A gathering on disaster preparedness by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation members officially kicked off Tuesday, featuring case studies on how businesses overcame the damage inflicted by the March 11 catastrophe that wiped out many of their footholds in the Tohoku region.

The three-day APEC Workshop on Private Sector Emergency Preparedness meeting in Sendai focuses on promoting business continuity plans (BCPs) among the member economies with the aim of improving risk management for the private sector and to create a more resilient supply chain in the region.

"Besides threatening lives and possessions, disasters disrupt smooth business activities and present a major obstacle to the world economy," State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Chiaki Takahashi said in an opening address.