Commission Grantee – San Jose State University

Learning from Japan – Improving post-earthquake economic recovery


Japan is, like California, located along the “Ring of Fire” and subject to frequent earthquakes.  Japan was one of the first nations to build an earthquake early warning system (EEWS) and it is used and trusted.  In the past decade Japan has experienced numerous earthquakes, but the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011 and the Great Hanshin (Kobe) earthquake of 1995 had devastating impacts on the people and industry that experienced strong shaking.

Since the Tohoku Earthquake experience, the Japanese national and local governments implemented numerous measures to help drive the recovery, and growth, of affected businesses.  This provides an opportunity to learn from the experience of the Japanese to identify post-earthquake economic recovery measures that could apply to California.

The Seismic Safety Commission has partnered with San Jose State University to work with Japan affiliated California businesses to learn from the experiences of their Japanese parent firms and partners, in an effort to accelerate California’s post-earthquake economic recovery. This project consists of a survey of the recovery measures implemented by the Japanese governments, and if available, learn how effective these measures have been.  It will also include surveying California firms with Japanese affiliations to determine their perceived needs for earthquake recovery assistance.

This project also includes seminars for Japanese companies in northern and southern California to educate them on the earthquake threat in the State. These seminars will also cover the regulations designed to accelerate economic recovery and information on US federal, state and local programs that can assist their businesses.

Together with other programs the Commission has sponsored, such as that with the California Small Business Development Commission, this work will help inform the development of a broad business/economic recovery strategy for the State of California.