EMPREP 99: Back by Popular DemandWritten by Nathan Lee Rhoden Sunday, 18 November 2007 12:53
This popular event will feature promotional themes and seminars related to current Y2K issues, and the planning, preparations, survival and restoration of services after natural disasters such as fire, earthquake, or floods. Hundreds of public procurement officials from governments, fire departments, and disaster management agencies, as well as Japanese suppliers, distributors and trading companies, will be attending to examine American products and attend related seminars. Sponsored by the Commercial Service of the U.S. Embassy, this exhibition and seminar provides a unique opportunity for U.S. companies with products and services related to emergency preparedness and disaster response to promote themselves in Japan.
The 1995 Kobe earthquake caused an immediate upsurge in disaster awareness and concern in Japan. The need for planning and managing contingencies across a wide range of potential disasters is becoming increasingly clear to thoughtful decision-makers in both the private and public sectors. Yet, it is a fact of human nature that unpleasant memories tend to fade very rapidly.
Even though that powerful earthquake and the subsequent fires claimed over 6,000 lives and wrecked tremendous physical and economic damage on the local business community, today, Kobe City and the surrounding areas are "back to normal." The only visible traces of the earthquake are to be found in a few memorial parks that bear silent testimony to the frightful power of nature. But, it is also both extremely important and sadly sobering to realize that, while more than 4 years have gone by, the total economic output of the region has not yet fully recovered. Economic and corporate statistics still bear evidence to the long-term impact on business in the disaster stricken region, and this fact should serve as both an eye-opener and reminder to all prudent businessmen. Effective business continuity planning is an essential part of long-term corporate survival and success.
The Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce offers a variety of services to U.S. companies seeking to enter the Japanese market. The U.S. Trade Center is operated by the Commercial Service. Each year the Trade Center organizes and holds a series of high-profile trade exhibitions to help U.S. companies develop new business in the Japanese market sectors with the greatest potential for American products and services. The emergency preparedness and disaster response industry has been growing steadily in Japan since the Kobe earthquake, and the current market for emergency preparedness, and disaster response and recovery, including the stockpiling of emergency supplies, food, and water, has been estimated by some to be as large as USD$100 billion.
EMPREP’99 will be the third seminar and exhibition of its kind sponsored by the U.S. Commercial Service. Building upon the successes of two previous similar events, EMPREP’99 will feature promotional themes and seminars related to Y2K strategies and contingency planning, disaster planning, preparation, survival and restoration following emergencies and natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, and fires. U.S. manufacturers with related products and services, and their representatives, are being invited to join in as exhibitors. Response has already been significant, and it is anticipated that EMPREP’99 attendance will surpass all expectations by June.
In addition to fully furnished exhibit booths at the MIPRO Hall during the event itself, U.S. companies that elect to participate will be provided with a variety of marketing and promotional assistance. Abstracts submitted by participating companies will be reviewed by a panel of industry specialists and a number of selected exhibitors will receive the opportunity to deliver 30 minute technical presentations. Participants’ products will be given full page coverage in a promotional catalog that will be direct mailed to a target audience prior to the exhibition. And, the U.S. Commercial Service itself will undertake a country-wide promotional campaign to attract key industry end-users, manufactures, system integrators, government decision makers, importers and distributors to the event.
The first "U.S. Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response Exhibition/Seminar" was held in February, 1997. U.S. products and services from 35 exhibiting companies were displayed according to the following categories: Emergency Transport Equipment, Emergency Packaged Food & Water, Emergency Communications Equipment, Rescue Equipment & Clothing, Planning Management and Training Services, Medical & Survival Kits, and Disaster Recovery Equipment. Japanese attendance to this first event of its kind exceeded a thousand individuals, and consisted mostly of decision-makers from the Japanese public sector. EMPREP’97 followed-up rapidly on this success, and was held in December of that same year.
At this second event, U.S exhibitors increased to 46 companies, and local attendance to the seminar and exhibition was characterized by a marked increase in private sector participation. 38% consisted of distributors, importers, and manufacturers. 29% were from Japanese central, prefectural or municipal governments. Hospitals and medical facilities accounted for an additional 22%, while utilities and transportation companies and other interested parties consisted of 7% and 4%, respectively. Incidentally, at EMPREP’97, several hundred copies of the Disaster Recovery Journal with small Japanese translation inserts were distributed to Japanese attendees courtesy of DRJ and Quake Japan (Quake Japan is DRJ’s international contact and partner here in Japan).
Further information on EMPREP’99 is available on the U.S. Commercial Service website at www.csjapan.doc.gov or feel free to contact the author of this article at Rhoden@CMPO.org.
Nathan Lee Rhoden was born and raised in Japan. His parents were American Missionaries. He speaks Japanese with native fluency, but was educated in English. He has spent most of his professional career working for Japanese companies, primarily in new business development. Nathan has been assisting CMPO on a volunteer basis since its inception in June of 1997.
The Crisis Management and Preparedness Organization (CMPO) is a non-profit organization inspired by the Business and Industry Council for Emergency Planning and Preparedness (BICEPP) located in the Los Angeles area. CMPO’s primary mission is to assist Japanese corporations in preparing for disasters. The first CMPO public event was held in October, 1997. That free seminar on Crisis Management drew 188 attendees from both the private and public sector. Each and every month since then, CMPO has funded an event to help educate and heighten the awareness of corporations in Tokyo.
Currently CMPO is working with DRJ on producing a Japanese product: DRJ-Japan.