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The top-down approach:

Micromanagement or bureaucratic, top-down decision making were frequently articulated hindrances impinging on the ability to respond to needs in the community in a timely and relevant way. Insufficient consideration of local perspectives, experience or expertise in decision making, left people feeling undervalued and with little feeling of control over decisions and service direction.

With top-down power systems the person in charge of helping people is lower down the chain and has less say. Local staff work hard and sometimes could insist their opinion but it is against the culture in local government systems where they are expected to follow orders. They often made their own decisions but didn't record or share them. Prof Yasuyuki Sawada - University of Tokyo

Well meaning, but at times Ill-informed decision making by people in control of recovery, (who were often based remotely) made our role more difficult. Kate Riddell – Firefoxes

Various things happen in the affected area but because headquarters is elsewhere you do not have the power to act immediately. You need the okay from headquarters. Anon - Japan

One of the causes we had to fight for was community engagement. The workers in the bureaucratic space talked about community engagement but for the community at large it didn't translate to them feeling engaged and consulted with. Decisions were foregone conclusions. It was tokenistic. The choices weren't ones the community might've wanted. It is like having the option of having your head chopped off or a lobotomy or move to another country. Which one would you like to choose? Anon – Kinglake Ranges

Our expertise and knowledge is not always accepted. The Japanese local government officers have pride that they can manage it. Mie Kashiwade – Plan Japan