines the prices of commodities in the market (Tipton, 2017)


Due to its geographical location, in the Ring of Fire, Japan is often affected by disasters. Records indicate that out of the five most devastating natural disasters that occurred recently, two occurred in Japan (Shimada, 2015). Consequently, in the 21st century, Japan has experienced over 10 natural disasters with debilitating effects.


These natural disasters are volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, cyclones, and typhoons (Shimada, 2015). The occurrence of these disasters is accompanied by revenue loss as well as the loss of lives. Therefore, due to the frequent occurrence of these natural disasters, the government of Japan has developed a National Emergency Plan the guides the government and other strategic stakeholders on how to respond to an emergency.


In order to understand Japan’s National Emergency Plan, this reports utilized secondary data. This is the data that is readily available, data that had been collected by researchers or research agencies (Bryman, 2016). To ensure reliability and validity of the utilized data, this report utilized peer reviewed journals for reputable online data bases.

The search focused solely on disasters in Japan and the government’s effort in limiting the impact of these disasters in collaboration with other relevant agencies. The report adopted a descriptive research design. Descriptive research method involves description of the phenomenon under investigation (Bryman, 2016). The phenomenon under investigation for the report was how the national government of Japan responds to emergencies during natural disasters.


The National Emergency Plan has been developed by the Japanese Disaster Management System under the leadership of the Minister for Disaster Management. The ministry’s department, Bureau of Disaster Management is responsible for the planning of basic emergency policies and coordinates response teams when an emergency occurs (Cole et al. 2017). There is also the Central Disaster Management Council (CDMC) which is comprised of cabinet ministers, relevant organization’s representatives, and disaster management experts who regularly meet to discuss the development of emergency plans and policies guiding responses to emergencies (Cole, et al. 2017). This council is in charge of disaster management and execution of the National Emergency Plan. 


Similarly, all three levels of administration of Japan are involved in the development of the National Emergency Plan. These levels include the National Government, Prefectures, and the Municipalities. The national government develops an emergency plan and the heads of the other two are required to develop an emergency plan with a structure that is similar to the National Emergency Plan. The plans stipulate activities that should be performed at different stages during an emergency (Aoki, 2015)


Upon the occurrence of a disaster, an Emergency Response Team, which is comprised of the relevant agencies, managing directors, and related ministries are required to meet in the office of the Prime Minister within 30 minutes to determine the preliminary courses of action to be taken concerning the provision of emergency services. A cabinet meeting follows to determine further courses of action. A temporary emergency headquarters is established to coordinate all the activities during the emergency.


However, the headquarters responds to the emergency as instructed by the office of the Prime Minister (Aoki, 2015). The establishment of an onsite emergency headquarters ensures that prompt and accurate responses that are reliable are provided. For example, in 2014 when the Hiroshima landslide occurred, an onsite emergency headquarters was set up, similarly, Prefectural and Municipal emergency centers were set up alongside the emergency headquarters. These centers were being coordinated by the cabinet minister who was receiving instructions directly from the office of the Prime minister.

Japan’s National Emergency Plan is developed systematically involving all the relevant stakeholders as well as utilizing lessons learned from the previous disasters emergencies (Cole, et al. 2017). Therefore, this section of the report illustrates how the CDMC develops an emergency plan in response to an anticipated emergency. Within the next 30 years, the council anticipates the occurrence of two major Earthquakes with a magnitude 9 and above emergencies (Cole, et al. 2017). Reports further indicate that CDMC has been reviewing the estimated damage of the anticipated disaster based on past incidences such as the Great East Japan Earthquake, to come up with an appropriate emergency plan. 


CDMC has determined that the anticipated earthquakes are likely to lead to massive deaths and destruction of the infrastructure if appropriate measures cannot be put in place. Therefore, a National Emergency Plan has already been developed to respond appropriately. This plan is comprised of five categories: (1) emergency responders, (2) emergency evacuation routes, (3) firefighting, medical supplies, and (4) provision of first aid services (Cole, et al. 2017)


Drawing lessons from the Great East Japan Earthquake, the plan indicates that the emergency response team will swing into action without waiting for assistance requests. Designated first responders include Defense Forces, the Police, Firefighters, and Paramedics. Each category has its activities. Lifesaving is expected to be carried out within a maximum of 72 hours (Cole, et al. 2017)


Japan’s National Emergency Plan is one of the most effective plans in the World in managing emergencies. However, to make the National Emergency Plan more efficacious, the CDMC should; increase the frequency of the revision of plans with more focus on small-scale scale disasters as well, the other levels of government should come up with plans that address challenges unique to their areas, and lastly, public participation and preparedness should be encouraged. 


Disasters are sudden occurrences accompanied by devastating effects. This implies that countries and communities should be adequately prepared to ensure the impact of these incidences is limited. Japan is one of the countries in the world that has demonstrated its effectiveness in handling emergencies. This is because it prepares by having a tailored National Emergency Plan that is used when an anticipated incidence occurs. Therefore, other countries should emulate this good practice to ensure that the impact of disasters is limited.

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