Revisiting Tohoku’s 5-year recovery: Community rebuilding policies, programs and implementation

Kanako Iuchi, Robert Olshansky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


With time, details of the rebuilding efforts in the Tohoku region of Japan are fading even though reconstruction is still underway. To document and analyze rebuilding efforts, this chapter longitudinally reviews 5 years of Tohoku recovery after the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE) with an emphasis on community rebuilding strategies, programs and their implementation status. This chapter focuses on two topics: first, the rationales for recovery planning and the coordinated reconstruction approaches at national, prefectural, and local government levels; second, the use of community rebuilding programs by local governments. Authors initiated Tohoku rebuilding research soon after the March 2011 disaster occurred, and sets of analysis in this chapter are based on numerous formal interviews and unofficial conversations held in the affected localities as well as with national and prefectural government officials. Additionally, publicly available information and data from the Reconstruction Agency were used to analyze the community rebuilding programs. Revisiting Tohoku’s 5-year recovery shows that the national, prefectural, and local governments have developed rebuilding concepts and ideas, established institutions and programs to proceed with reconstruction, and made various implementation decisions to rebuild Tohoku stronger against future tsunamis. In particular, local governments have continuously been leading for the past 5 years to decide land use policies and adopt programs for stronger and safer community reconstruction. Analysis indicates that the number of districts using community rebuilding programs totals over 860, which explains why the Tohoku reconstruction itself is such a great challenge. Even with this challenge, however, we also found that local governments have extended their efforts to use community rebuilding programs in ways that best suit each of their recovery needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research
ISSN (Print)1878-9897
ISSN (Electronic)2213-6959


  • Collective relocation
  • Community rebuilding programs
  • Land readjustment
  • Public housing
  • Tohoku recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economic Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Revisiting Tohoku’s 5-year recovery: Community rebuilding policies, programs and implementation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this