Public Seminar on International Humanitarian Assistance

Lessons learned of the Great East Japan Earthquake: Aiming to be a more effective actor in international assistance

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Japanese Red Cross Society, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will organize an event titled ‘Public Seminar on International Humanitarian
Assistance’ at the Japanese Red Cross College of Nursing (in Shibuya-ku) on Thursday, 5 July.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake, many people in Japan realized a strong bond between Japan and the international community through the emergency and recovery assistance offered by various national, regional and international agencies. The disaster turned Japan from an aid donor to an aid recipient, which made people reconsider what would be needed for effective emergency relief and humanitarian assistance and how Japan should prepare itself as an aid recipient in case of an emergency.

In the face of frequent humanitarian crises such as natural disasters, conflicts and food insecurity across the world, what would be more effective international assistance that ensures that the needs and views of the affected populations? Having experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake, what responsibilities Japan should fulfill as a member of the international community?

Ms. Gwi-Yeop Son, OCHA’s Director of Corporate Programmes, is to present a keynote speech on the framework of international humanitarian assistance. While introducing Japan’s contributions to international emergencies response and humanitarian assistance, we will discuss how to strengthen the collaboration and coordination among various actors during the emergency phase, together with experts from the Japanese government, NGOs, the private sector, and the Japanese Red Cross Society. We look forward to your active participation in the event.

We also plan to hold a joint press conference in the Seminar Room No. 2 (2nd floor) after the seminar.

1. Date: 14:00 -17:40 (Open from 13:30), 5 July 2012 (Thu.)

2. Venue: Hiroo Hall, Japan Red Cross College of Nursing Hiroo Campus 4-1-3 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

3. Organisers: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Japan International Cooperation Agency
(JICA) , Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS)

4. Program (Tentative):

14:00-14:10 Opening remarks
Mr. Kenzo Oshima, Former UN Under-Secretary-General (Humanitarian Affairs)and Former Vice Senior President of JICA

Session 1: Lectures - Framework of International Humanitarian Assistance and Japan

14:10-14:40 Keynote speech: International humanitarian action and partnerships with Japan
Ms. Gwi-Yeop Son, Director of Corporate Programs, OCHA

14:40-14:55 Japan’s Humanitarian Assistance Policy
Mr. Yutaka Aoki, Director, Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Relief Division, International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

14:55-15:10 Role of JICA in emergency humanitarian assistance
Ms. Kae Yanagisawa, Director-General, Secretariat of Japan Disaster Relief Team, JICA

- Break -

Session 2: Panel Discussions - To Apply the Experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake for Future Disasters in Japan and Other

15:20-15:25 Introductions

15:25-15:55 Presentations by panelists

15:55-17:15 Discussions

Issue 1: What gaps were observed during the Great East Japan
Earthquake in terms of the collaboration and coordination among
national disaster-response organizations? How we can fill such gaps in the next possible large scale natural disaster in Japan?

Issue 2: Based on the lessons learned of the Great East Japan
Earthquake, what can Japan do to better contribute in international
disaster relief and humanitarian assistance? What roles and
responsibilities should various Japanese humanitarian agencies fulfill? What kind of collaboration among the actors is expected to that end?

17:15-17:30 Q&A session

17:30-17:35 Overview of the discussions

17:35-17:40 Closing remarks
Mr. Hiroshi Higashiura, International Humanitarian Studies Center, the Japanese Red Cross Society

17:50-18:30 Press conference

5. Language: Japanese
(As the keynote speech by Ms. Son will be presented in English, a summary in Japanese will be distributed.)

6. Panelists:

  • Mr. Masaki Watabe, Head of Kobe Office, OCHA
  • Mr. Noriyuki Shiina, Secretary General, Japan Platform
  • Shinichiro Oe, Deputy Director, International Office for Disaster Management, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan
  • Mr. Tadashi Saito, Director, Political and Social Affairs Bureau, Japan Business Federation (Keidanren)
  • Mr. Naoki Kokawa, Deputy Director General, International Department, Operations Sector, Japanese Red Cross Society
    * Facilitator: Ms. Kae Yanagisawa, JICA

7. Application and contact:
Please apply by e-mail, stating (1) your name and (2) your organisation, addressed to The provided information will be kept in a confidencial manner and used only for the purpose of this seminar.

For more information, please contact:
Messrs. Katsube, Taniguchi, Japan Disaster Relief Team Secretariat, JICA
Tel: 03-5226-8397/6583