Some Preliminary Observation on Organizational Responses in the Emergency Period After The Niigata , Japan, Earthquake of June 16, 1964

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Disaster Research Center
On June 16, 1964, at 1:O2 p.m., Japan was jarred by the strongest earthquake to hit the country since 1923. The epicenter of the earthquake, which measured 7.7 on the Richter scale, was in the Sea of Japan about sixty miles off the west coast of the main Japanese island of Honshu. While shock movements were felt over two-thirds of the land area of the country, the most heavily affected region was in the Niigata Prefecture, especially the capital city of the same name which is located about 160 miles northwest of Tokyo. The DRC first heard of the disaster on Tuesday morning, June 16 (Eastern Standard time), and sent three staff members to Japan on June 17. They arrived at midnight, June 18, Tokyo time and completed their field work in ten days. Two basic factors affected the response to this disaster and consequently the operations of the DRC team. As in most other countries in the world, the governmental structure of Japan is highly centralized. Local and prefectural units ( the prefecture being somewhat similar to an American state) are closely linked and directly responsible to national agencies and ministries in the capital city. Thus, much of the organizational response to any widespread disaster in Japan occurs in Tokyo.
Niigata, Japan, Earthquake of June 16, 1964, Organization Responses