Dr. Hiromu Okada and other science advisers to Toya-Usu Geopark attended the international conference "COV6-Tenerife 2010" held in Canary Islands, Spain from May 31 to June 4, 2010. They participated in the sessions themed "Volcanic National Parks, Protected Areas, Biosphere Reserves, Geoparks and Landscape management" and so on. Their session abstract is below;
Cities on Volcanoes
May 31 - June 4, 2010
Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
"Media’s Efforts Encouraging Volcano Safety Culture before the 2000 Mt. Usu Eruption, Japan"
(In the Session 2.5: Communication strategies for reducing volcanic risk)
Ex-Editor, Hokkaido Branch of Asahi News Paper Co, Sapporo/Japan
Crisis & Environment Management Policy Institute, Hokkaido Branch, Sapporo/Japan
The 2000 eruption of Mt. Usu, Japan was a successful case of eruption prediction, in terms of the view that nearly 15,000 local inhabitants had completed necessary evacuation before the eruption outbreak, as similar as that in the 1910 eruption just 100 years ago. One of the authors (SK) who was working at the time as an editor of Hokkaido Branch, Asahi News Paper Company had published 275 series of news stories focusing on the active volcanoes in Hokkaido, Japan over preceding 6 years (1994-1999) prior to the 2000 eruption. Those articles were later published also in a form of three popular books (total 643 pages) in 1995, 1998 and 1999. The efforts was very timely and played significant contribution creating volcano safety culture and positive behavior change toward close collaboration among people, officials, scientists and journalists. He had also offered a first face-to-face meeting opportunity between the director of volcano observatory (HO) and Mr. Okamura, the Abuta (presently Toyako) Mayor, only after 15 years since its 1977 Sub-Plenean eruption. It was well known that Abuta Town who operate Toyako Onsen Spa first ignored and later strongly refused an idea of volcano hazard map, at least until 1992, but later accepted a drastic mind change toward better utilization of a volcano hazard map. The Mayor’s final declaration was announced on August 8, 1994, shortly after the Koike’s news paper series on Mt. Usu. Mr. Okamura later insisted that the main factor of his behavior change was attributed to the impact of the 1993 Okushiri Tsunami Disaster. Major volcanic crises during the era such as 1985 Mt. Ruiz, 1988-1989 Mt. Tokachi and 1991 Mt. Unzen&Pinatubo, and also major earthquakes/tsunamis (ex. 1993 Kushiro/Okushiri, later 1995 Kobe) had provided timely cue for learning earth’s activity and the way of better co-existence with them.