After the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, the disaster countermeasures concerning medical care in Japan changed drastically. In 2005, the Japanese government began to develop a domestic, rapid, medical response system called Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) for the purpose of rapid medical correspondence in the acute phase. As of 12 July 2010, 393 institutions and 734 teams (3,700 persons) were trained. A DMAT is important not only to the response to large disasters such as earthquakes, but also the response to local disasters. It is important to establish the DMAT system of each prefecture and district.
The DMAT system at the local level was described at the 15th World Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine. During the present Congress, the development and activities of the DMAT system over the past three years will be reported.
Eight local districts in the DMAT system have been developed, and progress has been made in the fields of policy, operative plans, and agreement among each province. The system of inter-prefecture mutual aid must be built upon in the near future.