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The latest presentation abstracts are now available below. Previously published blog entries containing abstracts prepared by other speakers for ANJeL's Anniversary Conference on Socio-legal Norms in Preventing and Managing Disasters in Japan: Asia-Pacific and Interdisciplinary Perspectives", to be presented on 1-2 March 2012, can be found here (1), here (2) and here (3).

This conference will compare the preparedness for large-scale disasters and subsequent responses in Japan, focusing on the earthquake and tsunami that devastated north-east Japan on 11 March 2011 and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant radiation leaks.

For more information and registrations please visit http://sydney.edu.au/news/law/457.html?eventcategoryid=39&eventid=9063.

[13] BRR Aceh-Nias: A Post-disaster Reconstruction Governance
(Dr. T. Nirarta Samadhi, Indonesian President’s Delivery Unit / BRR Institute)

The Boxing Day tsunami is known for destroying a stretch of 800 km by 2-3 km along the coast of Aceh Province and taking the lives of hundreds. What has not been widely shared is the governance of the reconstruction operation.

In the early days after the disaster, the President’s directives were: 1) cease fire; 2) open up Aceh-Nias for international humanitarian support during emergency (and later on reconstruction); 3) establish a special agency to handle the massive work of post disaster reconstruction. Five months after the disaster, a Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu 2/2005) regarding the Formation of the Agency for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of NAD and Nias (BRR NAD-Nias) was issued. This agency was tasked with rebuilding Aceh and Nias, and would directly be responsible to the President to avoid bureaucratic tangles that could slow down the work process.

This presentation describes the formative beginnings of BRR NAD-Nias, including the transparent and corruption-free mechanisms of fund and project management as well as the utilization of a project geospatial database to maintain transparency. It further describes the rebuilding strategy which, besides involving the community, tried to address the needs of the victims as far as possible. It also elaborates the dynamic of the regulatory support to ensure the best possible reconstruction operation.

* Dr. T. Nirarta Samadhi is Senior Assistant to the Head of the Indonesian President’s Delivery Unit and Deputy of the BRR Institute. He is a specialist in urban planning and design, and his expertise has been used assist in the rebuilding efforts following the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in Indonesia. Dr. Samadhi's previous posts include being a member of the Indonesia REDD+ Task Force and UNDP Strategic Planning Advisor for Papua Accelerated Development Unit. His recent publications include Housing (a volume in the BRR Book Series) and “Reinforcing Identity: Urban Design Concepts for Achieving Balinese Cities with Cultural Identity” In B. Stiftel, V. Watson & H. Acselrad (Eds.): Dialogue in Urban and Regional Planning Vol. 2 (London: Routledge) (November 2006). He holds a PhD in urban design from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

[14] From Response to Prevention: Indonesia's 2007 Disaster Management Law
(Dr Simon Butt, University of Sydney)

Indonesia is perhaps the world's most disaster-prone country. Sitting on the intersection of the Eurasia Plate, the Ancient Australia–Indian Continent and the Pacific Ocean Floor, it is particularly susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. Landslides and floods are also regular occurrences.

The loss of life and injury caused by these disasters is often extreme. Indonesia has a population of 240 million, and many of its larger islands are amongst the world’s most densely populated places. Indonesia is also a developing country where construction standards are generally poor. When these disasters hit, structures tend to fall, and often kill, maim and displace. For example, the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 killed 167,700 people and displaced over 500,000. In the May 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake, almost 6,000 people died, over 30,000 were injured and around 1.5 million were displaced.

In this paper I consider Indonesia's legal response to these crises: the Disaster Management Law of 2007 and several regulations issued to implement it. This new statute emphasises risk management and mitigation; and makes protection from natural disasters a basic human right that the government must provide to citizens. The Law also establishes a National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) that reports directly to the President and is responsible for preparing for and preventing disasters, coordinating emergency responses and taking charge of rehabilitation and reconstruction.

[15] Current issues in legal policy for recovery from the aftermath: One year after the 3.11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami
(Professor Hiroshi Kabashima, Tohoku University)

My report will deal with four practical topics concerned with legal and public policy in view of the current situation one year after the 3. 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
1. It will be examined whether the government sufficiently performed its crisis management tasks, for example, mobilizing rescue forces, providing emergency medical care, supporting the weak and aged, the sick or the pregnant, supplying the basic goods of water, food, information and so on, in addition to considering what functions and operations of these governmental tasks should be improved in preparation for future disasters, especially in strengthening the cooperation between the public and private sectors.
2. On the way to recovery from the aftermath of the tsunami, new city planning is necessary for ensuring the safety of the affected area. Regarding this concern, legal issues will be clarified in terms of building restrictions, purchase of the affected agricultural and residential land, hillside housing developments and so on, together with the issue of financial resources for these public policies.
3. The relation of private law to crisis management will be considered, mainly on the matter of so-called double loans, which have arisen from the situation, where some of the affected private households, as well as the damaged private enterprises, are unable to meet the obligations of housing or business loans because they have lost their assets through the earthquake and/or the tsunami, while still needing to rebuild their house or company, which requires new financial resources.
4. This paper will also deal with whether the ongoing legal scheme and practice works effectively in compensating damages caused by the radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power station, in regard to the amount of the compensation, the judgment of causation, the range of concerned parties and so on.

[16] Circumscribing and circumventing relief: an anthropological cross-comparison of disaster-born illnesses and recovery efforts in Japan and the United States
(Michelle Daigle, University of Hawaii)

Radiation refugees in post-3.11 Japan remind us that environmental disasters are often accompanied by health related maladies and epidemics, which complicate relief efforts and defy easily demarcated, contamination zones. This paper will examine several disasters in both the United States and Japan to illuminate how the politics of relief efforts, legal institutions, and socio-cultural attitudes regarding bodily contamination and morality converge to solidify arbitrary and ad hoc lines in the sand to allocate much needed resources and monies to victims. Once solidified, these contamination zones become an important criterion to identify victims of environmental disasters 10, 15, or 20 years out from the initial outbreak of pollution related epidemic. It also becomes a tool that governments and corporations use to limit their degree of financial burden. Both ethnographic and archival data will be utilized to draw connections between the socio-cultural and socio-legal factors that influence the longitudinal implementation of public health initiatives in Japan and United States.

* Michelle Daigle is a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the Department of Anthropology, where she specializes in legal and medical anthropology. In 2011, Michelle was awarded the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship to conduct her dissertation research on identity construction among Minamata disease patients and community members in Minamata and Niigata, Japan from October 2011 to September 2013. She aims to understand how Japan’s socio-legal and socio-medical contexts converge with prevailing social attitudes regarding morality, conflict, and bodily contamination to mutually influence the intimate experience of illness and disease brought forth by pollution and industrial disasters. In addition to her research on methyl mercury poisoning, Michelle has also conducted research on the intersection of mass media and law as well as personal illness narratives on HIV/AIDS and the rise of NPOs among the Men-who-have-sex-with-men community in Japan for her Masters in Anthropology (2008).

[17] China: The Legal System and the Allocation of Responsibility for Accidents and Disasters
(Associate Professor Vivienne Bath, University of Sydney)

Chinese authorities have issued a plethora of laws and regulations intended to deal with the prevention and handling of natural disasters of different kinds, as well as associated issues related to disasters. Many of these were promulgated or amended in the aftermath of the Chongqing earthquake, which attracted considerable publicity both inside and outside China. This paper considers some aspects of the focus of these laws, particularly the allocation of responsibility between different parts of government and the community, and the way in which the Chinese legal system and courts respond to attempts by individuals and organisations to utilize the laws in order to impose responsibility or liability for loss.


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