Earthquake and Volcano Hazards Observation and Research Program

  • SDG11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Kazushige Obara
Earthquake Research Institute
For mitigating the impact from earthquakes and volcano disasters, we conduct national scientific research programs authorized by the Council for Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, in cooperation with national universities and institutes. We investigate the mechanisms of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and forecast earthquake and volcano hazards such as strong motion, tsunami, volcanic ash, and lava flow. We also conduct engineering and social science studies to utilize scientific results for disaster mitigation.

When the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake occurred, we quickly devised an urgent research plan and obtained detailed data on aftershock distribution by temporal observations to shed light on complex rupture process of the earthquake. The results were reported to the Earthquake Research Committee, the Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion. The data proved to be useful for assessing the earthquake and for better understanding the overall disaster process. We conduct risk evaluation research on a future large-scale earthquake along the Nankai trough, southwestern Japan, in cooperation with the Disaster Research Institute, Kyoto University. This collaborative research project is conducted by integrating research results of earthquake source process, seismic wave propagation process, and building structure rupture process, with a view toward having better risk evaluation of earthquakes.

Aftershock distribution of the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
Kato et al. (2016)
Observation in Nishinoshima Island
Maeno Fukashi

Related links

Research collaborators

- Graduate School of Science, Hokkaido University
- Graduate School of Science and Technology, Hirosaki University
- Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University
- Graduate School of Engineering and Resource Science, Akita University
- Research Institute for Natural Hazards and Disaster Recovery, Niigata University
- Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo
- Historiographical Institute, The University of Tokyo
- Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo
- Volcanic Fluid Research Center, School of Science, Tokyo Institute of Technology
- Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University
- Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University
- Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University
- Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, National Institutes for Cultural Heritage
- Graduate School of Engineering, Tottori University
- Faculty of Science and Technology, Kochi University
- Graduate School of Science, Kyushu University
- Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Kagoshima University
- Institute of Science and Engineering, Ritsumeikan University
- Institute of Oceanic Research and Development, Tokai University
- National Institute of Information and Communications Technology
- National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention
- Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
- National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
- Geospatial Information Authority of Japan
- Japan Meteorological Agency
- Japan Coast Guard
- Geological Survey of Hokkaido, Hokkaido Research Organization
- Mount Fuji Research Institute, Yamanashi Prefectural Government

Related publications

- A. Kato, J. Fukuda, S. Nakagawa, and K. Obara, Foreshock migration preceding the 2016 M-w 7.0 Kumamoto earthquake, Japan, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43 (17), pp. 8945-8953, 2016.
- K. Obara and A. Kato, Connecting slow earthquakes to huge earthquakes, Science, 353, pp. 253-257, 2016.
- M. Takeo, Y. Maehara, M. Ichihara, T. Ohminato, R. Kamata, and J. Oikawa, Ground deformation cycles in a magma-effusive stage, and sub-Plinian and Vulcanian eruptions at Kirishima volcanoes, Japan, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 118 (9), pp. 4758-4773, 2013.
- T. Maeda, T. Furumura, S. Sakai, and M. Shinohara, Significant tsunami observed at ocean-bottom pressure gauges during the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake, Earth Planets and Space, 63 (7), pp. 803-808, 2011.


  • Naoyuki Kato
  • Email: nkato[at]
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