May 11, 2017
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) is taking cue from the experiences of Japan in modernizing the state weather bureau's weather forecasting system.
The Japan Meteorological Agency acts as the authoritative voice in delivering basic early warning and decision support to central and local governments. Japan's Meteorological Service Act also guides the roles of various stakeholders like private sector and mass media underscoring strong private sector role in value-added forecasting for the public and raising disaster awareness.
Dr. Mitsuhiko Hatori of the Japan Meteorological Business Support Center shared in a seminar with PAGASA that it took years for Japan to modernize its weather forecasting system but through public-private partnership, they were able to advance and digitize weather radars and forecasting system.
"Japan and the Philippines have common experiences when it comes to disasters. We're both located on the Pacific Ring of Fire making us vulnerable to natural hazards," said JICA Senior Representative Ayumu Oshima. "Our countries can learn from each other especially on how to use science to improve disaster risk reduction policies".
PAGASA has partnered with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in a three-year development cooperation to enhance the Philippines' capacity on weather observation and forecasting called JICA-PAGASA on Weather Project or J-POW.
"Through the project, we've already trained about 140 technical personnel in PAGASA in calibrating and maintaining instruments," said PAGASA Administrator Dr. Vicente Malano.
J-POW includes conduct of awareness raising activities and seminars, dispatch of experts, and provision of equipment to boost the Philippines' disaster awareness and resiliency.
Japan has a long history in modernizing its weather forecasting and warning system as early as late 18th century. They have established their own legal and institutional framework, weather system and delivery, and stakeholder collaboration before becoming one of the world's most advanced nations in meteorological services.
Japan through JICA has been supporting PAGASA and the Philippines' frontline agencies for disaster management since the 1970s. JICA supported PAGASA in its first weather surveillance system equipment and flood forecasting and warning system.