Prefatory note

New Year Greetings for 2014

Taketo Uomoto

I wish you members of Japan Concrete Institute a happy and prosperous New Year.

In starting the New Year, I would like to first take a look back at the Institute’s activities of the past year, and go on to introduce our plans for the near future.

Last year, the Special Committee on the Great East Japan Earthquake has ended its activities. In order to summarize its research and studies concerning the "The Great East Japan Earthquake", the Committee issued a Second Recommendation, as well as holding two briefing sessions in April and May 2013, at Tokyo and Osaka, respectively. Many of the concrete structures reinforced by seismic strengthening had escaped serious damage from the Earthquake, proving the effectiveness of concrete structures in insuring civilian safety. However, there still are many challenges yet to be overcome, such as disposal of debris, Tsunami-proof designs, organizing academic knowledge concerning damage appraisal of accidents at nuclear power plants, and the necessity of implementing legal easing steps during the restoration period. Out of these challenges, JCI has decided to initiate considerations on debris disposal, by newly launching a feasibility study committee concerning the effective use of unused resources.

Another topic to be considered, is the Sasago Tunnel accident in 2012, where the ceiling slabs collapsed, taking 9 civilian lives. Following the accident, JCI has judged the immediate need of technical measures to be taken against aging infrastructures, and launched a special committee concerning the maintenance and reinforcement technology of existing concrete structures.

Not only earthquakes, but other natural disasters such as floods, landslides, mudslides and tornadoes, have impacted Japanese lives in recent years. In fighting such natural disasters and preserving national land, the active roles played by Authorized Concrete Engineers/ Authorized Chief Concrete

Engineers and Concrete Diagnosis & Maintenance Engineers are much anticipated. In order to increase the number of applicants, and to expand the area of activity for certified engineers, JCI has decided to ease the qualification standards for the candidates, and to clarify the privileges of being certified, as well as carrying out PR activities.

JCI is also shifting its focus out to the world. In the past year, JCI has hosted two international conferences focusing on technical problems concerning global environmental issues; the ICCS13 (First International Conference on Concrete Sustainability: May 2013, Tokyo) and SCMT3 (International Conference on Sustainable Construction Materials and Technologies: August 2013, Kyoto). Both of these conferences were of high impact and importance, aiming to seek the concrete industry’s future role in the world. A total of 751 individuals from 76 countries participated in the two conferences, and 561 papers were submitted. JCI has also established a committee aiming to promote research collaborations with the ACI. A first joint seminar is planned to be held in Hawaii during July 2014, followed by future workshops and symposiums held on a regular basis.

JCI will celebrate its 50th anniversary in July, 2015. The institute has established an executive committee for the commemoration of its 50th anniversary, and the committee is currently planning details of the commemorative symposium, publication of the memorial magazine, and production of an introductory DVD on concrete engineering technologies.

This year in Japan, there will be a raise in consumer tax. However, with the reconstruction support to the Tohoku region hit by the Earthquake, and the facility investments for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, robust economic activities in the construction industry can be anticipated. Under these conditions, and together with your support, the Japan Concrete Institute intends to further promote research in the field of concrete engineering, and thus contribute to providing citizens with a nation based on a safe and secure infrastructure.

Taketo Uomoto
Chief Executive
Public Works Research Institute

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