5 Years Since
the Future, Learning for the Future
the Future, Learning for the Future
At 14:46’18”on March 11, 2011,
the Great East Japan
with the seismic center at the seabed
of the Pacific coast of Tohoku.
Instantly after the unprecedented quake,
while everybody was in the midst of confusion and
terror, Google started to think about what we
can do. Just 14 minutes after the disaster,
a Crisis Response Team was established.
1 hour and 46 minutes after the disaster,
the Crisis Response
Team had launched
the Google Person Finder.
2 days after the disaster, Google released
satellite photos of the affected areas to provide
information to grasp damaged situations and to
help rescue activities.
( June 25, 2010 )
( March 18, 2011 )
Google released information on traffic and
road condition within the past 24 hours for
people who travel within the affected area and
also for those who head into Tohoku to provide
rescue support. Periodically, every morning
at 9am, Google updated the information.
Two months after the disaster, Google started
to provide support to help restore local
YouTube tied up with a local newspaper with a
slogan “East Japan now in Business!” to introduce
local products and services on video to
communicate to the entire country of Japan
how active they are.
For many people living in the devastated area,
their precious memories had been lost by the
“Memories for the Future” kicked off as a
project to collect and share landscapes and
videos of Tohoku before the incident, from all
over Japan. This project was launched in
order to deliver video of good memories of
Tohoku to people affected by the disaster who
are “long to see it again”.
In summer 2011, Google started the “Digital
Archive Project” to record and keep scenery of
the constantly changing aftermath of the
unprecedented disaster, and to pass this records
on to future generations so that memories will
never be forgotten.
6 months after the project kick-off, the initial
Google Street View was disclosed from
the ”Digital Archive Project”, which is still
Google started to consider what technology
can provide and initiated a support for many
youths who have anxieties about their future
lives in Tohoku.
The first “Tohoku TECH Dojo” was held. This
is where young people can learn programming
freely in various locations in Tohoku. Google
provides support including sending teachers.
Architectural remains from the disaster play a
role in displaying the immense harm. It is
important to learn about the earthquake and
damages caused by tsunami, but maintaining
those structures is a challenge.
As a part of “Digital Archive Project”, Google
filmed and released Google Street View panoramic
photos of exteriors and interiors of remaining
buildings in Iwate and Fukushima prefectures.
Two years after the disaster, some buildings
were already starting to be demolished.
Due to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power
Station accident, some parts of Fukushima
were designated as the nuclear disaster site.
Fukushima was not yet on the path to
full-fledged reconstruction even 2 years after
At the time, half of Namie-machi was designated
as a “caution zone” 20km radius from
the Daiichi Plant, and the remaining half as
“planned evacuation zone”. With the cooperation
of Namie-machi, these areas were captured
with Google Street View. This became
the start of continuous activities for Google
Street View to shoot and release photos of
areas in Fukushima designated as “difficult to
return zone”, “restricted for residential use”,
and “zone expecting lift of evacuation order”.
From restoration to rehabilitation: 3 years
from the disaster, activities to accelerate
the rehabilitation of the businesses and
communities started to kick off.
“Innovation Tohoku”, the cloud matching platform
kicked off. This platform helped matching
people, such as entrepreneurs and
town-builders with those who are willing to
give support. Various people meet and
connect on this platform, in addition to the
growing number of people who have been
involved in Tohoku “already”.
Changing ideas that are with full of potentials
from youths in Tohoku, into real, and supporting
”Google Science Fair in Tohoku” was held for
grade 1-3 students in high schools and
vocational high schools of Iwate, Miyagi, and
Fukushima prefectures. With a free mind, the
“young scientists” devised ideas to change the
world, while enjoying science and technology.
The Sanriku coastal area is famous for its ria
shoreline. The landscapes viewed from the
waters change over time as the reconstruction
People of the Tohoku coastal area live together
with the ocean. As a part of “Digital Archive
Project”, we captured beautiful summer and
autumn landscapes from the waters of the
Tohoku can be a place that feels much closer,
and much more convenient to travel for everyone
including reconstructers, the local people,
and those who wish to visit Tohoku as tourists.
Google collected transportation information
from 29 bus companies mainly from Tohoku,
and added them on Google Map as a new
Throughout the 5 years since the disaster, many companies have participated in reconstruction and
“Learning for the Future” is now released so that experiences and findings
gained through the companies activities
can be converted into an useful knowledge. This will energies
Japan, and can also be used to make sure we react much faster to
the next possible disaster.
“Know” about Tohoku today
“Learn” from Tohoku
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