Written by Ollie Law, Commercial Marketing Manager at RiskLogic NZ
In June this year, I booked a spontaneous trip to one of the world’s most beautiful destinations, Japan. A country that boasts ancient beginnings, leading technology innovations, prehistoric countryside and bizarre trends like anime and what they call Manga (a version of cosplay).
But, other than being a tourist that put in the effort to learn a bit of Japanese, (Doo Itashimashta Nihon), I also took this opportunity to see how it’s done in Japan; it being their Emergency Management, Business Continuity (BC) & Crisis Management.
Japanese are typically known for their manners and extreme attention to detail and scheduling. For example, on only my second day, the JR Eastern Railway service was late by 45 seconds and was held at the station for just about a minute. The controller profusely apologised to the customers and the barriers were open on the other end, allowing a free trip. It got me thinking, if they’re so passionate about processes, their continuity measures must be on steroids compared to what we’re used to!
So, for the next two weeks after that 45 second delay, I went and found out.
Our three-part series
Over the next month, we will be releasing my first-hand findings on BC within Japan. Here, I will cover:
- the business continuity culture & how it’s implemented,
- handling the most extreme disasters & events,
- and how we can learn from the Japanese and their inspiring resilience.
During my time in this spectacular country, I threw myself out there and I met with some unique individuals. People like Atakishi who falls under the Japanese phenomenon, Salary Men. Working 70 to 100 hours a week and drinking their stress away from Friday night until late the next morning, Salary Men are the embodiment of hard workers. From a BC point of view, much to my surprise, they are taught this during induction.
By hour five with them, my memory got hazy, but I learnt some interesting lessons about the admin/office life within the largest metropolis in the world, Tokyo.
I also met with Yoshika, who was located in Iwate Prefecture during the devasting earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 that killed 15,896 people, caused 6,157 injuries and still to this day reports 2,537 people missing across twenty prefectures. It is now known locally as Higashi nihon daishinsai. An extraordinary woman who lost everything, but still managed to carry on. Although my Japanese was weak, we clicked instantly due to our shared experience of earthquakes; although my version of it cannot compare, Yoshika was “so sorry to hear I’d been through one”. The March 11 earthquake was so powerful, it moved Honshu (the main island of Japan) 2.4 m (8 ft) east, shifted the Earth on its axis by estimates of between 10 cm (4 in) and 25 cm (10 in), increased earth’s rotational speed by 1.8 µs per day, and generated infrasound waves detected in perturbations of the low-orbiting GOCE satellite.
My final visit before leaving the land of the Samurai, was Osaka. This city, the second largest in Japan and one of the largest in the world, is a popular spot for those looking for a smaller version of Tokyo with amazing night life, even better food and stunning harbour views all within short train rides to ancient cities like Kyoto. Here, I focused on what they did during, and post event on June 18, this year where Osaka was rocked by a 6.1 magnitude earthquake, killing three. Although aftershocks constantly graced me with their presence, for some reason, I felt safer here than I did in Christchurch. Could there be a hidden secret in this city we could all learn from? How did they recover? It had been a few weeks, so how much did they manage to clear up in relation to the clear up job still being done in Christchurch?
We will release this three-part series through August & September offering you a chance to be a part of my research and journey. These will be shared via our website and social media. In late September, myself and Brad (NZ Country Manager) will collate my findings and put this into a free whitepaper, available to you and your colleagues. In this digital whitepaper, we will compare how processes are implemented in Japan, how this compares to New Zealand & Australia, and actionable lessons we can all consider now.
I personally hope this series is not only of use, but enjoyable to read! In the last 12 months, RiskLogic’s readership has skyrocketed, or as the Japanese say, Nankurunaisa. We’re always looking for ways to create something truly unique and I hope this only adds to our dynamic content available to you.
Until next time, Keikaku, jikkō, kakunin, and kōdō / 計画、実行、確認、and 行動