With the marking of the 13th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March, companies and local authorities in Iwate Prefecture are exploring ways to utilize artificial intelligence to strengthen disaster prevention and mitigation.

Last November, the city of Rikuzentakata in the prefecture became the first in Japan to launch a system that automatically calls registered residents simultaneously to monitor their evacuation status in the event of a disaster.

Utilizing AI, the system relays evacuation instructions to those who have registered their telephone numbers in advance, and then asks questions such as "Are you evacuating?" When residents respond verbally with their location and whether or not they are injured, the AI system then converts the response into text, which is then sent to the city's emergency operations center.