U.S. and Japanese officials gathered in Orlando Sept. 26 for the 12th meeting of the U.S.-Japan Emergency Management Working Group.
Part of the Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, the working group is the primary forum for the countries’ collaboration in the field of nuclear incident preparedness and response.
Our information exchanges are important and, because of our collaboration, our two countries are better prepared to prevent and mitigate nuclear and radiological threats.
“Our information exchanges are important and, because of our collaboration, our two countries are better prepared to prevent and mitigate nuclear and radiological threats,” said Ann Heinrich, Director of the Office of Nuclear Incident Policy and Cooperation at NNSA.
The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011 highlighted the need for strengthened capabilities to prevent, prepare for, and – if necessary – respond to incidents involving nuclear or radioactive materials. The United States and Japan have pledged to work together to share experiences and lessons learned and to highlight best practices for managing nuclear emergencies.
Through the working group, U.S. and Japanese officials have identified key areas for cooperation, including technical exchanges, capacity-building workshops, information exchanges, and joint participation in drills and exercises. The September meeting resulted in an agreement on a range of collaborative activities to be conducted over the next three years.
During the meeting, experts from both sides discussed risk and crisis communication, technical support to government decision makers, protecting major public events, and lessons learned from real-world experiences. The collaboration comes at a particularly important time, as Japan will host the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, and planning is underway to ensure a safe and successful event.
For the two days before the working group meeting, U.S. and Japanese experts also attended a workshop on public information and an emergency exercise hosted by the Department of Energy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Advent Health that focused on countering the threat of radiological and nuclear terrorism.