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【Photo Diary】(1) Visit to Taiwan to Attend Inauguration Ceremony of President Lai Ching-te [2024/06/21]
I would like to share with you some of the photographs taken during my visit to Taiwan from May 18 to 21, 2024, as chairman of The Nippon Foundation to attend the inauguration ceremony of Mr. Lai Ching-te as Taiwan’s fifth directly elected president.

He was sworn in as president on May 20, marking the start of a historic third consecutive term for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

During my stay in the capital Taipei and Tainan, southern Taiwan, I also talked separately with the new president and three of his predecessors−Ms. Tsai Ing-wen and Mr. Chen Shui-bian of DPP and Mr. Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang (KMT) party−as well as other government and business leaders.

[May 18, Taipei]

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A dinner with Chairman Thomas Wu (front row, third from right) and other members of Taiwan’s Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce.


[May 19, Taipei and Tainan]

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Meeting with outgoing president Tsai Ing-wen, who led Taiwan for two four-year terms (2016-2024), at the Presidential Office. Also sitting in on the meeting were Mr. Qiu Yiren, senior advisor to the president, and Mr. Gu Lixiong, the incoming minister of national defense.
I told her that I was honored and pleased to meet her on the final day of her administration, commending her leadership as president during the last eight years, which I said deepened the Japanese government and people’s understanding of the democratic system in Taiwan.
I invited her to visit Japan, hopefully this autumn. She did not directly respond, but said she wants to go to Japan more often, as she did before becoming president.


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Meeting with former president Chen Shui-bian (2000-2008) at his house in Tainan. He said he was discharged from hospital the previous day in order to see me and appreciated the fact that I had traveled from Taipei to Tainan to see him.
I told him he looked in good shape and that I had enjoyed taking a Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) train for the first time. The THSR started operation in 2007 when Mr. Chen was in office, using Shinkansen technology that was exported from Japan for the first time.


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In front of a huge Chinese banyan tree at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan. The tree was planted in 1923 by Japan’s Emperor Showa, who reigned from 1926 to 1989, when he was still the crown prince.


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With Foreign Minister Joseph Wu Jaushieh at a reception hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Taipei Guest House. In the new administration, Mr. Wu returned to his previous job as secretary-general of the National Security Council.

(To be continued)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 12:00 | PHOTO DIARY | URL | comment(0)
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China’s PLA Delegation Visits Japan for First Time in 5 Years Under Sasakawa Peace Foundation’s Exchange Program [2024/06/14]
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At a reception on May 16, 2024, to welcome a delegation of 20 field officers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the Chinese Communist Party. The group visited Japan for exchanges with the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) under a program organized by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.


A delegation of 20 senior field officers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the Chinese Communist Party arrived in Tokyo on May 14 for a week of exchanges with their Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) counterparts.

This was the first PLA mission to visit Japan in five years under the program organized by the Sasakawa Japan-China Friendship Fund of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), The Nippon Foundation’s partner organization.

Speaking at a reception held at a Tokyo hotel on May 16, I welcomed the delegation, saying: “Geographically, Japan and China are inseparable neighbors. In the turbulent international situation, they may sometimes encounter political issues. But it is important for JSDF and PLA field officers to visit and see each other’s country at first hand and promote mutual understanding.”

SPF President Atsushi Sunami underscored the increasing importance of the exchange program between Japanese and Chinese senior officers under the current international situation.

Major General Zhang Baoqun, deputy chief of the Office for International Military Cooperation of the Chinese Central Military Commission, stated that the exchange program will “contribute to promoting mutual understanding between a new generation of the two countries’ young leaders in the field of national security,” adding: “I came to Japan determined to cement the foundation of developing the relations between China and Japan.”

After arriving in Tokyo, the Chinese group visited the Japanese Defense Ministry to pay a courtesy call on Vice Minister for International Affairs Kiyoshi Serizawa and exchanged views on building mutual trust between JSDF and PLA officers through the exchange program. The Chinese officers then went on to the National Institute for Defense Studies, the ministry’s think tank, for discussions on national security issues of mutual concern.

Later during the weeklong visit, the Chinese delegation toured the Komaki Air Base of the Air Self-Defense Force near Nagoya, central Japan, and the  Maizuru Naval Base of the Maritime Self-Defense Force on the Sea of Japan coast northwest of Kyoto. The defense equipment they inspected included a C-130H transport aircraft and the Hiuchi, a Hiuchi-class auxiliary multipurpose support ship.

To deepen their understanding of Japanese history and culture, the Chinese officers also toured Daitoku-ji Temple in Kyoto, known for its close associations with the tea ceremony, Amanohashidate in northern Kyoto Prefecture, one of Japan’s three most celebrated scenic spots, as well as the Printing Museum, Tokyo, run by Toppan Printing Co., to learn about the art of printing through exhibits and workshops.

Since 2001, the Sasakawa Japan-China Friendship Fund of the SPF has undertaken the Japan-China Field Officer Exchange program of annual exchange visits between field officers of JSDF and PLA.

Under the project, a total of 268 Chinese officers have made 13 tours to Japan while 165 of their Japanese counterparts have made 14 trips to China. Mutual visits were suspended in 2012 due to the deterioration of bilateral political relations and resumed in 2018, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a four-year hiatus.

With COVID-19 restrictions lifted in both countries, a group of 13 SDF field officers visited China between July 16 and 24, 2023, to engage with their PLA counterparts under the program.

A reciprocal visit by PLA officers to Japan that had been set for the fall of last year was called off when Beijing expressed displeasure over Japan’s decision to release treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power complex into the sea.

At the welcome reception, I was pleased to have the opportunity to talk with female PLA officers. I hope a JSDF mission will include female officers when it visits China this autumn.


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The author (center) chatting over drinks with senior officers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the Chinese Communist Party at a reception at a Tokyo hotel on May 16, 2024.


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With female PLA officers. I hope a delegation of the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) will include female officers when it visits China this autumn.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 14:19 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
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“Ocean Census” Officially Endorsed as UN Ocean Decade Program [2024/06/12]
The Nippon Foundation-Nekton Ocean Census, a global alliance dedicated to the discovery and protection of marine life, has been officially endorsed as a UN Ocean Decade program.

This recognition cements the project’s large-scale strategic science mission to transform our knowledge of life on Earth, Ocean Census said in a statement posted on its website.

Proclaimed in 2017 by the UN General Assembly, the Ocean Decade, formally called the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), seeks to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the decline of the state of the ocean system and catalyze new opportunities for sustainable development of this massive marine ecosystem.

Ocean Census was launched by The Nippon Foundation and Nekton, a U.K.-based marine research institute, in April 2023 with the ambitious target of finding at least 100,000 new marine species in the first decade.

Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno, executive director of the foundation, said: “It’s estimated that 75-90% of the estimated 1-2 million marine species remain undiscovered. Ocean Census is a moonshot to discover ocean life, setting out to reach the next important milestone of 100,000 new species. If we can discover ocean life, we can help protect it. We have a race against time to discover new species before they are lost for future generations.”

Professor Alex Rogers, Ocean Census science director, commented: “The UN Ocean Decade’s mission to leverage ‘The science we need for the ocean we want’ is wholly aligned to our purpose, which brings together international partners to take on the global challenge to accelerate the discovery of new marine species to help combat the biodiversity crisis.”

Ocean Census is an open, global alliance which already contains scientists from more than 250 institutes and 40 international partners, including universities, museums, governments, businesses, civil societies and philanthropists.

Some of the partners include national marine institutes IFREMER  (France), JAMSTEC (Japan), NIWA (New Zealand), and IEO (Spain) alongside the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), Senckenberg Institute and the Schmidt Ocean Institute.

Major expeditions to discover ocean life have already been undertaken by Ocean Census and partners, including to the Arctic, central and eastern Pacific, Atlantic (Macaronesia–Canary Islands), and South Pacific, resulting in the discovery of hundreds of new species.

In order to expedite the process of species identification−a process which can take several years to complete−Ocean Census has developed a new approach known as “cyber-taxonomy” using 3D imaging, DNA sequencing and machine learning to enable scientists to identify new species in a matter of days, according to Dive Magazine, the world’s premium diving magazine.

Ensuring that the new data is accessible to decision-makers and scientists, Ocean Census is in the process of developing the Ocean Life Cyber-Biodiversity System, which was discussed at the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona, Spain, in April.

I sincerely hope that Ocean Census, with the added mandate as a UN Ocean Decade program, will create a closer and more robust alliance with the existing and potential partners around the world to achieve the ambitious goal of discovering 100,000 new marine species in the first decade.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 13:23 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
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Almost 90% of Japanese Youths View Politics as Not Clean, 80% Don’t See Politicians Taking Accountability in Fundraising Scandal: Poll [2024/06/07]
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Are politics in Japan clean?


Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has struggled to restore trust in politics tarnished by the biggest fundraising scandal to engulf his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in decades. The approval rating of his Cabinet has plummeted to around 20%, the lowest since he took office in October 2021.

The scandal over the alleged underreporting and misallocation of funds from fundraising parties by LDP factions led to the disbandment of Kishida’s and other ruling party factions, the resignation of several key Cabinet ministers and party officials, and the indictment of 10 people−three LDP lawmakers and their aides.

Against this background, The Nippon Foundation conducted an online survey on “Politics and Money” on April 12-14, covering 1,000 men and women aged between 17 and 19 across the country.

Asked whether they were aware of the slush fund scandal, two in five of the respondents (42.1%) said they had heard of the scandal but did not know the details, while less than a third (30.7%) were familiar with the details. One in five (19.4%) were not aware of the scandal and 7.8% did not respond.

Queried whether they think politicians are accountable to the public for the money they raise, more than fourth-fifths (81.4%) answered no. A similar percentage (82.5%) said that politicians are not accountable for how they spend the funds they raise.

Of those who were familiar with the details of the scandal, 73.9% thought the lawmakers involved are not taking accountability.

Regarding the prime minister’s responses to questions during Diet (Parliament) sessions, only 15.0% said they can be trusted but well over half (60.7%) said they could not. As for statements made in media interviews by lawmakers involved in the scandal, less than one in ten respondents (9.2%) said they can be trusted, while 69.0% said they could not.

The poll also found that more than 70% (71.4%) believe that lawmakers enjoy privileges and special treatment.

With regard to the current state of politics in Japan, almost 80% (79.9%) said that politics do not reflect the will of the people, while three in four (75.3%) do not believe politicians were making necessary decisions in a timely manner.

Asked whether politics are clean (as in free from wrongdoing and transparent), almost nine in ten (87.1%) answered no.

Queried whether they would vote in the future, almost two thirds (64.0%) answered yes and 13.3% no, with 22.7% saying either they didn’t know or did not want to answer.

Of those who said yes, almost one fourth (23.1%) said they did so because they wanted to express their disapproval of the party or candidate involved in the slush fund scandal. By gender, one in four males (26.7%) and one in five females (19.2%) responded this way. On the other hand, almost half of the total (49.7%) said they would vote regardless of the fundraising scandal.

Of those who said they did not intend to vote, 17.3% said it was because a party or candidate they supported was involved in the scandal and there was no other party or candidate they wished to vote for, while 27.8% said it was because the scandal made them distrustful of or lose interest in politics. One third (33.1%) said they had no intention of voting at all, regardless of the scandal.

Other reasons given for not voting included: “None of the parties are good,”  “I don’t care what happens in this society,” and “I don’t want to be bothered,” revealing that they did not want to actively express their opinions through voting.

When asked to choose which of the following two statements was closer to how they felt−Japanese youths are increasingly disengaging from politics/Politics are disengaging from young people−more than half (54.2%) chose the former and the remaining 45.8% the latter.

I find the results of the survey are striking as they seem to indicate that young people are turning their back on politics, while at the same time taking a dim view of the current state of politics, which do not reflect the will of young people. 


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Accountability of lawmakers involved in the political funds scandal (among respondents who were familiar with the details).


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Trustworthiness of information regarding the political funds issue (all respondents)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 11:05 | A FUTURE FOR YOUTH | URL | comment(0)
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Receiving Anthem Award Statue for Back to Blue Project from The Economist Group CEO [2024/06/03]
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Ms. Lara Boro (right), CEO of The Economist Group, hands me the prestigious bronze Anthem Award statue awarded to the Back to Blue project by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences (IADAS). Back to Blue is a joint initiative between The Nippon Foundation and Economist Impact, part of the group, to accelerate momentum for improving ocean health and creating global dialogue.


On May 7, Ms. Lara Boro, CEO of The Economist Group, a world-renowned multinational media company headquartered in London, came to see me at The Nippon Foundation in Tokyo.

Her purpose was to present me with the prestigious Anthem Award bronze statue given to the Back to Blue project by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences (IADAS) in 2022 in the Sustainability, Environment and Climate category.

The Back to Blue initiative was created in 2021 by The Nippon Foundation and Economist Impact, part of The Economist Group, to address the escalating challenges posed by pollution from plastic debris and pollution from nutrients and chemical contaminants that are damaging ocean life and ecosystems, and in turn human health.

The project combines the scientific knowledge The Nippon Foundation has built over the years with the analytical insights that Economist Impact fosters.

The annual Anthem Awards was launched in 2021 with a mission to celebrate and highlight the incredible social impact work happening across the globe. It is now recognized as the biggest and most comprehensive social impact award in the world.

I greatly appreciated Ms. Lara Boro taking time out of her busy schedule to come all the way from London to Tokyo to hand the statue to me.

The Economist Group is an indispensable partner of The Nippon Foundation in addressing global ocean issues. On March 11-13 this year, Economist Impact organized the 11th World Ocean Summit, a leading global event on the marine economy, in Lisbon, Portugal. It brought together more than 200 speakers and 1,000 delegates, including representatives from governments, the U.N. and the global ocean community, as well as senior executives from the technology, finance, science and civil society sectors.

In March 2025, The Nippon Foundation, in partnership with Economic Impact, will host the 12th World Ocean Summit in Tokyo.

Speaking at the 2024 summit in Lisbon on March 13, I said: “As the chairman of The Nippon Foundation, and a proud citizen of a nation, with deep historical and cultural ties to the ocean, I look forward to welcoming you all next year. See you in Tokyo!”

The Tokyo summit will continue action-based conversations on the key themes from recent World Ocean summits, as well as provide a vital opportunity for participants from Asia to engage with the global ocean community ahead of the U.N. Oceans Conference in June 2025.

Recognizing that the transition to a sustainable ocean economy is one of the most pressing issues facing the world, the foundation is already preparing for the 2025 summit.


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Speaking at the 11th World Ocean Summit in Lisbon on March 13, I invite participants to join the 2025 summit in Tokyo that The Nippon Foundation will host in partnership with Economic Impact, a part of the Economist Group.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 19:01 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
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The Nippon Foundation to Support Establishment of Minerva University’s New Global Rotation City in Tokyo (2) [2024/05/30]
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At the signing ceremony on April 22, 2024, to add Tokyo as Minerva University’s newest global rotation city, two of its students from Japan, Ms. Yasuko Kinoshita (left) and Mr. Mototada Furuta (right), speak about their lives at the world’s most innovative university.


At the ceremony on April 22 where The Nippon Foundation and Minerva University signed the agreement to add Tokyo to the university’s global rotation city program, two current students from Japan spoke about why they chose to attend Minerva and their experiences there, as well as their expectations for Tokyo as a new rotation city.

Ms. Yasuko Kinoshita, a junior student who grew up in Akita Prefecture, northeastern Japan, said she chose the university because “I wanted to dive into an environment where students from all over the world gather together.” On the school’s expansion to Tokyo, she said: “I think students will discover a lot by being exposed to Japan’s unique traditions, culture and perspectives.”

Mr. Mototada Furuta, a sophomore from Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, said: “I enjoy extracurricular activities and was fascinated by Minerva University’s education with an emphasis on hands-on experiences. Living in a country for a certain period of time and learning about issues there will enable us to acknowledge, understand and accept different cultures and values”.

The foundation’s support will be made through the Sasakawa Peace Foundation’s Global Leaders Scholarship program and will be used to assist Japanese students attending Minerva, and to promote ties between Minerva University and Japanese universities, local communities and businesses, and to arrange internships.

Minerva University is a four-year university established in San Francisco that admitted its first class in 2014. About 85% of its students are from outside the United States, representing roughly 100 countries around the world. There were 26 Japanese studying at Minerva as of April 2024.

In 2022 and 2023, Minerva was ranked as the world’s most innovative university by the World University Rankings for Innovation, an organization whose partners include the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

(End)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | A FUTURE FOR YOUTH | URL | comment(0)
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The Nippon Foundation to Support Establishment of Minerva University’s New Global Rotation City in Tokyo (1) [2024/05/29]
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At a ceremony to sign an agreement between The Nippon Foundation and Minerva University on April 22, 2024, to add Tokyo to the university’s global rotation city program. From left, Minerva University President Mr. Mike Magee, the author, and Minerva Japan Representative Director Ms. Hiromi Sakae.


The Nippon Foundation has signed an agreement with Minerva University of San Francisco, ranked in 2022 and 2023 as the world’s most innovative university, to make Tokyo the institution’s latest global rotation city.

The U.S. university, which does not have a physical campus, is known for its unique program fully utilizing its state-of-the-art online learning platform.  After spending their first year in San Francisco, some 150 students from 100 countries move in cohorts to an additional six cities around the world each semester where they reside during their undergraduate program.

With the addition of Tokyo, they will study in San Francisco, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Hyderabad, Seoul, Taipei and Tokyo, participating in hands-on, location-based projects while earning their undergraduate degree, the university said.

Tokyo will join the global city rotation in September 2025.

At the signing ceremony in Tokyo on April 22, Mr. Jumpei Sasakawa, executive director of The Nippon Foundation, said that the foundation will support the university because “if students from various countries engage in Japan-based activities every year, the Japanese people they interact with will grow and become more aware of global issues."

"The students will also become fans of Japan and one day they will work together to build the future of Japan,” he said.

To support the Tokyo rotation city project, the foundation plans to provide $50 million over the next decade, he added.

Minerva University President Mr. Mike Magee said: “We’re excited to add Tokyo to our students’ global rotation in collaboration with The Nippon Foundation. Tokyo will become our first donor-funded rotation city offering students an immersive year-long study opportunity. We look forward to our students learning about Japanese culture and contributing to positive social change through this program.”

The Nippon Foundation will play a pivotal role in providing financial support as well as facilitating partnerships with Japanese universities, businesses, and nonprofits. Additionally, the foundation will foster internship opportunities with start-up companies, enabling students to gain hands-on experience in innovative industries.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, I stated that the objective of Minerva’s innovative program of having students spend four years in several different countries is to have them acquire diverse values and skills for addressing social issues around the world, adding: “I look forward to working with the university to develop human resources of the highest quality.”

(To be continued)  


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Responding to media questions during the ceremony on April 22, 2024, to sign the agreement between The Nippon Foundation and Minerva University to support the establishment of the university’s new global rotation city in Tokyo.


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Mr. Jumpei Sasakawa, executive director of The Nippon Foundation, says the foundation plans to provide $50 million over the next decade to support the Tokyo rotation city project.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:24 | A FUTURE FOR YOUTH | URL | comment(0)
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My Article on Myanmar Posted on “JAPAN Forward” English Site [2024/05/23]
As I posted on this blog on April 30 and May 1, I visited the remote island of Bhasan Char in Bangladesh for the first time on April 6 to look firsthand at the situation of the Myanmar refugee community there and how the humanitarian assistance The Nippon Foundation has provided is helping them.

I also wrote an article on this visit and my years of activities as Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for National Reconciliation in Myanmar and chairman of The Nippon Foundation, for the Seiron (Sound Opinion) column of the April 26 issue of the Sankei Shimbun, a vernacular national daily.

For more than 70 years, Myanmar has been mired in a civil war between the national military and some 20 ethnic armed organizations (EAO). Then, with the military takeover in February 2021 leading pro-democracy civilian groups to join the fray, the county has fallen into even deeper chaos.

Differences in ethnicity, culture, religion, and language, as well as the intentions of surrounding countries, have become intertwined in complex ways. As a result, every day I acutely feel how difficult it will be to achieve peace.

My efforts have been going on for more than a decade. Admittedly, they have been marked by bitter experiences and repeated failures. With that in mind, I have tried as much as possible to control what I say and maintain a posture of "silent diplomacy."

Now, for the first time, I wanted to report on some of my activities for the Seiron column to help readers comprehend just how difficult realizing peace will be.

This article was translated into English and posted on the English news opinion site “JAPAN Forward” supported by Sankei.

This article can be seen here.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 17:24 | MYANMAR | URL | comment(0)
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The Nippon Foundation, 4 Prefectures Extend “Setouchi Oceans X” Project By 3 Years to Achieve the World’s Most Beautiful Inland Sea [2024/05/20]
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After signing an agreement to extend the “Setouchi Oceans X” project by three years to March 2028: from left, Okayama Governor Ryuta Ibaragi, Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki, the author, Kagawa Governor Toyohito Ikeda, and Ehime Governor Tokihiro Nakamura.


The Nippon Foundation and four prefectures that encircle the Seto Inland Sea in western Japan have agreed to extend the “Setouchi Oceans X” project, which aims at achieving the world’s most beautiful inland sea, by three years to March 2028.

The accord came at a meeting of the author and the governors of the four prefectures−Governor Ryuta Ibaragi of Okayama, Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki of Hiroshima, Governor Toyohito Ikeda of Kagawa and Governor Tokihiro Nakamura of Ehime−in Tokyo on April 15 to review the progress of the project  and discuss how to proceed.

This was the first in-person meeting between us following a virtual ceremony in December 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we signed an agreement on launching the project, which was originally scheduled to last for roughly five years from fiscal 2020 to fiscal 2024 ending in March 2025.

The Seto Inland Sea was chosen for the project as it is typically known for having a relatively small inflow of marine litter from outside oceans.

Under the project, The Nippon Foundation, working with local governments, business circles, universities, think tanks and other partners, conducted research into the origins and flows of marine litter, using a supercomputer, satellites and drones−both aerial and underwater−to draw wide-area maps of marine debris and scientifically visualize the seriousness and extent of the marine debris problem.

According to the Journal of Coastal Zone Studies, Vol. 36, Issue 2 (2023), the research found that the amount of plastic debris flowing into the Seto Inland Sea from the four prefectures totaled approximately 388 tons annually.

On the other hand, the amount collected by the local governments and other entities was about 302 tons, and by Setouchi Oceans X was some 26 tons, for a total of approximately 328 tons.

This meant that each year roughly 60 tons of plastic ended up as marine debris in the inland sea.

Given this situation, the four governors told me at the April 15 meeting that even though the “Setouchi Oceans X” project has made a certain amount of progress, we need to redouble our efforts to attain our goal.

Impressed and encouraged by their resolve, I agreed. Thus, together with the four governors, I signed an agreement to extend the project by three years through fiscal 2027 ending March 2028.

Under the agreement, the foundation, which provided 1.45 billion yen (about $9.4 million) for the initial project, will earmark 1.52 billion yen (about $9.8 million) more to cover the cost of the project during the extended period.

Going forward, the project aims to establish a framework to collect the additional 60 tons of debris, recovering a total of 86 tons from rivers and the sea across the four prefectures annually on an ongoing basis.

At the same time, the project will work to curtail inflows of floats and other fishing equipment, with the aim of achieving a situation where the amount of debris decreases every year.

As part of this effort, the four prefectures agreed to hold a large-scale cleanup event in the summer of 2025.

As of March 2024, the project had collected a total of roughly 78 tons of debris with 120,000 participants in the cleanup rallies on an aggregate basis. From April 2024 through the extended period to March 2028, the project expects to collect approximately 344 tons of debris with roughly 200,000 people participating.

Japan is a maritime nation that cannot exist without the ocean. That is why we have a Marine Day national holiday and are the only country in the world to do so.

Japan is also said to be the cleanest country in the world. But we have found tons of garbage hidden along the coastal lines and on remote islands in the four prefectures.

I sincerely hope that Japan will lead the way in fighting the problem of ocean debris by successfully carrying out this project, making the Seto Inland Sea a role model for the rest of the world.


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Current situation regarding ocean debris in the four prefectures that encircle the Seto Inland Sea.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 17:52 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
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Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vessel Demonstrated Successfully Under The Nippon Foundation’s Zero Emission Ship Project (2) [2024/05/15]
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A hydrogen fueled four-stroke high-speed engine being developed by Yanmar Power Technology (YPT) under The Nippon Foundation’s Zero Emission Ship Project. Image: Yanmar Holdings Co.


In addition to the MOTENA-Sea consortium that conducted a successful test of a hydrogen fuel cell ship system that emits zero carbon dioxide (CO2), there are two other groups of Japanese companies aiming to conduct demonstration tests of ships with hydrogen-only combustion engines by the end of fiscal 2026 (March 2027), also under The Nippon Foundation’s Zero Emission Ship Project

A consortium of Yanmar Power Technology Co. (YPT), a subsidiary of Yanmar Holdings, and five other companies is aiming to build and demonstrate a tanker equipped with a hydrogen-fueled combustion engine, while a group consisting of JPNH2YDRO and 11 other firms is developing a hydrogen-fueled passenger vessel.

YPT announced in January that it had embarked on the development of a hydrogen-fueled four-stroke advanced high-speed engine to generate power for coastal vessels in Japan as part of the Zero Emission Ship Project. The engine operates only on hydrogen, emitting no CO2 during combustion.

Alongside the hydrogen engine development, YPT also said that it was working on creating a hydrogen engine-focused hybrid electric propulsion vessel that combines hydrogen engine generators along with batteries.

The vessel design integrates a container unit-type hydrogen power generation system on its upper deck. Shipping company Uyeno TransTech Co. is responsible for the vessel’s development and construction.

In August 2023, YPT introduced its maritime hydrogen fuel cell system. In November, the firm made the first delivery of its newly commercialized maritime hydrogen fuel cell system to the passenger ship HANARIA, operated by MOTENA-Sea, which conducted a successful zero emission demonstration from March 26 to April 4.

In January this year, ClassNK (Nippon Kaiji Kyokai), Japan’s non-governmental ship classification society, awarded approval in principle (AiP) to YPT for a maritime hydrogen fuel cell system, marking the first AiP certification for such a system developed by a Japanese manufacturer.

The 300 kW maritime hydrogen fuel cell system developed by YPT was designed with key auxiliary components such as gas valve units integrated within the system enclosure, designed to facilitate easy installation on ships.

ClassNK said it carried out a review of the system based on its guideline and issued the AiP upon confirming the system complied with the prescribed requirements.

The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015 at the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21), accelerated the global move toward decarbonization.

In July 2023, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a strategy to reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping by or around 2050.

In Japan, then Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in his first policy speech in October 2020 declared that Japan was aiming to cut GHG emissions to zero on a net basis to make it a carbon-neutral society by 2050.

According to a 2019 report of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan’s transport sector emitted 206 million tons of CO2 in 2019, accounting for 18.6% of the nation’s total emissions. Of these, approximately 10.25 million tons, or 5%, were from coastal shipping.

Seen as the ultimate green fuel, hydrogen only emits water during combustion and would account for some 55% of all alternative fuels to power inland ships in Japan in 2050, followed by batteries (about 38%) and ammonia (about 7%), according to the foundation’s scenario envisaging progress in the use of next-generation fuels by 2050.

If we are to help Japan to become a carbon-neutral country by 2050, it is essential to start designing and developing hydrogen and other zero emission ships now, because ships built today will stay on the water for decades, given the long lifetime of modern vessels (typically 25 to 35 years).

With Japan’s advanced technological capabilities, I sincerely hope that it will spearhead the global campaign to achieve carbon neutrality of the world’s maritime industry to fight climate change. To that end, the foundation is determined to support the nation’s fledgling fleet of zero emission ships for decades to come.

(End)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
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