The first day of the study tour immediately started with a busy day. The first excursion was already planned for Tuesday morning. Pacific Consultants was the first company that welcomed us during our study tour. The excursion started with a small tour through the museum of the company. A employee of the company told us about the history of the company. Pacific Consultants was founded after the Second World War. Nowadays it is very broad company with expertise in many fields within the Civil engineering industry.
After the short tour through the museum of Pacific Consultants, we were guided to a conference room in which some employees were awaiting us. The hierarchy and working methods within Japanese companies were immediately clear. The guide of the company first introduced us to all employees that were present. After that, the first one to speak was the Managing Director of the company. He welcomed us to his company, after which the presentations of the other employees could start.
The first presentation was about the efforts towards recovery and reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The earthquake caused a very heavy Tsunami, that was responsible for, among others, the nuclear disaster that took place in the neighbourhood of Sendai city. The Tsunami also flooded large parts of the East coast of Japan. Many levees and coastal facilities were damaged by the Tsunami. The Tsunami made the Japanese engineers rethink how their (coastal) levees should be built up. For example, the old levees were not able to withstand the return flow of the Tsunami. Measures have been included in new levees to cope with the return flow of a tsunami, which makes the chance of a breaking point in the levees lower. Furthermore, they had to think about relocation of residential areas. In Ofunato City (170 km north of Sendai) they moved all flooded residential areas to places higher on the hills/mountains. Whether this was a temporary or permanent solution for protection against flooding remained unclear. Like in every other country, Pacific Consultants had to deal with many stakeholders during this project. They managed the stakeholders by composing flexible requirements for the project.
Secondly, Pacific Consultants presented their involvement in projects concerning the Olympic Games of 2020 in Tokyo. Pacific Consultants are the Project Managers of all 42 facilities for the Games and they compose the design for 8 individual facilities. The Project Management also includes the construction phase of the projects. This presentation showed that Pacific Consultants are a very broad company, like many other Japanese companies. The company exists of many departments, all with a different kind of expertise and all responsible for different parts of the design for certain facilities. By answering one of our questions, it also stood out that Tokyo is not going to change any transportation plans within the city in order to cope with the extra population that the Olympic Games will bring with it.
The last presentation was about the Metro Manila Subway Project. The construction of a new metro line of in total 25 km must improve three big issues in Manila: traffic congestion, impact of natural disasters and the housing situation. Furthermore, it should improve productivity and international competitiveness. Pacific Consultations should bring Japanese knowledge about building metro lines to the Philippines. The biggest issue and challenge for the project is the needed land acquisition.
Lastly, we ended the discussion with a lunch, during which we could ask some final question. Pacific Consultants provided a tasty typical Japanese lunch. When they lifted the curtains, it suddenly appeared that we had a wonderful view from the conference room, which we could enjoy during lunch.