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Cooperative Research Program

The U.S.-Japan Research Program on Earthquake Resistant Design of Lifeline Facilities and Countermeasures Against Soil Liquefaction focuses on the earthquake performance of lifelines, with emphasis on liquefaction-induced large ground deformations. Large ground deformations are the principal cause of subsurface structural damage during earthquakes. Currently, there is a growing recognition in the civil and earthquake engineering communities of the importance of large ground deformations. Our understanding of the mechanisms of large ground deformations and their effects on lifeline facilities, and our ability to predict the magnitude and distribution of ground displacements have improved substantially in recent years to provide a rational framework for siting, design, and protective measures. Both Japanese and U.S. researchers have been working on this topic, and it was recognized that considerable benefits will result from their cooperative efforts to collect case history data and recommend the most appropriate analytical methods and design procedures.

The program was initiated formally in November, 1988 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Japanese and U.S. sides. The document was signed at a ceremony during a workshop in Tokyo, Japan by K. Kubo, Professor Emeritus of Tokyo University, and M. Shinozuka, currently the Champion Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Southern California. Professor Kubo signed on behalf of the Association for the Development of Earthquake Prediction (ADEP), the Japanese sponsoring agency. Professor Shinozuka signed on behalf of Robert L. Ketter, then Director of the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (NCEER), the U.S. sponsoring agency.

The research program has concentrated on case histories of earthquake-induced ground deformations and their effects on lifeline facilities. In addition to the publication of the case history volumes, the products of the cooperative research include U.S.-Japan workshops and associated publications of the proceedings covering case history data, analytical modeling, experimental studies and recommendations for improved practices.

The U.S.-Japan Workshop program is a major instrument for collaboration and cooperative exchange. To date, there have been seven workshops. The first was held in Tokyo and Niigata, Japan on November 16-19, 1988. The proceedings of this workshop were published by the Association for the Development of Earthquake Prediction, and are available from the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering and Research (MCEER). The second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth workshops were held in: Buffalo/Ithaca, NY, September 26-29, 1989, NCEER-89-0032;  San Francisco, CA, December 17-19, 1990, NCEER-91-0001; Honolulu, HI, May 27-29, 1992, NCEER-92-0019; Snowbird, UT on September 29-30 & October 1, 1994, NCEER-94-0026; Waseda University, Tokyo, June 11-13, 1996, NCEER-96-0012; respectively. The seventh workshop was held at Seattle, WA on August 15-17, 1999, MCEER-99-0019

Please note: the links to the reports listed above will open  the MCEER Publications Catalog in a new window. If you wish to purchase any of the reports,

  • follow the links above to the catalog,
  • click the check box marked "Select this publication"
  • then click on the button labelled "Go Back"

Cooperative research between Japanese and U.S. earthquake engineers has resulted in significant new findings about liquefaction and its effects on lifeline facilities, assessment of liquefaction potential, modeling of liquefaction-induced large ground displacements, performance of lifeline facilities and foundations, dynamic response of underground structures, and countermeasures and earthquake resistant design against liquefaction.

It is hoped that the spirit of cooperation fostered by these workshops and research program will contribute to a strong and enduring relationship among U.S. and Japanese engineers. It is believed that the research accomplishments of this collaborative activity will encourage additional joint projects and lead to improved understanding and mastery in the field of earthquake engineering.

T.D. O'Rourke
Professor, Cornell University

M. Hamada
Professor, Waseda University

J.P. Bardet
Professor, University of Southern California


Links to Bulletin Articles:

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