• Kyodo

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Tens of thousands of civil servants and representatives of nongovernmental organizations are to meet in the Tohoku region this spring to examine global approaches to disaster response.

The U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will be held in the city of Sendai from March 14 to 18, with participants expected to adopt guidelines on bolstering countermeasures to climate-related disasters, which are worsening in some parts of the world.

It is the third time for the Japanese government to host the conference. The event previously took place in Yokohama in 1994 and in Hyogo Prefecture in 2005.

The government hopes the conference will draw on its experiences of the March 2011 quake and tsunami, and it plans to stress the importance of preparation.

Minister for disaster management Eriko Yamatani will chair the conference, with attendees at the meeting and related events expected to total around 40,000 people, including ministers, heads of international organizations and representatives of nongovernmental organizations from around the world.

The guidelines to be adopted are expected to incorporate the Hyogo action plan, which was passed at the previous conference and which stipulated the international community’s approach to strengthening resilience to disasters through 2015.

The guidelines are expected to stress the importance of disaster prevention measures and investment in infrastructure in developing countries so that natural calamities do not hamper economic growth.

The Japanese government is expected to use the opportunity to showcase its disaster reduction technologies and expertise, while explaining what the country has done to recover from the March 2011 disasters.

Related symposiums and other events will be held in Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. There will be tours to disaster-hit areas, such as Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and the Iwate city of Rikuzentakata, which was hit hard by the tsunami.