Japan Sets Up New Volcanic Research Headquarters to be ‘Command Post’ for Observation, Countermeasures

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A signboard of newly established headquarters for promoting volcanic observation and research is seen at the Education, Culture, Science and Technology Ministry in Tokyo on Monday.

A new headquarters for promoting volcanic observation and research was established at the science ministry on Monday.

Instead of the conventional system in which universities and other organizations conducted volcanic research on their own initiative, the headquarters will serve as a “command post” for formulating observation plans and securing funding to resolve issues related to volcanic disaster management.

The new organ is called the “headquarters for the promotion of volcanic research and surveys.” It was established in response to the revised active volcano law, which was enacted last year to strengthen measures related to volcanic eruptions. As subordinate organizations, the headquarters has the “policy committee” and “volcanic survey committee,” composed of volcanologists. These bodies will work to create a database that consolidates information from various research institutes and improve the prediction of volcanic eruptions. The headquarters will also focus on fostering human resources involved in volcano research.

A signboard was unveiled in front of the ministry on Monday. Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Masahito Moriyama, who will lead the headquarters, said: “Japan is one of the most volcanically active countries in the world, and once an eruption occurs, it causes extensive damage over a wide area. We want to fulfill our important mission to contribute to volcanic countermeasures.”