In the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, the JTI Foundation partnered with Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) on a number of projects in the affected areas, and a project in Hiroshima. This latter initiative has enabled PWJ to develop an independent and responsive Search & Rescue (SAR) team.
The initial phase of this project lasted one year and was extended in 2014 for a further three-year period.
To enhance its capacities, PWJ embarked on an ambitious medium-term plan to develop a fully-fledged and independent SAR team that focuses on the rapid recovery of individuals buried by debris in the event of future catastrophes. Supported by the JTI Foundation, the pilot phase of this project started in 2012 and focused on building the foundations of the team with the construction of a rubble site and initial trainings for SAR teams and dog handlers.
In the second phase initiated in 2014, the JTI Foundation extended its support for PWJ’s capacities, enabling the team to achieve International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) accreditation.
By the completion of this project, Peace Winds Japan aims to have established two fully trained rescue dog and dog handler units prepared for domestic and international deployments.This project also manifests broad community and stakeholder engagement. Demonstrating immediate and wider relevance, Peace Winds Japan’s SAR team will be participating in disaster drills organized by nearby municipalities.