Cultural Heritage Disaster Response

Disaster Response Guidelines
Coordinated systems for handling cultural heritage disaster risk management and emergency response can broadly be divided into three types:
  • Intra-prefectural networks
  • Inter-prefectural networks (collaboration over a wider area)
  • Networks comprised of nationwide specialist organizations related to cultural heritage
Ideally, the intra- or inter-prefectural networks would respond in the event of a disaster. However, when they are unable to respond, networks of specialist organizations must lend a hand.
Our disaster response guidelines outline a basic policy for how organizations on the Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Management Promotion Council should collaborate and share information when asked for assistance as specialist organizations.
Cultural Heritage Rescue Programme
At the behest of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, thirteen cultural heritage and art-related institutions established the "Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters" (Secretariat: Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties under the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage). The committee's purpose was to rescue cultural heritage that had been damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. It was dissolved in March 2013, after two years of salvaging operations. From July 2014, the Agency for Cultural Affairs began promoting cultural heritage disaster risk management networks using financing from a Grant for Culture and Arts Promotion (part of the Project to Support Art Museums and History Museums in Priority Areas)and later established the Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Management Center as a permanent successor of the committee.
Dispatch Conservators for Historic Buildings
The Dispatch Conservators for Historic Buildings program was initiated after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The program provided technological support toward understanding the extent of damage to historical buildings in disaster areas, including those without special historical designations, and working toward their restoration.Between 2011 and 2013, over 600 researchers conducted damage assessments and provided restoration support for over 4,500 historical buildings.The program also provided assistance after an earthquake in Kumamoto in 2016, and over 4,100 researchers conducted damage assessments on over 2,000 historical buildings.