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Introduction

Two third of the Japanese Archipelago is dominated by mountains, 100 million people are forced to live and work in slopes or around slopes. Landslides have caused disasters. In 1959, "Landslide Section" was founded in the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University as unique research unit in the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Japan, which was reorganized into a Research Centre on Landslides (RCL) in 2003. Research Centre on Landslides is still the only centre specialized for landslide research in the Ministry. The Landslide Observatory was founded in Tokushima Prefecture as a field monitoring and investigation in DPRI, thereafter, both units have done landslide research from fields and experiments. In 1996, DPRI was reorganized as the national joint research institute and a new section of "Slope Conservation Section" was founded. Then Landslide Section, Slope Conservation Section and Mountain Disaster Section were cooperating in the same Geo-Disaster Division, DPRI, Kyoto University.

Mission

The research Centre on Landslides (RCL) was established in April 2003. RCL aims to pursue research for protecting human lives, properties, and cultural and natural heritages from landslides. RCL conducts research on the mechanisms of initiation and motion of landslides triggered by earthquakes and rainstorms. Efforts are made for the areal prediction of rapid and long-travel landslides, the Development of landslide monitoring and warning system in a global scale, and new techniques of landslide field investigation and instrumentation. Education and capacity building for landslide risk mitigation is also an important task of RCL. As the core centre of global landslide research network, RCL is coordinating international programmes.

The main topics of research and education in RCL are as follows. 1) Initiation and run-out mechanisms of landslides triggered by earthquakes and heavy rains; 2) Reliable landslide risk evaluation and hazard zonation for densely populated urban areas, cultural and natural heritage sites, and other locations of high societal value; 3) development of high-precision and reliable monitoring system of landslides from a local scale to a global scale; 4) Field investigation and development of instrumentations for landslide research; 5) Education and capacity building to reduce landslide disasters in developing countries.