Over the past decade, Japan has experienced a variety of record-breaking extreme weather events, confirming how catastrophic climate change is.
Japan is a country prone to disasters and rains, which has grown increasingly intense in recent years due to global warming. The most recent example is the torrential rain caused in Kyushu in July 2020. A New York Times article states, “In recent years, climate change has spurred more torrential rains in Japan, causing deadly flooding and mudslides in a nation with many rivers and mountains”. The Meteorological Agency has estimated that the number of occurrences of torrential rains of over 50 millimeters per hour has increased 40% compared to 30 years ago. The article also stated that old people living in Japan would be the most affected by the crisis, compromising 28% of the Japanese population.
In addition, in July of 2018, a devastating downpour in western Japan forced 2 million people to evacuate their homes. This deluge flooded hundreds of thousands of homes and, tragically, claimed over 200 lives. Afterwards, scientists agreed that the intensity of this storm was fueled by our changing climate. The people living in the isolated countryside of Japan remain the most vulnerable when it comes to these calamities and ambiguous temperatures.
The urgency of the recent events has forced the Japanese government to take action. For example, the Ministry will switch to a new rainfall forecasting method that reflects climate change to guide efforts to strengthen river levees and water gates. It will also take into account the possibility of further increases in rainfall from the forecasts under the new method. In addition, the Ministry is analyzing expected landslides, other damages due to climate change, and the mechanism of simultaneous occurrences of floods and high tides to consider effective measures. Although there have been international and domestic aid packages offered in the form of relief and resettlement funds to people in the affected areas, there have been many cases where people in urgent need of aid could not receive support due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the future, adverse natural disasters like those Japan are currently facing will surely intensify due to climate change. There is an urgent need for people living in these areas to be trained for the worst considering the drift in the climate.
Activity Rating: ** Standing Still
Adverse climate is affecting everyone all over Japan, the ill preparedness of the people that are living in the most vulnerable areas is astounding. There must be awareness plans to educate people on how climate is affecting the intensity of climate change. Although the government is providing enough assistance to the people, the process of acquiring such aid is slow and the process is quite tedious. There is an urgent need for such a system where the citizens’ problems are heard so that pressure is built on the government via the citizens.
Dear Minister of Environment Shinjiro Koizumi,
The redistribution of emergency aid packages to the people affected by natural calamities should be made more easily accessible in the affected areas with less bureaucracy. Furthermore, I request you to put in energy in educating people about climate change and what role it plays in intensifying natural calamities. Furthermore, there should be a tribunal for the people living in these areas so that they can share the atrocities they face so that it might help the government in training people accordingly.
Minister of Environment Shinjiro Koizumi
Address: No. 5 Godochosha, 1-2-2 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8975,
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/09/world/asia/japan-climate-change-rains-elderly.html https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Ocean-fact-sheet- package.pdf https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/07/photos-death-toll-reaches-200-in-devastating-japan- floods/565055/ https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/japan-hit-by-worst-weather-disaster-in-decades-why-did- so-many-die
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Japan Country Manager Yun-tzu Lin and written by Shivam Hinduja