This paper discusses the ‘all-of-society engagement’ concept promoted in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015–2030, drawing on the case of Kuroshio Town, Kochi Prefecture in Japan. The framework does not offer a clear definition of ‘all-of-society engagement’. The paper suggests the case of Kuroshio Town could help us envisage what ‘all-of-society engagement’ might look like. The people in the town were shocked to receive the official revised prediction of a forthcoming mega earthquake and tsunami in March 2012, which suggested that the Nankai Trough Earthquake could reach the seismic intensity of seven, and the subsequent tsunami could be as high as 34.4 m in a certain part of Kuroshio Town. Pessimism spread, and an attitude of ‘giving up’ prevailed. Kuroshio Town Hall had to come up with a drastic measure to unite the whole town, which was to present a clear philosophy, rather than technical measures. The narrative of ‘never give up’ was thus constructed, which was gradually appreciated and shared by the residents of the town. The paper teases out this whole-town preparedness project with the use of the four priorities of actions in the Sendai Framework as an analytical tool. The analysis brings certain mechanisms deployed in the town to the fore, which enabled the co-construction of the narrative of ‘never give up’, contributing to motivating the residents to engage in preparedness activities.
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