Disaster info network takes root in wake of Hanshin quake

OSAKA — Lifeline suppliers and television and radio broadcasters based in the Kansai region on May 12 announced the creation of a network to enable smooth collection of information at times of disasters.

Kansai Life-Line Mass Com. Conference, to be headed by Kojiro Niino, president of Kobe Institute of Urban Research, will hold its first annual meeting June 5. “In Japan, we don’t have sufficient risk management for natural disasters, such as how to take emergency measures and how to reduce or recover from damages,” Niino said. “We think it is necessary to create a place where all the information on the conditions of lifeline damage or recovery can be gathered and given out systematically.”

After the Hanshin earthquake struck two years ago, survivors and the mass media had difficulty collecting sufficient data on water supply, gas leaks, hospitals that provide dialysis and other daily necessities. The group includes public relations officers from: Hankyu Corp., Osaka Gas Co., Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., Kansai Electric Power Co. and seven television and radio broadcasters.

Hiroyuki Kabasawa of Mainichi Broadcasting System said the group hopes to invite local government waterworks bureaus, hospitals and other mass media companies, noting they plan to set up a home page on the Internet in the future.