Volunteering in Tohoku - after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami – John Black

  • 16 Mar 2016
  • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • TressCox, 16F MLC Centre, Martin Place, Sydney

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On March 11, 2011, the eastern part of Japan suffered devastating damage due to the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and an induced tsunami.

AJS member John Black, who was in Sendai on the day of the earthquake, returned with Japanese colleagues from a Japanese NPO (Strategic Lifecycle Infrastructure Management (SLIM)) soon afterwards to survey the debris clean up along the Miyagi and Iwate coastline. Over the last five years, he has undertaken various interrelated volunteer activities and research projects primarily in the town of Ishinomaki where some 3,800 people lost their lives and more than 34,000 residents were displaced.

With this background, he will talk first-hand about: the general recovery of the Tohoku region and Ishinomaki in particular; debris clean up and engineering designs for “Green Hill” as part of a team from his NPO, and “relationship conflicts” with the Japanese National Government; and post-tsunami transport problems in Ishinomaki caused by residential re-location into temporary housing. He will also make some observations about volunteering in Japan, in contrast with previous experience in war-ravaged Eritrea.

Speaker Bio

John Black was appointed as the Foundation Professor of  Transport Engineering at UNSW in 1984, and now is an Emeritus Professor there and an Honorary Professor at Sydney University, Faculty of Health Sciences. He has held appointments as a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Nagoya, Tohoku and Saitama. He is a founder member of the NPO SLIM and a member of the AJBCC's Infrastructure Planning Committee. He is also a qualified Australian Cricket Board coach with experience in coaching the Japan national team.

He has had an engagement with Japan and its culture since the 1970s, through zenga, sumi-e and tea ceremony, and has friendships with Japanese engineers that began with the Sydney Harbour Tunnel proposal.

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