Six Months After the Earthquake (Oct 14, 2016)

2016.10.14 ●News

Six Months After the Earthquake: A Report from the IMEG. (Oct 14, 2016)



Past messages for the Director

Three Months After the Earthquake (Jul 14, 2016)

On the way to restoration (May 2, 2016)
Eleventh day after the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake (Apr 25, 2016)
To all IMEG members and supporters (Apr 19, 2016)
Be smart. Stay foolish. (Apr 4, 2016)


Photos of the institute after the Kumamoto Earthquakes



The six months since the earthquake have flown by so quickly. Though the demolition of damaged houses and vacant lots have become prominent, while many broken houses still remain. Thanks to the national restoration budget, we were able to repair the mass spectrometer, the FACS, and the next-generation sequencing machine, which were all significantly damaged. Starting in October, not only our own research, also mass analysis support for joint research has resumed, and most of the equipment may return to its original state by the end of this fiscal year. Also, we recently received word about the building renovations. Before the end of this fiscal year, indoor items such as windows and elevators should be fixed, and the outer wall is likely to be repaired sometime next year. We are deeply grateful to the people of the Liaison Laboratory Research Promotion Center (LILA) and other offices for their efforts.


During the restoration process after the earthquake, we needed to have close contact with other faculties. Taking advantage of this connection, a research exchange meeting was held on the Kurokami campus on October 7th. PIs from many faculties such as the Faculty of Science, the School of Pharmacy, the School of Medicine and IMEG gathered and presented their research over six hours. On November 7th, we will invite researchers from the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, which gave us a great deal of support, for a joint seminar. Furthermore, we started monthly information exchange meetings in in order to promote exchanges between IMEG labs. These are unprecedented collaborative attempts, and due to our determination to advance science through the promotion of joint research, which happened to be jumpstarted by the earthquake, we are trying to make the most out of a bad situation. To help us in that endeavor, IMEG has started adding new staff – Ms. Nishizaka, a technical staff member in charge of the next-generation sequencer began in August, and Associate Professor Ishiguro began in September.


Using the donations we received from everyone across the country, we are carrying out research equipment repair. We are discovering specific methods of earthquake-proofing through trial and error, and then record the methods complete with examples. No one knows when or where the next earthquake will occur, but by disseminating our experience to the public, we hope that it will possible to reduce the damage at least a little. In addition, the disaster recovery manual for IMEG has also been renewed. I would like to place an emphasis on the point that it might be you who will have to take command of an immediate area during an emergency. The director or professors might be away on business trips, or they themselves might be visited by disaster. Only those who happen to be in the laboratory will have to cope with earthquake/fire/injury and must convey the situation to all staff members. The previous version was created immediately after the Tohoku earthquake five years ago. Even though I didn’t think it was fully comprehensive, I always kept it nearby and it was very helpful during the emergency. I recommend that you print it out, read it, and keep it with you just in case. Whatever the next disaster, we must attempt to keep damage and injury to a minimum so that we may continue to make contributions to science. With that in mind, I hope that we have done our part to help you prepare for the next disaster you encounter. (Hopefully you won’t need it!)


Coming up on a half a year since that fateful day and I think we have done quite well. We very much appreciate the support we have received from everyone, and I feel that we are ready and willing, more than ever, to produce good science from Kumamoto. We very much appreciate your continued support and cooperation.


Director, IMEG, Kumamoto University
Ryuichi Nishinakamura