A word from Professor Yukio Himiyama (one of our IGU Vice-Presidents) from the Institute of Geography at Hokkaido University of Education on his experience of the recent events in Japan.

Dear All,

Thank you very much for your continuous support and encouragement.

Here is some information which may not have reached you:


  1. Fragility of the current IT society is obvious. There are a lot of “useful” information on the net or elsewhere, but little can be used in the affected areas where communication & transportation systems are out of work, electricity is in short supply etc.
  2. Most of the casualties are at coastal areas, resulting from the tsunami, but no less serious damages were caused by the earthquake elsewhere. They include large-scale malfunction of communication & transportation systems, and, needless to say, nuclear disaster.
  3. There are over half a million people taking refuge in schools etc. and many of them are suffering from shortage of heating, blankets, water and food.
  4. Shortage of fuel and electricity is serious, and it is affecting relief operations and economic and other activities in the country.



  1. The meeting of Japan Science Olympiad Committee on 16th, to which Japan Geography Olympiad Committee was invited for the first time, was postponed.
  2. Tohoku University and other universities in and around Sendai City are still cut off from the outside world. It is said that they suffered from severe damage. No casualties are reported, however.
  3. Tsukuba City, known as an academic city, also suffered a lot. University of Tsukuba managed to repair its network system yesterday, but research will not be possible for some time. There are many governmental institutes in Tsukuba, and their situation is all similar to that of the University. Geographical Survey Institute, which usually plays an important role at the time of disaster, also suffered much, and its recovery is slow.
  4. Specialists in the affected areas cannot do what they normally do, while those living outside the affected areas cannot enter the affected areas easily for some time.


Geography Community:

  1. The Hazard Committee of the Association of Japanese Geographers
  2. The second stage contests of Japan Geography Olympiad on 13th in Tokyo and Sendai were cancelled.
  3. The meeting of Human/Economic Geography and Regional Education Committee of Science Council of Japan on 14th was cancelled.
  4. The meeting of IGU Japan National Committee of SCJ on 15th was cancelled.


Hokkaido University of Education, Asahikawa Campus:

Today is the graduation day. Normally, there is a lunch party after the ceremony, but it was cancelled.

Now I have to go to the ceremony…

Sincerely Yours,

Yukio Himiyama

Professor Yukio Himiyama