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Investigating rural community behaviour after the 2004 Chuetsu earthquake: a case study of Kawaguchi town, Japan

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Author(s): M. Gismondi

Journal: Social Geography Discussions
ISSN 1816-1499

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 39;
Date: 2011;
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ABSTRACT
Every year, earthquakes cause economic and human losses around the globe. In Japan, a great deal of attention has focused on improving the safety of structures and individuals in the last decade. The introduction here of several new related policies, together with continuous discussion of such policies, has raised the level of environmental security nationwide. Despite this significant effort, individual preparedness and awareness are still lacking, especially in rural areas, where technological advancements and policy applications often arrive late. In this paper, Kawaguchi town in Niigata Prefecture, Japan was chosen as study area because of both the major damage experienced during the 2004 Chuetsu earthquake and the particularly dynamic socio-cultural activities of the community. Using interviews and questionnaires to collect information, this study aims to investigate the causes of local variations in community behaviour after the earthquake. Geographic location as well as everyday social relationships, social interactions and organisation are considered the main causes of the differences in community organisation during the recovery process. This study highlights the necessity for more localised emergency education in order to promote longer lasting awareness and preparation in rural areas.

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