Both prone to earthquakes, Turkey and Japan cooperate on responding to natural disasters. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which oversees Japan's development assistance program and is renowned for its technological know-how in disaster response, runs a program to that effect. JICA and Turkey will work on the seismic retrofit of some 10,000 schools in Turkey. Materials used in the retrofitting will be manufactured in Turkey.
JICA, which supported important projects in Turkey like Marmaray, an underwater tunnel connecting Istanbul's European and Asian sides, has been active in Turkey for 60 years and will now extend its outreach to disaster response, particularly for public buildings like schools. An external retrofit will be first tested at a school in Istanbul.
Takehiro Yasui, JICA Chief Representative for Turkey, said they expected an increase in volume and diversification in their cooperation with Turkey, adding that they already engage in a series of projects for disaster management with several agencies in the country, as well as ministries. Yasui said they also want to raise awareness in the Turkish public about natural disasters and assist in training more than 157,000 people in basic disaster response, adding that they want to help Turkey add "disaster management" courses to the Turkish curriculum. Turkey is among the world's most seismically active countries as it is situated on a number of active fault lines. In the most recent earthquake-related disaster, more than 600 people died in October 2011 in the eastern province of Van after a 7.2 magnitude quake, followed by powerful aftershocks. The most potentially devastating fault line in Turkey is the Northern Anatolia Fault (NAF), where the Anatolian and Eurasian plates meet.