Mission / History

Today's society becomes ever more rapidly vulnerable to natural disasters due to the concentration of populations in mega-cities. Additionally, changes in the global environment threaten us with the possibility of severe typhoons, rising sea levels, droughts, among others. Considering these rapid changes of ambient conditions, and to meet urgent research requirements in a more timely manner, in 1996 the Institute reorganized itself into five research divisions and five research centers; namely, Integrated Management of Disaster Risk; Earthquake Disaster Prevention; Geo-Disasters; Fluvial and Marine Disasters; Atmospheric Disasters; Research Center for Disaster Environment; Research Center for Earthquake Prediction; Sakurajima Volcano Research Center; Water Resources Research Center; and Research Center for Disaster Reduction Systems.

The Division of Integrated Management of Disaster Risk and the Research Center for Disaster Reduction Systems have been set up by rearranging and increasing the number of staff members who have been involved in disaster study from human, social, and planning aspects. The Research Center for Disaster Environment unifies experimentation stations and observatories located in distant places; namely, the Ujigawa Hydraulics Laboratory, the Shionomisaki Wind Effect Laboratory, the Hodaka Sedimentation Observatory, the Shirahama Oceanographic Observatory, the Ogata Wave Observatory, and the Tokushima Landslide Observatory. The Center carries out synthetic observational and experimental research projects, collaborating not only with other staff members but also with researchers outside the Institute.

Although the Institute belongs to Kyoto University, it has been open since 1996 to all researchers from other universities around the country who are concerned with investigations of disasters. Collaboration is maintained through joint research projects and research meetings. These research projects are proposed by researchers both inside and outside of the Institute, and proposals are approved through the peer review lead by the Collaboration Committee, a group consisting of members from both outside and inside the Institute. The Advisory Board will advise the Director General on the policy of the institute's operation. The Board is composed of two members from the Institute and seven from outside.

The research staff members of the Institute are also affiliated with the Graduate Schools of Science and Engineering of Kyoto University. Many graduate students come to the Institute to carry out their studies under supervision of its staff members.

Following table highlights establishment of various research and other entities in chronological order:

1951 Disaster Prevention Research Institute was founded in Kyoto University
Formed 3 departments:
1) Basic Science and Technology Research; 2) Flood Damage Research; 3) Earthquake Engineering and Wind Resistant Structure
1953 Ujigawa Hydraulics Laboratory
1958 Crustal Movement Section
1959 Landslide Research Section
1960 Hydrology Research Section (-1978)
Sakurajima Volcano Observatory
1961 Wind Resistant Structure Section
Coastal Disaster Research Section
1962 Geo-Disasters Research Section
1963 Geomorphology and Soil Disaster Research Section
Drainage Engineering Research Section
The original three sections were renamed Earthquake Motion Section, Fluvial Disaster Research Section, and Earthquake Resistant Structures Section
1964 Foundation Seismic Disaster Research Section
Tottori Microearthquake Observatory
1965 Sabo Research Section
Earthquake Prediction and Monitoring Research Section
Kamitakara Crustal Movement Observatory
1966 Applied Climatology
Shionomisaki Wind Effect Laboratory
Shirahama Oceanographic Observatory
1967 Dynamics of Foundation Structures Section
Donzurubo Crustal Movement Observatory
Hodaka Sedimentation Observatory
1969 Tokushima Landslide Observatory
Ogata Wave Observatory
1970 Hokuriku Microearthquake Observatory
Research Sections and Administration Office were integrated at Uji Campus
1972 Disaster Prevention Science Information Center (-1993)
1973 Microearthquake Research Section
1974 Miyazaki Crustal Movement Observatory
1977 Severe Storm Research Section
1978 Water Resources Research Center
1979 Earthquake Resistant Structures Section was renamed Earthquake Resistant Plastic Structures Section
Earthquake Resistant Brittle Structures Section
1982 Flood Control System Research Section (-1992)
1986 Research Center on Earthquake-resistant System of Urban Infrastructures (-1996)
1990 Research Center for Earthquake Prediction
(Crustal Movement Research Section, Earthquake Prediction and Monitoring Section, Microearthquake Research Section, Tottori Microearthquake Observatory, Kamitakara Crustal Movement Observatory, Donzurubo Crustal Movement Observatory, Hokuriku Microearthquake Observatory, and Miyazaki Crustal Movement Observatory were integrated into Research Center for Earthquake Prediction)
1992 Research Section for Urban Flood Hazard in Bay Area
1993 Regional Disaster Prevention System Research Center
1996 Reorganized into 5 research divisions and 5 research centers
(Integrated Management for Disaster Risk; Earthquake Disaster Prevention; Geohazards; Fluvial and Marine Disasters; Atmospheric Disasters; Research Center for Disaster Environment; Research Center for Earthquake Prediction; Sakurajima Volcano Research Center; Water Resources Research Center; and Research Center for Disaster Reduction Systems)
Became a national open institute
1997 Designated as a “Center of Excellence”(COE) of Japan for natural disaster research
2000 Administration offices at the Uji Campus were integrated into the Uji Administration Office
2001 Natural Disaster Research Council
2002 Selected as an institute in the 21st Century COE Programs by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)
Ujigawa Hydraulics Laboratory was renamed Ujigawa Open Laboratory
2003 Research Center on Landslides
2004 Kyoto University incorporated in accordance with the National University Corporation Law
2005 Reorganized into 4 research groups (Integrated Arts and Sciences for Disaster Reduction; Seismic and Volcanic Hazards Mitigation; Geohazards; and Atmosphere-Hydrosphere)
2009 Selected as a Global COE program by MEXT
Certified as a Joint Usage/ Research Center by MEXT
Research Section for Hydrological Environment System endowed by the Japan Weather Association (-2013)
2010 Research Section for Public Policy Studies on Disaster Reduction was established endowed by the Japan Institute of Construction Engineering
2011 Selected as a Program for Leading Graduate Schools
2012 Research Section for Business Continuity Plan for Port Logistics
2013 Research Section for Meteorological and Hydrological Risk Information