The Hyogo Prefectural government implemented a recovery initiative for the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, which deals with local community challenges in collaboration with various stakeholders such as companies, related-organizations, and volunteers, while bringing the proactive effort of citizens into the heart of the initiative.


Hyogo Prefecture


Since the needs of disaster victims constantly changed, it was difficult for Hyogo Prefectural Government to deal with the situation by itself. There was therefore a need to create a structure to support the recovery of disaster victims and disaster affected areas that included a wide range of stakeholders including citizens, local community organizations/non-political organisations (NPOs), companies, and volunteers.

Coping Strategy

Hyogo formed the “Phoenix Citizen’s Recovery Network,” composed of citizens, various organisations, volunteer groups, business associations, and academic experts, to share challenges of disaster victims and mobilize the capacities of these supporters.

This group sought to identify the diverse needs of disaster victims and look for flexible solutions. For example, it organised resident exchange programmes at temporary housing sites, support for citizen relocation services, and assisted local community activity groups.

Moreover, the group established the “Hyogo Comi Comi (Community and Communication) Net” on the Internet, which served as a liaison between disaster victims and supporters, by implementing communication and information exchange programmes.

The “Earthquake Victim Reconstruction Support Council,” composed of experts in various fields and directors of relevant departments of the Hyogo Prefectural Government, was also established. This organisation held 251 “Travelling Chat Sessions,” that included visiting disaster-affected areas and holding discussions. In addition, the Council issued recommendations to local governments and disaster victims on 28 occasions.

As part of its collaboration with NPOs, a “Lifestyle Reconstruction Council” between NPOs and Prefectural government (subsequently named “Collaboration Meetings”) was set up to have an opportunity to regularly discuss NPOs’ activities and a variety of issues between NPOs and local government officials.


These disaster victim relief activities involved many stakeholders as a prefectural community-wide movement provided detailed relief services. The substantial relief contribution made by volunteers in the months after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake resulted in the establishment of the Act on Promotion of Specified Non-Profit Activities in 1998, a move in which the existence of NPOs was legitimated by law.

Hyogo also established the “Hyogo Volunteer Plaza” in 2002, as a base to provide support for volunteers’ and NPOs’ activities. This plaza supports volunteer activities during disasters, promoting network building, delivering information, and training personnel.

Moreover, in 2003 Hyogo introduced the Ordinance on Promoting Prefectural Citizens’ Participation and Collaboration, which promotes better administrative services through the participation and collaboration of Hyogo citizens based on a partnership between the citizens and the government.

Measuring Success

During the post-earthquake recovery process, it became clear that there is a limit to just how much disaster relief activities can be done by the local government on its own, and likewise citizens on their own. This idea promotes the diversification and revitalization of actors in civil society.

Potential for Replication

Life recovery requires combining the capacities of diverse supporters. It is therefore highly important to create platforms to share and resolve challenges among stakeholders. The local government in the disaster-affected area should support the promotion of self-help activities among stakeholders as well as creating networks among them.

Contact Information

Mr. Masahiko Murata – Director, Research Department

Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution (DRI)

1-5-2 Wakinohama-kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, 651-0073, Japan

Tel: +81-78-262-5065 / Fax: +81-78-262-5082



Mr. Naoki Nakatsu – Chief, Disaster Management Project Planning Division,

Disaster Management & Planning Bureau,

Civil Policy Planning & Administration Department

5-10-1 Shimoyamate-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo, 650-8567, Japan

Tel: +81-78-362-9870 / Fax: +81-78-362-9914