That remark was made by Honorable Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Jamaica Tourism, in his capacity as founder of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center (GTRCMC) at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, during his official visit, today, to Ichihara (one of the affected areas), Chiba, Japan, based on their unprecedented recovery system after being struck by one of the worst Typhoons, No. 19 – Hagibis – in their nation’s recent history. The Minister conveyed, at the same time, Jamaica’s condolences to the City Mayor, Mr. Joji Koide, reaffirmed the nation’s solidarity to Japan and engaged in discussion on cooperation related to disaster management approaches and strategies given Japan’s leading role in their implementation and parallel importance to the GTRCMC.
The Mayor, along with his team of senior level officials, gave the Tourism Minister a comprehensive tour of the affected areas, showcasing elements of the extraordinary relief operations undertaken and the cutting-edge technologies utilized (including drones and robots). Chief among these was a one of a kind, multi-purpose, Fire Truck (given the name Scrum Force and launched in 2019) with state-of-the-art rescue and relief equipment and facilities, as well as surveillance software integrated with drone technology and capacity, allowing for more expansive coverage, monitoring and response at unprecedented speeds.
Minister Bartlett commended the Mayor and his team for the remarkable recovery achieved, given the level of damage experienced, and signaled the high interest of Jamaica to deepen cooperation on the best practices observed in disaster mitigation and relief operations. The results of these practices, such as its live-saving results, prompted the Minister to state “that they signaled the possibility of the addition of heightened value to the evolving body of study surrounding the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center (GTRCMC).”
The Tourism Minister called on the Mayor to not only document his Town’s highly-effective recovery and resilience mechanism, but to also consider paying a visit to Jamaica, or one of his representatives, to share his Town’s best practices on disaster risk reduction and management with the GTRCMC, in the spirit of deepened cooperation and friendship between Jamaica and Japan.
The Minister further noted that “Japan’s record of resilience in bouncing back quickly and building back better from a series of disruptions, notably of which the 2011 Earthquake and Fires and other mega Typhoons including the latest No19 Hagibis, were deserving of emulation and greater international recognition.”
The Minister further indicated that “the world has much to learn from Japan in this regard.” This he also noted “would further advance discussions related to partnership with Japan, in relation to Jamaica’s desire to have a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the University of the West Indies and the International University of Japan, on resilience practices in keeping with the objectives of the GTRCMC.”
Minister Bartlett also noted, with keen interest, the highly technologically-advanced nature of the special Fire Truck and suggested that such a vehicle would present significant life-saving potential for other Caribbean islands focused on building resilience against natural disasters, a core area of focus of the GTRCMC.
In registering his deep appreciation for the Minister’s and Jamaica’s solidarity with Ichihara and the wider Japanese society, the Mayor welcomed the opportunity for greater cooperation on disaster risk reduction and management, given his Town’s similar focus. The Mayor also indicated his interest in having further dialogue with the Minister on potential partnership and participation in the GTRCMC.
The meeting ended with the exchange of gifts between the Minister and the Mayor and a commitment to closer engagement including through the Embassy of Jamaica in Tokyo, Japan.
Among the many officers assembled by Mayor Koide, were the following: Mr. Katsunori Koyanagi, Fire Chief; Mr. Shoji Amano, Shizu Fire Department Chief; Mr. Kenji Akiba, Manager, Secretarial Division; Mr. Shigemitsu Sakuma, Manager, Crisis Management Division; Mr. Takayuki Igarashi, Manager, Human Rights and International Exchanges Division; and Mr. Kenji Akiba, Manager, Secretarial Division.
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