The Japan Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (JVOAD) is a national body comprised of the government sector, the NGO/NPO sector, and the corporate sector that will enhance the collaboration between these three sectors in order to respond more effectively and collaboratively against future emergencies in Japan.
Learning from the experiences after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, a core group of Japanese professionals from the NGO/NPO sector, academia, and the Japanese government began discussion in the summer of 2013 to explore the idea of creating such a national body that would coordinate Japanese NGOs and NPOs and interface on their behalf with relevant government offices.
In January 2014, a ten-person team went to Washington, D.C. to meet with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), FEMA, and other constituent members aiming to gain exposure to the U.S. model of collaboration between the civil society, business, and government in order to further discussions on the creation of this national body in Japan. They will be presenting the creation of this new national body on a national stage in Tokyo on May 27th, and on a global stage at the Hyogo Framework for Action in Sendai on March 14-18 2015.
In March 2011, the strength and impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami prompted an outpouring of support from individual volunteers, NPOs, government ministries, and Tohoku residents. NPOs provided essential services, the Japanese government addressed the immediate response, and over 400,000 volunteers contributed to Tohoku aid efforts in the first four months alone. These diligent and compassionate relief efforts in Tohoku continue to motivate local leaders, NPOs, and the Japanese government to focus on the efficiency and strength of Japan’s response to emergencies and disaster events. With the aim of establishing an effective coordination mechanism for domestic emergency and reconstruction services, Japan Platform, in partnership with Mercy Corps, will lead a group of Japanese professionals from the civic and government sectors to the United States to gain insights into the U.S model of disaster response and relief. The delegation of Japanese professionals will actively engage in discussions with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other Constituent Members to discuss collaborative methods of preparing and responding to emergencies. The group of Japanese aid and relief public servants and professionals will utilize lessons and observations from these sessions in order to produce a report that will serve as the foundational body for establishing the Japan Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (JVOAD). The “Japan Consultation Group Trip to USA” will result in a robust and ordered coordination mechanism that will serve as an essential tool for the Japanese public and will be a reminder of the synergistic strength of U.S. – Japan relations.