The following is in regards to the efforts of the Rescue Robot Contest Executive Committee for the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011 and the Kumamoto Earthquake that occurred after April 14, 2016.
We wish to express our heartfelt condolences to everyone who was affected by the series of earthquakes that occurred mainly in Kumamoto in April 2016. We pray for your safety, and that reconstruction is completed as soon as possible, from the bottom of our hearts. Additionally, we continue to support the ongoing reconstruction efforts for everyone who was affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011.
The Rescue Robot Contest (ResCon) is a unique robot contest focused around the theme of rescue effort that started in response to the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Thanks to your support, we will host the 17th contest this year, counting from the preliminary contest (the “0th” Contest) held in 2000.
Japan is well known as a natural disaster prone country, and here natural disasters are inescapable. As such, it is necessary to continue research, development, and evaluation in long term across generations, in order to develop and put into practical use the science and technology required to minimize damage from these disasters. The purpose of ResCon is to enlighten not only the team members who participate, but also audiences who watch the contest, broadly about disaster prevention and reduction. The aim is also to support children who want to help people through disaster prevention and reduction in various ways such as creating rescue robots in the future, and to nurture the base of science and technology so that such children can be active in the next generation.
Study on rescue robot in Japan that began in earnest after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake has steadily progressed. The rescue robots deployed at the Fire and Disaster Management Agency seem to be just like real scale versions of the robots that participate in ResCon. Also, various technologies such as tele-operation and remote monitoring which are also used in this contest were utilized for sea exploration in ports after the Great East Japan Earthquake tsunami, and for rubble removal and building damage surveys at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. The technology cultivated in study on rescue robot has begun to produce results at the disaster sites. Additionally, unmanned construction machines were gathered from all over Japan and used in areas affected by the Kumamoto Earthquake for removal of earth and sand. Drones, i.e., Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which have gotten a lot of attention, were used to investigate the damage to Kumamoto Castle. However, it is also true that these disasters did not make full use of the lessons of past disasters. In the Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting tsunami damage, and in the Kumamoto Earthquake, the past disaster record was reviewed after the disaster occurred, but few people listened to the warning raised by some of professionals before the disasters.
A great number of people participated in the latest annual ceremony of Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake 1.17. Even though 22 years have passed, the affected people will never forget the earthquake. However, it is a very difficult task to raise awareness of disaster prevention and mitigation from generation to generation. People do not forget the disasters happened in their lifetime, but it is very difficult for those of the next generation to inherit the memories and lessons of the disasters. We believe that cultivation of human resources who will be responsible of science and technology for the next generation through ResCon will lead to enlightenment about disaster prevention and reduction of damage for generations.
The core concept of ResCon with its rescue theme is "kindness." We think that not only rescue engineering but also all technologies useful for people should not forget this core concept of "kindness." By broadening the base of science and technology where “kindness” cultivates, we believe that it is possible to create a sustainable society while coexisting with nature even in this world where we have possibility to face disasters, and to create next-generation science and technology that will be useful to people.
When the children who watch and/or participate in ResCon today grow up, the world they live in should be more resistant to disasters. We hold ResCon every year with this in mind. Our Rescue Robot Contest Executive Committee will continue to work under the principle of “ learning technology, keeping open communication with people, and creating a world that is resistant to disasters.”
Special Event for Earthquake Reconstruction Support
During each contest, we implement a special event to support earthquake reconstruction. Lecture activities
- Lecture activities
- Photo exhibition
- Sale of charity goods (rescue whistle, ResCon T-shirt), etc.