Sentinel Asia, an international cooperation project launched with the aim of contributing to disaster management in the Asia-Pacific region using space technology.


  • Mr. Hideaki Matsumoto, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), an incorporated administrative agency in charge of administering Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA), is one of the world's largest bilateral aid agencies supporting socioeconomic development in developing countries in different regions of the world. JICA supports the resolution of issues in developing countries through a flexible combination of various types of cooperation methods. They became a member of Sentinel Asia in in 2019 to support disaster management in those countries.

Mr. Matsumoto is the Director of Disaster Risk Reduction Team 2, (Disaster Risk Reduction Group), Global Environment Department of JICA, and has been involved in DRR-related projects with JICA for more than 10 years, including his current position. DRR Team 2 is in charge of disaster risk reduction projects in developing countries, including earthquake disaster, coastal disaster, and meteorological, seismic and volcanic observation projects.

For the cases of post-disaster recovery and reconstruction projects in which the Sentinel Asia framework has been used most commonly, He has been involved such as the 2003 Bam earthquake in Iran, the 2004 Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan Earthquake, the 2011 Thailand Floods, the 2013 Typhoon in the Philippines, the 2022 Volcanic eruption and Tsunami disaster in Tonga, and the 2023 Earthquake disaster in Turkey.

Sentinel Asia Secretariat interviewed Mr. Matsumoto to hear JICA's disaster management activities relating Sentinel Asia.

Mr. Hideaki Matsumoto,
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Sentinel Asia Secretariat
Thank you for joining Sentinel Asia as a member in March 2019. If I may ask, how did you become a member of Sentinel Asia?

Mr. Hideaki Matsumoto
JICA joined Sentinel Asia triggered by our support activities for the September 2018 earthquake in Sulawesi, Indonesia ( JICA used data provided by Sentinel Asia when considering our reconstruction assistance.

After the Sulawesi earthquake, the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre), which was a member of Sentinel Asia, requested that Sentinel Asia be activated. Using the satellite information obtained from Sentinel Asia, the situation was analyzed by JICA's Japanese expert who was dispatched to Indonesia at the time, and this information was then used for subsequent support planning.

This experience led JICA to become a member of Sentinel Asia so that JICA could directly request the activation of Sentinel Asia.

Euronews introducing the Sulawesi earthquake and Sentinel Asia's effort:

Sentinel Asia Secretariat
If you have had any particularly useful emergency observation cases since you became a member, please tell us about them and why.

Mr. Hideaki Matsumoto
In the response after the eruption of Indonesia's Mount Semeru Volcano in December 2021 (, we were able to use the results of satellite image analysis by Sentinel Asia to get an overview of the situation and extent of the disaster, which enabled us to consider disaster surveillance plans while we were unable to approach the site after the disaster occurred. Especially, the pyroclastic flow extent map as well as the damage proxy maps provided by the Earth Observatory of Singapore - Remote Sensing Lab (EOS-RS), Nanyang Technological University, and the optical satellite image provided by Fromosat-5 were useful.
In addition, since volcanic eruption disasters affect a wide area and their characteristics change continuously, satellite images were very effective in quickly obtaining the situation over a wide area.

Furthermore, JICA made a presentation titled "the Practical utilization of Value added products (VAPs) for JICA operations" at the 28th Session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-28) held in Hanoi, Vietnam in November 2022. I think her presentation material may deepen your understanding.

Sentinel Asia Secretariat
JICA's Global Agenda 20 states "Disaster Risk Reduction through Disaster Prevention and Reconstruction." Could you briefly introduce your specific activities?

Mr. Hideaki Matsumoto
The Global Agenda outlines a policy of support for the disaster management field. First, we believe that the role of disaster reduction in society is not only to contribute to human security by protecting human lives from disasters, but also to contribute to sustainable development by reducing social and economic damage from disasters, in other words, by building the foundation for a stable society. To this end, we believe that efforts to promote disaster risk reduction through pre-disaster investment are most necessary, and this is our first priority. However, disaster risk reduction through pre-disaster investment takes time, and some disasters occur on a scale beyond our expectations. We believe that it is necessary not only to encourage disaster risk reduction efforts, but also to combine efforts to promote comprehensive disaster reduction measures throughout the country and the region. In reality, these two efforts take a considerable amount of time in some countries, during which time disaster damage often occurs. The third initiative is "Build Back Better," which is not to reconstruct a city that will suffer the same kind of damage from a disaster, but to make it a more disaster-resistant region; and review the national and social systems to reconstruct a country and society that are resilient to natural disasters.

Sentinel Asia Secretariat
Regarding disaster risk reduction, it seems essential that all parts of the disaster cycle function in a sound manner. Please tell us how space technology can potentially contribute to this when you consider the collaboration with Sentinel Asia.

Mr. Hideaki Matsumoto
First, what we expect from Sentinel Asia are efforts from disaster emergency response to recovery, which are already taking place even now. If the disaster is widespread or in an area that is difficult to access, the availability of information by satellite would be very useful. I believe that as technology continues to develop and we can more accurately assess the extent of such damage in the future, it will lead to faster and more efficient disaster response and subsequent restoration and reconstruction discussions. In terms of the disaster cycle, in addition to emergency response and recovery/reconstruction as described above, there is also disaster prevention/mitigation and preparation. In disaster mitigation and prevention, it is necessary to understand the mechanisms of disasters and natural phenomena when planning disaster countermeasures, and for this purpose, it is necessary to track changes in topography and other factors from the past. Also, in preparations, if information can be obtained by satellite in a timely manner, it can be used effectively.

Sentinel Asia Secretariat
Disaster management is also a major part of the SDGs, and we would like to hear about any plans you have for the use of space technology in disaster management from the perspective of promoting the SDGs.

Mr. Hideaki Matsumoto
As I mentioned when I explained about the Global Agenda, I believe that disaster management is the foundation and basis for sustainable development, and similarly, space technology can be the basis for promoting the SDGs. Relative to disaster management and disaster prevention, information on disaster hazards is necessary for disaster prevention and development considerations. I believe that we can contribute to the SDGs by providing society with information on disaster hazards through space technology and in combination with other technologies and knowledge.

Sentinel Asia Secretariat
In closing, please tell us about your aspirations as a Sentinel Asia member and your hopes and expectations for Sentinel Asia in the future.

Mr. Hideaki Matsumoto
The impetus for joining Sentinel Asia was the thought that satellite images would be very useful in considering reconstruction assistance, etc. In reality, however, I believe that most requests to activate Sentinel Asia are made by individual countries, which is the standard practice. Of course, JICA could also make a contribution by sending a request if a member authority of the affected country is unable to do so.

I think the biggest change since we joined is that we have become more actively involved in satellite and space technology in the field of disaster management, although this may have been driven by the times and society. I feel that this has led to a better understanding of space technology and, as a result, more opportunities to utilize it.

In order to make the best use of this information, we still do not have enough knowledge, and there are gaps in knowledge within the disaster management group, so we need to improve our level of knowledge within JICA. We have also heard that communicating needs from the user side and providing feedback on the results of use are effective in improving satellite technology. I also believe that the use of space technology in JICA will promote its use. We hope to make even a small contribution with the awareness that we are not just users of space technology, but also stakeholders in it.