15th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting – Special Session on “Natural Disaster Response with a Central Focus on Employment Policy” by the Government of Japan

Asia and the Pacific is the more affected by natural disasters than any other region of the world. This Special Session, organised by the Government of Japan, discusses the central role of employment policies in natural disaster response. It includes discussions of lessons learned from past as well as continuing natural disaster response efforts in the region.

Programme and participants

Introduction by the Moderator: Ms Aiko Doden, NHK

Opening Remarks:

  • H.E. Ms Yoko Komiyama, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan
  • Mr Juan Somavia, Director-General, ILO


  • Government: Brigadier Sajid Naeem, National Disaster Management Authority Prime Minister's Secretariat, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Government: Mr SASOMSUB Phadermchai, Minister of Labour, Thailand
  • Employers: Mr Phil O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Business NZ
  • Workers: Mr Hiroyuki NAGUMO, General Secretary, JTUC-RENGO
  • ILO Representative: Mr José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Director,Employment Sector, ILO


Asia and the Pacific is more prone to natural disasters than any other region. Damage to employment caused by natural disasters is significant. In Japan, the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011 severely affected employment in the country. The Japanese Government’s 'Japan as One' Work Programme implemented comprehensive measures to create jobs through reconstruction projects, supporting disaster victims' re-employment, maintaining employment and helping victims rebuild their livelihoods.

Following this experience, the Japanese Government believes that marshalling lessons learned from Japan's post-disaster employment policy and the efforts of other constituents in the region, can promote better understanding of the centrality of employment issues in natural disaster response. This Special Session looks into disaster response efforts in Japan and elsewhere in the region, by inviting panellists representing governments, workers, employers and the ILO. The panel shares their experiences on employment-led natural disaster response and lay out some key issues for future disaster response efforts.