The International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) was founded approximately one year after the Great East Japan Earthquake. It is Tohoku University’s newest research institution－focusing on both the revival of Tohoku disaster-affected areas and disaster risk reduction worldwide.
On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake and its resulting tsunami devastated the Pacific coast of Tohoku and much of East Japan; an estimated 20,000 people lost their lives in the disaster. The magnitude of this tragedy, however, was then amplified by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Because of this, The Great East Japan Earthquake, followed by nuclear meltdowns of Fukushima, quickly became an unprecedented compound disaster with potential long-lasting effects the likes of which has been rarely seen throughout human history.
In 2007, Tohoku University organized the Research Group on Disaster Prevention and Management. This group of researchers gathered in order to conduct multidisciplinary disaster prevention studies, prioritizing consideration of countermeasures for a forecasted earthquake that may soon occur off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture. However, the reality of the 2011 disaster far exceeded all recorded predictions—leaving the group unable to adequately respond. Consequently, Tohoku University decided to greatly expand the research group to learn from the disaster and to further develop research and activities on disaster risk reduction—resulting in the establishment of IRIDeS in April 2012.