Are we ready for crises? Azuma gives UF tips from Japan

By Hannah Dunbar

On Monday Aug. 31, faculty, staff, students, and community members joined Professor Shozo Azuma, faculty of risk & crises management at the Chiba Institute of Science in Japan, in a presentation on crises management in the Gardner Fine Arts Pavilion.

According to Darin Fields, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, The University of Findlay contacted Professor Azuma through the relationship formed with the Kake Education Group of Japan.

“We have many years of faculty and student exchanges with Japanese Universities,” said Fields.

The presentation began with a brief introduction by Fields followed by a 20 minute speech by Azuma. After the speech, Azuma held a question and answer session with the audience for approximately 45 minutes.

In the presentation, Azuma highlighted the differences between how Japan and the U.S. handle crisis situations. According to Azuma, the U.S. plans for the worst and prepares for the best whereas in Japan they do not necessarily do that.

“I was fascinated by the difference in attitude he expressed about emergency response between Japan and the U.S.,” said Fields. “He also noted our approach of ‘debriefing’ after a disaster to improve response as a strength.”

Another attendee at the presentation was Matt Bruskotter, assistant dean for environmental, safety, security, and emergency management, who has worked with Azuma in the past on security measures.

“I had a meeting with Azuma the week before to talk about emergency management and crisis response in Japan, the U.S., and The University of Findlay,” said Bruskotter. “I attended the presentation to support him and I was also interested in what he had to say.”

According to Azuma, the Japanese have sufficient knowledge in handling earthquakes due to the high amount that occur.

“Azuma said they can have ten earthquakes a day and they’ve been a country for thousands of years, so they have a lot of experience dealing with that,” said Bruskotter. “We aren’t as expert with earthquakes as they are in Japan.”

According to Bruskotter, Azuma has focused on disparity between the U.S. and Japan and his goal is to do more to get Japan to prepare.

“You’re not going to be able to prevent all of the suffering and you’re not going to be able to prevent all of the damage,” said Bruskotter. “But there’s a certain amount you can do to reduce the impact for your institution, your city, and your life.”

Bruskotter said there is always value in preparing for these types of emergencies such as having pieces in place, people who are trained, and people prepared to make decisions.

While Azuma’s goal is to prepare Japan for numerous crises, Bruskotter works to ensure UF is prepared for any type of disaster. By managing the plans and teams who respond to crisis incidents, Bruskotter’s goal is to improve UF’s level of preparedness in every area.

“In light of Azuma talking about emergency preparedness and getting ready for disasters, students need to take a look at our crisis response plan on UF’s website,” said Bruskotter. “It’s important to be familiar with the plan so students know what to do in the event that something would happen.”

The crisis response plan located on the safety and security page of UF’s website can be found at : For questions regarding the plan, please contact the safety and security office at

“This is a very safe campus and very safe part of the world,” said Bruskotter. “I think sometimes we get too relaxed about preparedness because it doesn’t happen very often.”

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