United Nations realigns its Humanitarian Office in Japan


(Kobe, 16 January 2012) – The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) has appointed a manager to head its Japan office, based in Kobe.

In the hours following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, OCHA dispatched a team of experts to help the Government by coordinating 15 Urban Search and Rescue teams and incoming international assistance, as well as providing a series of situation reports to meet global demand for accurate and timely information.

On the seventeenth anniversary of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, OCHA is pleased to announce that it is reinforcing its cooperation with Japan, building on the experiences and lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake.

As of January 2012, Mr. Masaki Watabe has been appointed the Head of OCHA Kobe Office. This newly realigned office will focus on developing partnerships with key stakeholders in Japan including the Government, other international and non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, local authorities and the corporate sector.

“Through such partnerships, OCHA will promote international cooperation to strengthen emergency response and preparedness”, said Mr. Watabe, adding “On 11 March, we saw how disaster preparedness made a huge difference in saving lives. Coordinating relevant actors; collecting, analysing and disseminating accurate information; and making timely and appropriate decisions at the height of the crisis; this is what OCHA strives for.”

Twenty years ago the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted Resolution 46/182 and established OCHA to coordinate international humanitarian assistance; mobilise funds; ensure effective dissemination of humanitarian information; support development of international policies on humanitarian issues; and advocate and outreach on humanitarian affairs.

“The world needs Japan. Disasters are becoming larger, more frequent and more complex. It is crucial that Japan, with its experience, wisdom and resilience, continues to play a key role in promoting humanitarian assistance and disaster management, and to lead international cooperation,” he said.

“This is an excellent way to show gratitude to the international community for assistance provided in past disasters. OCHA will continue to be a bridge between Japan and the world to advance these efforts. For a better world, OCHA continues to walk with Japan – step by step. Japan’s greater understanding of and support for OCHA and OCHA’s Kobe Office activities in the future would be warmly appreciated,” said Mr. Watabe.

For further information, please call:
Masaki Watabe, OCHA-Kobe +81 (0)78 262 5555, fax +81 (0) 78 262 5558
Reduction Museum East 5F, 1-5-2 Wakinohama-Kaigandori, Chuo-ku Kobe, 651-0073 Japan
OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int.
For more information about CERF, please see http://cerf.un.org


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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