Dr. Robert D. Eldridge, North Asia Director for the Global Risk Mitigation Foundation, conducted a 5
Dr. Robert D. Eldridge, North Asia Director for the Global Risk Mitigation Foundation, conducted a 5-day research trip by mountain bike along the western coast of Shikoku Prefecture and parts of Ehime Prefecture in western Japan to study the likely effects of a Nankai or Nankai Trough Earthquake and Tsunami in the area. He covered more than 200 km, traveling along the coastal roads through each port town conducting his assessment and speaking with local residents. He has previously traveled through Tokushima and Wakayama Prefectures to the east, Miyazaki Prefecture to the west, for similar studies, and will be taking another trip by mountain bike to the eastern part of Shikoku Prefecture and southern Tokushima Prefecture. Kochi Prefecture is the 18th largest prefecture in Japan (out of 47), but will likely be the most impacted by the future disaster. Eldridge has written numerous policy recommendations on disaster response, mitigation, and preparedness and will be preparing a book for Japanese readers in the near future. Here, he is photographed (on July 15, the first day of his journey) speaking with a local resident about the evacuation tower behind him built in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Due to the fact that the tsunami would likely come in a short time and the flat area surrounding the community with no high ground, the tower is meant to allow residents to evacuate up high quickly. It includes a slope for older people and those in wheel chairs, of which there are many in the increasingly aging countryside. In 2011, Dr. Eldridge created the Disaster Cooperation Program for the U.S. Marine Corps in Japan to build partnerships with local communities in Japan ahead of time to allow its response, if requested by the Government of Japan, to be that much faster with a knowledge of the local geography, needs, and community leaders. Kochi Prefecture was one of the official participants in this program due to Dr. Eldridge's personal (including family) and professional connections in the area.