In 2007, in order to promote the interdisciplinary research on disaster prevention and disaster mitigation in the society, Tohoku University gathered a team of experts from 19 faculties and established "The Research Group on Disaster Prevention and Management". In Tohoku region, the earthquake known as the Miyagi offshore earthquake had been predicted as high as 99% probability of occurrence in 30 years, the highest in the world. In order to be prepared for this earthquake, Tohoku University integrated the ongoing researches on humanities and science related to the study of practical disaster prevention and disaster mitigation. Researchers with a variety of specialized science, engineering, earth science, psychology, information science, economics, medicine, and history were enrolled.
However, the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster occurred in the middle of this activity. Function of municipalities were affected by the great tsunami and the nuclear power plant accident which also polluted the environment and damaged the national reputation causing a disrupt of the lifestyle in the community. It was clear that against such low frequency great disaster, the traditional disaster prevention and disaster mitigation measures were not enough. After the earthquake, with the participation of many more scholars, the actual members of over 50 experts, not only deployed a multidisciplinary survey and research on field, but also assisted on the reconstruction of the disaster affected areas.
Tohoku University established the "International Research Institute of Disaster Science as a new integrated interdisciplinary research team to overcome the low frequency great disaster and to use the lessons learned and experiences from the historical global great disasters. The research institute will be a leader in the disaster science related interdisciplinary researches of the world, also supported by a national and international network with other research institutions. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we are focusing on the examination and understanding of the mechanism of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the research on countermeasures for the low frequency great disasters and the Tokai, Tonankai and Nankai Earthquakes. In addition, with an emphasis on the historical perspective to strengthen cooperation in all aspects and with affected local governments, a plan for recovery and reconstruction for future disaster prevention and disaster mitigation for low frequency great disaster will be proposed based on the lessons learned.