This research project applies the human security approach to natural disasters in order to better understand and mitigate their impacts on people. Japan’s ‘triple disasters’ were the starting point for the project, but it considers them in comparison to other “mega-disasters” such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. To date human security discourse and policy has not paid sufficient attention to natural disasters, despite the Commission on Human Security highlighting them as one of the three greatest threats to human security. The project seeks to address this gap through refining the human security approach and emphasizing the ‘human’ in ‘natural’ disasters. It does so by examining the role of humans in creating, preventing and mitigating disasters; how people are affected differently; how the lives of individuals and communities can be rebuilt; and what opportunities for empowerment exist during and after disasters.