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    Review of 'Widening participation in community-based disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Japan'

    Widening participation in community-based disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in JapanCrossref
    Average rating:
        Rated 3.5 of 5.
    Level of importance:
        Rated 4 of 5.
    Level of validity:
        Rated 3 of 5.
    Level of completeness:
        Rated 3 of 5.
    Level of comprehensibility:
        Rated 3 of 5.
    Competing interests:

    Reviewed article

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    • Abstract: found
    • Article: found
    Is Open Access

    Widening participation in community-based disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Japan

    This paper discusses community participation drawing on ongoing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation projects in the communities affected by the Heavy Rain Event of 2018 in western Japan. By ‘DRR’, the paper supports the perspective of ‘DRR including CCA’. ‘Participatory’ approaches have become a mainstream methodology for community-based DRR as advocated in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The existing participation literature addresses either the types of participation or ‘success’ factors for participation. The paper proposes there is also a challenge of ‘widening participation’, particularly in the initiatives that are already recognised as ‘good practices’. Originally widening participation was a higher education policy in the UK aiming to broaden the demographic composition of the student base. Borrowing this notion, the paper identifies how each project encourages non-participants to get involved in the project activities. The paper also draws on machizukuri [community development], which has increasingly become an overarching social policy integrating health, welfare, education and DRR. Participation is emphasised as a requisite of machizukuri in developing a resilient and sustainable community and ultimately, a democratic society.

      Review information

      This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com.

      Earth & Environmental sciences,Social & Behavioral Sciences
      participatory approaches,widening participation,DRR including CCA,participation,Climate,Sustainable development,community-based DRR and CCA

      Review text

      General comments:

      Level of importance

      The manuscript is very relevant to the contemporary discussions around CBDRR and community-based CCA. The article provides a number of important insights into widening community participation within the Japanese context. This is done according to a number of case studies.


      Level of validity

      One of the worrisome aspects of the article is the academic argumentative style that is used. In some cases it follows an almost conversational style. This can be due to the fact that the authors might not be English mother togue speakers and that some aspects does not easily translate from Japanese onto English. The main flaw in this manuscript is basically the title. One would expect a stronger DRR and CCA focus. Very little of the article focusses on CCA at all. In reading about the case studies, the DRR and CCA components are not clear. The manuscript relies on the analysis of a number of case studies to make the argument for widening participation in DRR and CCA. The majority of the article is focussed on disaster preparedness and response issues. These cannot be equated to DRR and CCA. There is thus a contradiction in what the reader expect after reading the introduction and what is delivered by the authors. I do appreciate the methodology followed as well as the “rich” verbatim data obtained through the various interventions. It is clear that a number of stakeholders formed part of the research which gives it a broader perspective.


      Level of completeness

      The authors provide a valid and strong theoretical foundation for CBDRR, and makes an interesting link to kojojijo and kyojo (and machizukuri). However, the article falls short in binding the theoretical focus with the methodology, results and discussion. In some sense the expectation of the reader falls flat because these very important aspects is not drawn through the whole argument, or it is not entirely clear. I keep on asking: “but where is the DRR and CCA aspects?”


      Level of comprehensibility

      The article will benefit from an English editorial review. I sometimes missed the logical argument and had to read and re-read sections several times. There is a disconnect between the theoretical foundation of the article, the flood event mentioned, and the case studies. It is not clear if the event was the catalyst for all of the community projects? I do not believe Figures 6, 8 and 10 add any value to the article. Figure 9 needs translation. The authors can critically reassess their main line of argumentation to make this more precise and focussed on both DRR and CCA within the context of wider participation by communities.


      Specific comments:

      • I am not convinced that the article “talks” to the title. As mentioned the DRR and CCA focus of the article is not fully addressed through the research. What makes the projects a DRR or CCA project?
      • Some of the sentences and paragraphs, especially in section “5. Four projects” can be edited and streamlined which will add to the logical flow of the manuscript. The text seems to jump from one idea to the next without adequate explanation of some of the elements (e.g. Bosai Café and Bosai Future Meetings are not well explained; how does “Yellow Ribbon”  contribute to DRR, it seems like a response to an emergency? Family Diary is not well explained – what does it entail? Is it a physical diary? Online? How is it administered?)
      • I found it difficult to follow the main line of argument throughout the paper. This might be due to the varied foci on evacuation, disaster response, events which occurred, and community-based development projects. I do not get the sense that the authors are themselves very comfortable with what they mean by community-based DRR and CCA. I see very little of these two aspects in the article although the title highlights these as main issues. The manuscript will have to change significantly on the empirical side to include a strong DRR and CCA focus if the title remains the same.  
      • The aspect of ‘widening participation” is commendable and interesting. I do believe the article manages to capture this element through the research and case studies.
      • Why the mention of the "disaster cycle" in Table 4? If one talks about DRR the focus is on the reduction of risk and not disaster relief, response or recovery. These are distinctly different from DRR. The authors should be weary of equating the thinking in "disaster management" i.e. the disaster cycle, to DRR. Thus a community-based project focussing on disaster recovery cannot be seen as a community-based DRR project except if that recovery is undertaken through a DRR lens (e.g. the recovery leads to risk reduction, avoidance or transfer). It seems like a lot of the discussions and responses revolved around disaster response issues. I do get the sense how DRR or CCA was enhanced.
      • Methodology: It would be beneficial to include one sentence in the methodology giving the total "N" as well as a brief biographical breakdown of the participants (gender/age if available). CBDRR is all about hearing all voices.
      • Utilising verbatim comments is very useful  but they seem to disappear in the text. Consider putting these in italics in their own indented paragraph. 
      • I fail to see the DRR or CCA interventions in the Aruku and Satsuki projects. The project in the Evacuation card project in Ehime Prefecture contains some element of DRR but is still very much focused on disaster preparedness and response. It would be beneficial if the authors can make these connections for the reader.  
      • The discussion section provides a number of interesting thoughts on participation which can be expanded through community-based DRR and CCA lens.
      • The conclusion contains a new discussion on participation which seems out of place. I would suggest moving this to the previous section and incorporate.


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