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Emergency Management Division Justice Institute of British Columbia School of Public Safety

Japanese student takes JIBC lessons home to Asia

Hitoshi Igarashi recently completed course work in New Westminster as part of JIBC’s Emergency Management Certificate program. He hopes to adopt elements of the North American system of disaster response in Japan and other countries that he works with through the Community Emergency Management Institute of Japan. (Story and photo by Wanda Chow)

 

Hitoshi Igarashi is no stranger to natural disasters. From the 2011 Fukushima incident and the Tohoku tsunami that followed in Japan to Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines and numerous disasters in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, he’s seen it all.

“I’m like a disaster chaser,” Hitoshi, 51, joked while completing course work in New Westminster as part of the Emergency Management Certificate program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC).

With a master’s degree from the University of Oregon and an undergraduate degree from Eastern Washington University, Hitoshi was looking for a short program to expand his knowledge and skills and learn how emergency management is done in Canada, which has a similar government structure to that in Japan.

He chose JIBC’s program in particular because he wanted to learn from experienced instructors who were well versed in preparing for, and responding to, the types of natural disasters faced in British Columbia. This includes earthquakes and forest fires, which are similar to those of the west coast of the United States and in Japan.

The fact that most of JIBC’s program is conducted online meant he could learn at his own pace, as long as he was meeting deadlines, while still being able to communicate with instructors, which was a particular benefit when he was working in Indonesia. All that remained was one week of intensive coursework at JIBC in person on campus.

“It’s very flexible for working professionals and international travelers.”

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