Subsequent Research and Development

--- Kajima's research into earthquakes is superior in comparison with other companies, but what direction will research and development take in the future?

Nakajima The Great Hanshin Earthquake Disaster Prevention Committee has been established with Mr.Kobori at the helm. This committee is divided into six different fields and will implement wide-spread surveys and establish measuresto cope with all events. In further detail, these six fields will maintain asocial engineering approach to external and internal back-up supplies for tremblers, plate movement, construction, tremor absorption and tremor control, and for civilians and society. The committee will consist of a variety of related departments, such as the Kobori Research Laboratory, the Technical Research Center, the Information System Department, the Construction Technology Department and the Design and Engineering General Affairs Departments, etc., and will provide reports whenever necessary.

Nojiri: In comparison with the other major general contractors, Kajima has the highest levels of technology for earthquake engineering, anti-earthquake measures, sway absorption and quake control, and we are developing a wide range of new technologies. As we move into the first stages of revival, the recently-developed plate survey vehicle and other diagnostic equipment and software technology will come into use.

Terrestrial Survey Vehicle, Geo-Explorer

The main themes for the future include increased accuracy of this diagnostic technology and strengthening of repair and reinforcement technology. I'm sure there will be reviews of design methods, and there is a great necessity for us to come up with proposals which swiftly enable capable configurations and engineering methods. I also feel that there will be an increase in the need to reinforce old buildings to meet current standards.

Kobori: That in itself is a problem that affects society. Buildings conforming to the new standards escaped damage while older building crumbled. This leaves us with the question of what to do with the older buildings. The question of how to go about examining and reinforcing older buildings will not find asimple answer. It will take both money and time. It would be nice if all owners recognized the necessity of taking these measures, but as time passes they are sure to forget the pain they have lived through. It is too late after disaster strikes, but a warning prior to a disaster raises the question of whether an earthquake really is imminent. It is important to determine exactly how reinforcements will be carried out on structures deemed to be dangerous to society, but this will presen t us with legal problems.

--- What do you think will raise the most questions over the medium to long-term?

Nojiri: Sway absorption technology for civil engineering projects. I feel that the largest technical question will examine whether it is possible to include sway absorption technology in existing bridges.

Kojima: We have already received many inquiries from the affected areas of Kobeon the possibility of including quake control and sway absorption in existing buildings.

Kobori: This problem does not only affect the Hanshin areas of Kobe. I think we should expend more effort on other cities. Unfortunately there is very little awareness of this and this seems to be the real problem. The question of future measures, including anti-quake diagnostics, and the necessity of systemized structures which incorporate quake control and sway absorption are not current topics of discussion, we knew about them ten years ago.

Nakajima: Quake control and sway absorption technology attracts much attention whenever an earthquake occurs, but I feel that this will play an important role in future propagation.

--- And lastly, having had direct supervision over the affected area, what are your plans for the future, Mr.Kojima?

Kojima: Although a certain proportion of our staff are actual employees, all were directly affected by the disaster. Despite this, I was deeply struck by the physical and mental health of them all. Everybody strived to put in anappearance at the constructions they were involved in without being directed. Regardless of the transportation confusion in the two or three days following the quake, nearly all employees managed to do this. We were consequently highly praised by all clients. Although this is to be expected of technical specialists, I thought it absolutely incredible that so many people made themselves available before even taking care of their own affairs.
A total of 340 people from a wide range of departments within this branch, including 170 relief volunteers, sweated blood and tears to carry out site management, diagnostics, surveys and deal with clients. The lifeline into Kobe has yet to be revived, and people are still expending every effort while sleeping on-site and in borrowed buses. I am also indebted to doctors dispatched to the area at the earliest possible moment for providing us with the will to continue. The word 'revival' can recently be commonly heard. However, from my observations of the affected area, I feel that we are still struggling to return daily life functions, the infrastructure and managerial functions, and that we still live in danger of secondary disaster. Although the word 'revival' contains the nuance of hope, we must not forget to watch where we step. We must proceed very carefully. Of course, the work of the various planning groups are giving us a glimpse of revival, and I feel that it is the duty of Kajima to provide positive support for this.

--- Thank you very much. I am sure that the branch staff and relief workers must be exhausted working in such a harsh environment with the end of the tunnel not yet in sight, but I wish them all well. Keep up the good work.

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