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I Send “Don’t Forget Leprosy” Message from the Peak of Mount Fuji (2) [2022年08月26日(Fri)]
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I display a “Don’t Forget Leprosy” sign at the top of Mount Fuji at sunrise on August 4, 2022, taking the message of our campaign to Japan’s highest peak.  


At 4:19 p.m. on August 3, a seven-member party, comprising myself, my four sons and two staff members of The Nippon Foundation, set out from the Kawaguchi-ko 5th station of Mount Fuji, located about 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, and reached a mountain hut near the 8th station at 7:47 p.m.

Mount Fuji is divided into ten stations with the first station at the foot of the mountain and the tenth being the summit. Most climbers start at the 5th station, halfway to the peak, as it is accessible by road.

We spent four and a half hours in the hut, which was called Toyo-kan, and I chatted with my four sons for the first time in months. I did not sleep at all. At 0:30 a.m. on August 4, we left the hut with the idea of timing our ascent to witness the sunrise from the summit.

After about 30 minutes, it started raining heavily. Our headlamps illuminated the wet terrain, which was steep and rocky. We tackled the mountain at a slow pace, almost crawling on all fours at times to keep our footing. Then came a hailstorm. Big lumps of ice mercilessly pelted us on the head and back as we leaned into the steep slope. It felt like we were climbing up a 45-degree incline.  

The precipitous slope around the 8th station of Mount Fuji is where the Japanese phrase munatsuki hacchou, meaning the hardest and most crucial phase before achieving an important goal, comes from. It literally means climbing a very steep slope as if pressing your chest against it. This is what Mr. Tamori, one of Japan’s best-known television celebrities, said on his Saturday evening travelogue series Buratamori broadcast by NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, according to my well-informed wife Kazuyo.

We were fortunate to be able to take a rest under the eaves of a hut around the 8th station. We all got totally drenched.

I was told that with the wind-chill factor taken into account, the temperature at the summit drops below zero in the predawn darkness even in mid-summer. But despite the unfriendly weather and sudden temperature changes, I stayed warm since I had the proper gear−footwear, socks, underwear, pants, cap, gloves and rainwear from outdoor clothing and equipment manufacturer Montbell−prepared by my third son Kohei.

I did not suffer from altitude sickness either.

We reached the summit two minutes before the sunrise at 4:42 a.m. Unfortunately, we could not witness the morning light called goraikō, or "arrival of light,” due to the bad weather.

But we were able to take a photo of me with a “Don’t Forget Leprosy” sign despite the strong wind.

The descent of Mount Fuji is considered by many to be more difficult than the ascent. The trail leading down is made up of loose rock and pebbles and there is a risk of falling face forward or slipping flat on one’s back.  

We descended in silence amid a thunderstorm, getting back to the 5th station at 11:49 a.m. on August 4.

Before climbing Mount Fuji, I played golf, and did not have dinner or breakfast until the end of the hike.

On the first day, our ascent from the 5th to the 8th station took 3 hours and 30 minutes. On the second, it took 10 hours and 37 minutes to reach the summit and descend to the 5th station, despite sudden changes in the weather.

(End)



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Scaling a rocky incline near the 8th station of Mount Fuji on August 3, 2022, right before arriving at a mountain hut for a brief stay. We tackled the mountain at a slow pace, almost crawling on all fours at times to keep our footing.


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The famed Nepalese mountaineer Mr. Mingma Gyabu Sherpa with a “Don’t Forget Leprosy” sign at the summit of Mount Everest on May 15, 2022. I will include this and the photo of me bearing the same sign at the top of Mount Fuji on August 4 in a joint message with WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to be sent to the health ministers of WHO member states.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | LEPROSY | URL | comment(0)
I Send “Don’t Forget Leprosy” Message from the Peak of Mount Fuji (1) [2022年08月25日(Thu)]
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Climbing Mount Fuji on August 3, 2022, with the city of Fujiyoshida and Lake Yamanaka in the background. At 3,776 meters it is Japan’s highest peak.


There was a reason why I had to climb iconic Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain, this summer.  

Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, activities against leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, have been disrupted in many countries over the past two and a half years.

This prompted me, in my capacity as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, to initiate a “Don’t Forget Leprosy” campaign in August 2021 to send the message that leprosy and those affected by the disease must not be overlooked even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May, when I was recognized with the WHO Director-General’s Global Health Leaders Award 2022 for my decades long fight against leprosy, I shared with the audience a photo of world-famous Nepalese mountaineer Mr. Mingma Gyabu Sherpa holding a “Don’t Forget Leprosy” sign atop Mount Everest on May 15.

The photo had been taken at the suggestion of Mr. Santa Bir Lama, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), who with funding support from The Nippon Foundation has helped Nepal push forward in its drive to eliminate leprosy.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was delighted with the photo and suggested to me that we include it with a “Don’t Forget Leprosy” message that we would jointly send to the health ministers of WHO member states.

I readily consented to the idea and decided to add a photo of my own to be taken at the summit of Mount Fuji. This was the moment when I decided to scale Japan’s highest mountain this summer.

At first, my four sons balked at the idea of letting an 83-year-old senior citizen with a grade 1 disability−I have a pacemaker implanted in my chest−climb Mount Fuji.

But after I explained how keen I was to make the ascent as part of the “Don’t Forget Leprosy” campaign, they all not only agreed to let me go but joined me on the hike. Also joining my party were Ms. Natsuko Tominaga, a photographer of The Nippon Foundation, and another staff member, Mr. Mitsugu Kazawa, a former member of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.

(To be continued)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 12:46 | LEPROSY | URL | comment(0)
The Nippon Foundation to Double the Number of Ukrainian Evacuees It Supports to 2,000 (3) [2022年08月18日(Thu)]
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Ms. Nataliia Muliavka, who evacuated from Ukraine to Japan with her two daughters in March, expresses her gratitude that, with the assistance from The Nippon Foundation, they will be able to choose a place to live in an area that they like.


At the press conference on July 29 to announce The Nippon Foundation’s decision to double the number of Ukrainian evacuees it supports, we were joined Ukrainian evacuees who fled to Japan.

When Ms. Nataliia Muliavka came to Japan on March 26 with her 6- and 3-year-old daughters, she said: “I was initially very confused. The environment was different, I could not speak the language, and I didn’t know anyone.”

They are now living with her aunt in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, and are hoping to find a place of their own in public housing nearby.

“We’ve just moved here from Ukraine, so I don’t want them (the daughters) to have to change schools again,” Ms. Muliavka said.

So far, they have been unable to find any available public housing units in Yokohama, but with assistance from The Nippon Foundation, she said, “we are thinking about looking for an apartment close to where we are now. I am very thankful to be able to choose a place in an area that we like.”

Ms. Olena Svidran, a guarantor for her mother who evacuated from Ukraine, said: “The language barrier is difficult. For the first month my mother was here, she didn’t leave our house. Lately, I have been asking her little by little to go to the convenience store or supermarket to do shopping for me. It is important for my mother to have a place in society. A long-term stay is completely different from a short-term stay. Not having your own daily rhythm creates stress.”

“She started studying Japanese online a week after arriving. At first, she didn’t like it, but the teacher was very kind and after three months she can read hiragana characters and speak a little Japanese,” she said, adding “The change I have seen in her makes me very happy. I believe that overcoming the Japanese language barrier will be the key.”

At the press conference, The Nippon Foundation also gave progress reports on other projects we have undertaken to support Ukrainians.

The Ukrainian Evacuees Assistance Fund, a fundraising campaign we launched on June 13, has received donations totaling about 129 million yen (about $ 970,000) as of July 29.

In partnership with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel and Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky, we intend to call on potential donors, including U.S. companies doing business in Japan, for more donations with a view to attaining the target of one billion yen (about $ 7.5 million).

As for the foundation’s assistance for Ukrainians with disabilities, we provided Access Israel, an Israeli NGO, with 290 million yen (about $2.2 million) to support its activities to help Ukrainians with disabilities who had not been able to flee their war-torn homeland.

As of late July, Access Israel helped 809 Ukrainians with disabilities depart the country. They also sent medications, clothes and other daily necessities to 8,626 persons with disabilities who cannot physically leave.

Starting in late May, The Nippon Foundation and The Nippon Foundation Volunteer Center launched a project to dispatch Japanese student volunteers to countries neighboring Ukraine to support displaced   Ukrainians through distributing food and drinks, sorting relief supplies, collecting garbage, cleaning facilities and interacting with displaced children.

The first two 15-member groups of student volunteers have returned to Japan after spending two weeks each at a temporary evacuation center in the city of Przemyśl in southeastern Poland on the border with Ukraine.

With the third and fourth groups being sent to Poland in August, the remaining three groups are scheduled to depart between late August and October, bringing the total number of student volunteers to 105.

(End)


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Olena Svidran, a guarantor for her mother who evacuated from Ukraine, says: “I believe that overcoming the Japanese language barrier will be the key.”
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
The Nippon Foundation to Double the Number of Ukrainian Evacuees It Supports to 2,000 (2) [2022年08月17日(Wed)]
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Speaking of Ukrainian evacuees in Japan, Mr. Jumpei Sasakawa, executive director of The Nippon Foundation, tells the July 29 press conference: “Many of these people can work and want to work, and we want to welcome them as members of society.”


At the press conference on July 29 to announce The Nippon Foundation’s decision to double the number of Ukrainian evacuees eligible for its humanitarian assistance, we also announced the results of a survey conducted from June 13 to July 27, covering 260 Ukrainians who have evacuated to Japan and applied for our assistance.

When asked about their intentions of returning to Ukraine, the poll found that 65.1% of respondents hoped to stay in Japan for an extended period or until the situation in their country calms down, while 25.0% said they would decide based on the environment in Japan. Only 2.2% wanted to return to their home country as soon as possible.

Asked to select the five most important needs they have or services they require, Japanese language education (65.8%) topped the list, followed by employment opportunities and training (55.8%), medical care (51.5%), a contact that they can consult with at any time (38.8%), and an ability to make Japanese friends (37.3%).

Queried on whether they have any concerns or problems, about one in four said they cannot sleep (26.9%) and they feel isolated (25.0%), while almost one in 10 (8.8%) said they don’t feel well physically.

The foundation will continue to look into how Ukrainian evacuees feel about living in Japan on a regular basis and respond accordingly with our staff members working with NGOs and other organizations helping them.

The Nippon Foundation is already providing opportunities for evacuees to study Japanese through support for programs being launched by NGOs, and plans to expand its support to include things like online mental health counseling.

Mr. Jumpei Sasakawa, executive director of the foundation, told the press conference that the survey has revealed various uncertainties and issues facing Ukrainian evacuees living in Japan, noting: “It is no surprise that the language barrier is the most difficult issue they face in their daily lives.”

“We need to think about whether it is really appropriate for our support to be simply to ask them to learn Japanese. We may also be able to make greater use of interpreters to enable them to work, or to help them find jobs where they don’t need to be able to speak Japanese,” he said, adding: “Many of these people can work and want to work, and we want to welcome them as members of society.”

(To be continued)


Overview of the findings of a survey on how Ukrainian evacuees feel about living in Japan, that The Nippon Foundation conducted from June 13 to July 27, covering 260 Ukrainians who have evacuated to Japan and applied for our assistance.

Q: What are your intentions and hopes for returning to Ukraine?
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Q: Please select the five most important needs you have or services you require.
en_new_art_20220729_07.jpg

Q: Please select up to five things that you find insufficient with current assistance in Japan.
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Q: Do you have any concerns or problems? Please select all that apply.
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Q: Are there any persons or organizations you can consult with and will support you when you have problems? Please select all that apply.
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Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
The Nippon Foundation to Double the Number of Ukrainian Evacuees It Supports to 2,000 (1) [2022年08月16日(Tue)]
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At a press conference on July 29, 2022, to announce The Nippon Foundation’s decision to double the number of Ukrainian evacuees it supports to 2,000. From left, Executive Director Jumpei Sasakawa of the foundation; Ms. Olena Svidran and her mother, an evacuee, for whom she acts as a guarantor; evacuee Ms. Nataliia Muliavka and her two daughters; and the author.


The Nippon Foundation has decided to double the number of Ukrainian evacuees it supports with humanitarian assistance from the initial 1,000 to 2,000.

This will bring the total amount of assistance the foundation budgeted for Ukrainians coming to Japan to 8.58 billion yen (about $64.4 million), I announced at a press conference on July 29 alongside my son Mr. Jumpei Sasakawa, executive director of the foundation. We were also joined by Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion of their homeland.  

More than five months after Russia began its offensive in February, over 1,600 Ukrainians have fled to Japan from their war-torn country. Of these, the foundation has received applications for support from 1,321 people as of July 27.

The decision to support twice as many displaced persons was based upon our judgement that the Ukrainian conflict appears likely to continue for some time and that the foundation would receive additional applications for assistance going forward as more Ukrainians were contacting us practically every day about coming to Japan, I told the press conference.

On March 28, The Nippon Foundation announced humanitarian assistance totaling 5.08 billion yen (about $38.1 million) to help Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion come to Japan−3.55 billion yen (about $26.6 million) earmarked for their travel and living expenses and 1.53 billion yen (about $11.5 million) for NGOs and other nonprofit organizations working to support their daily lives.

At that time, it was hard to predict exactly how many Ukrainians would ultimately come to Japan, but we were working on the basis of around 1,000 people.

In making the latest decision announced on July 29, we newly earmarked 3.5 billion yen (about $26.3 million)−3 billion yen (about $22.5 million) as living expenses for three years and 500 million yen (about $3.8 million) as one-time furnishing expenses−for an additional 1,000 Ukrainians.

But no extra funds were necessary for travel expenses because the cost of flying from Europe to Japan currently stands at an average 150,000 yen (about $1,100) per person, about half the 300,000 yen per person we set aside in March. This has left enough to cover travel expenses for the additional arrivals.

I also said at the press conference: “While financial assistance is important, it’s not enough on its own. It’s also crucial to follow up on evacuees’ day-to-day lives in Japan.”

We need to build a platform of providing humanitarian assistance that enables evacuees to interact with the foundation regularly to grasp how they feel about living in Japan and consult among themselves on a daily basis.

“Normally, this should probably be a government project, but given The Nippon Foundation’s years of experience in international humanitarian assistance, we will continue to strive to carry out this project,” I said.

(To be continued)


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I tell the press conference: “While financial assistance is important, it’s not enough on its own. It’s also crucial to follow up on evacuees’ day-to-day lives in Japan.”



Overview of The Nippon Foundation’s additional assistance for Ukrainian evacuees:

 Announced on March 28Announced on July 29Total (Planned)
Assistance for travel expenses to Japan300 million yen
(300,000 yen x 1,000 people)
Airline ticket prices currently average 150,000, so no additional budget at this time300 million yen
Assistance for living expenses in Japan3 billion yen
(1 million yen/year x 1,000 people x 3 years)

*Up to 3 million yen per family
3 billion yen
(1 million yen/year x 1,000 people x 3 years)

*Up to 3 million yen per family
6 billion yen
Assistance for home furnishing expenses250 million yen
(500,000 yen x 500 households)
500 million yen
(500,000 yen x 1,000 households)
750 million yen
Support to NGOs1.53 billion yen
(3-year budget)
1.53 billion yen
Total5.08 billion yen3.5 billion yen8.58 billion yen

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 11:16 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
A Tribute to Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2) [2022年08月11日(Thu)]
On July 22, Ananta Aspen Centre, a think tank based in New Delhi, India, held a memorial service for former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who died after being shot in western Japan on July 8.

I was invited to send a video message, in which I noted: “The government of India declared a day of state mourning as a mark of deepest respect, and Prime Minister Modi’s touching words of tribute and of condolence were all widely reported in Japan.”

“Let us together carry forward the legacy of Mr. Abe,” I said, adding: “Our efforts will be toward further strengthening Japan-India relations, and for the stability, prosperity, and peace of the region. This, I believe, is the best way to honor the soul of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.”

Among the participants who joined the event online were Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Dr. Kurt Campbell, coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs on the U.S. National Security Council, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and Dr. John Hamre, president and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. They all spoke highly of Mr. Abe and said he would be missed.

For example, Mr. Abbott lauded Mr. Abe as the father of the “Quad,” which he said was the most important strategic development since the establishment of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The Quad, or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, consists of Japan, the United States, India and Australia, who share concerns about China’s increasingly assertive behavior. It is an informal strategic forum to tackle security, economic and health issues together.

I do believe Mr. Abe was a visionary for Japan, Asia and the world.

(End)


My video message for the memorial service for former Prime Minister Abe held by Ananta Aspen Centre in New Delhi on July 22 can be seen here.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | OTHERS | URL | comment(0)
A Tribute to Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (1) [2022年08月10日(Wed)]
The Japanese government has decided to hold a state funeral for slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Nippon Budokan arena in central Tokyo on September 27.

He died after being shot during an election campaign speech in the western Japanese city of Nara on July 8. Mr. Abe was the longest serving prime minister in the country’s history, serving two separate terms from 2006 to 2007 and from 2012 until he stepped down in 2020 due to ill health.

On the afternoon of July 10, I visited his home to extend my sincerest condolences on his tragic passing. He lived in a condominium, quite rare for a national leader, making me believe that he was one of the few world leaders to lead such a modest life.

Mr. Abe was laid out on a futon mattress in a very natural way. He did not have the anguished expression of one who has endured suffering; his was a peaceful and beautiful face transcending everything, and it was as if the Buddha was quietly sleeping. I sat before him for a while with my head bowed, then put my hands together in prayer.

As NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, reported, I was among those who paid tribute to him on that day; others included vice president Taro Aso of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, its secretary-general Toshimitsu Motegi, and Mr. Natsuo Yamaguchi, chief representative of the Komeito, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, as well as Mr. Sadayuki Sakakibara, honorary chair of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), the nation’s top business lobby. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida paid his respects on July 9.

Mr. Abe aimed to create “‘a beautiful country, Japan,’ a country admired and respected by people in the world, a country our children's generation can have self-confidence and pride in.” (From his policy speech on September 29, 2006, upon becoming the prime minister of Japan.) He talked resolutely about his political convictions, yet occasionally gave a gentle and friendly smile.

Remembering his great achievements in foreign and domestic affairs until recently, I felt various emotions come and go−regret, sadness, anger.

Mr. Abe was known for coining the phrase, “A free and open Indo-Pacific,” a concept spanning both the Indian and Pacific oceans that he first promoted in a 2007 speech to the Indian Parliament titled the "Confluence of the Two Seas."

With those few words, Mr. Abe transformed the way many foreign policy leaders talk−and think−about Asia. “That phrase is everywhere. It is used like a mantra by the US military and is the vocabulary of choice for any aspiring Western diplomat,” CNN said.

Not only Japan but the whole world that has lost a great leader as indicated by messages of condolence sent by leaders of more than 250 countries, regions, and international organizations.

(To be continued)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:41 | OTHERS | URL | comment(0)
Nearly Half of Japanese Have Not Been to the Sea During the Past Year: Poll (2) [2022年08月05日(Fri)]
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Speaking at a press conference on July 15, 2022 , I express my hope that by widely distributing the results of this survey on the ocean, young people understand the role that the bounty of the ocean plays in their daily lives.


In announcing the results of our awareness survey on the ocean at a press conference on July 15, Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno, executive director of The Nippon Foundation, commented: “The coronavirus pandemic has meant a loss of opportunities for many people, including children, to experience the ocean. This survey has shown a link between the frequency of visits to the ocean and the level of attachment to the ocean, so we will continue to work with local governments and companies in various regions to create opportunities to visit the ocean and strengthen the dissemination of information.”

The foundation will also work to create high-quality content for children to learn more about ocean issues, he said, adding: “Given the fact that the pandemic appears set to continue for some time, we will work to create new relationships with the ocean using digital content and video, so that people can feel closer to the ocean from wherever they are.”

For my part, I noted that Japan is a maritime country that has a close relationship with the ocean, as shown by the enactment of the 2007 Basic Act on Ocean Policy and being the only country in the world to observe a Marine Day public holiday.

“This is why I believe it is very important to survey the degree to which the young people who are our future are interested in the ocean,” I said, adding: “I hope that by widely distributing the results of this survey, young people in Japan, a country surrounded by ocean, will feel affection toward the ocean and understand the role that the bounty of the ocean plays in their daily lives. I also hope that this will spur a deeper interest in the ocean among all Japanese people.”

(End)


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Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno, executive director of The Nippon Foundation, tells a press conference on July 15, 2022, that the foundation will also work to create high-quality content for children to learn more about ocean issues.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
Nearly Half of Japanese Have Not Been to the Sea During the Past Year: Poll (1) [2022年08月04日(Thu)]
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At a press conference on July 15, 2022, in Tokyo, I announce the findings of The Nippon Foundation’s awareness survey on the ocean alongside Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno (right), executive director of the foundation.


Ahead of Marine Day, a Japanese national holiday observed this year on July 18, The Nippon Foundation conducted an awareness survey on the ocean between June 10 and 15.

The online poll, covering 11,600 men and women aged between 15 and 69 across the country, found that nearly half (45%) of respondents had not been to the ocean during the past year.

The figure represented an increase of 12 percentage points over a similar survey in 2019, raising concern about a decline in people’s attachment to the ocean. I announced the results at a press conference on July 15 alongside Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno, executive director of the foundation.

We launched the survey in 2017 to look into changes in people’s feelings and perceptions toward the ocean and how they are affected by changes in social trends and circumstances, to provide information for planning future projects. (Originally designed to be held every two years, the poll was postponed in 2021 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.)

The latest poll found that one reason fewer people are going to the sea is that compared with three years ago, people’s outdoor activities have declined by a substantial 43% due mainly to the pandemic.

As a result, people’s “affection” for the ocean declined as shown in responses to questions such as, “I feel close to the ocean,” which fell to 37% from 44% in 2019.

In addition, of those who had not been to the ocean during the past year, 59% feel that “the ocean is important for their life and culture,” much lower than those who had been to the ocean (81%).  

On the other hand, no decline was seen in the number of people who “want to go to the ocean,” standing at 73% vis-à-vis 72% in 2019.

When asked about childhood ocean experiences, 70% said it is important for their children to experience the ocean. Nevertheless, a great majority of parents (83%) replied that they were “unable to give their children sufficient ocean experiences.”

The latest survey, however, showed some bright spots when it said that people’s awareness of ocean issues, such as unregulated overfishing and ocean plastic debris, rose around 10 percentage points over 2019, while the number of people engaged in activities to protect the ocean increased about 6 percentage points. The awareness of these activities among people who had been to the ocean was also higher by more than 5 percentage points than those who had not.

Respondents were also asked new questions about their level of interest in the Umi-to-Nippon Project (The Ocean and Japan Project) which The Nippon Foundation launched in 2017 with an eye to renewing the bonds between Japanese people, especially children and young people, and the ocean, and to pass on clean and beautiful oceans to the next generation.

The poll showed that roughly 40% are interested in the Umi-to-Nippon Project, with the highest number of people showing interest in an initiative to develop offshore wind power generation (45%), followed by that to discover new species of sea life globally (43%), map the entire ocean floor (42%), understand shallow waters (41%) and develop fully autonomous navigation (34%).

Generally, respondents under the age of 20 showed more interest in the project than older generations.

(To be continued)


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Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:39 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
Japanese Student Volunteers Report on Their Activities in Poland to Help Ukrainian Evacuees (2) [2022年08月01日(Mon)]
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From the second group of Japanese student volunteers sent to Poland, Ms. Natsuki Nagahara of Waseda University says she will spend a year studying in Sweden from mid-August and hopes to take part in more long-term volunteer activities in Europe.


Also from the second group of Japanese student volunteers dispatched to Poland to assist Ukrainian evacuees, Ms. Natsuki Nagahara of Waseda University said at the briefing session on July 7: “My activities showed me firsthand both the dark side and the bright side of humanity. By experiencing these dark and bright aspects, I learned about the possibilities that exist when people relate to and support one another.”

“I believe this is essential for the creation of a society in which no one is left behind. This is why I will treasure the bonds I made with Ukrainian people and other volunteers during my two weeks there, and I hope that this will lead to other volunteer opportunities,” she added.

Starting in mid-August, she will spend a year studying in Sweden. She said she hopes to take part in voluntary activities again in Europe, but this time for an extended period of time.

Mr. Ichiro Kabasawa, executive director of The Nippon Foundation, said: “I imagine that during the two weeks the volunteers spent with the Ukrainian evacuees and volunteers from all over the world, they thought and asked themselves what they could do for the evacuees. There were probably times when they were painfully aware of how little they could do.”

The Nippon Foundation’s goal in sending these volunteers was to not only assist Ukrainian displaced people but also have Japanese students experience being part of a global crisis so they will look to the future with a global perspective, he said.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he added: “It was very difficult to carry out their volunteer activities while avoiding the risk of coronavirus infection. On behalf of The Nippon Foundation, I would like to thank all of the people on-site who ensured that the students’ activities were carried out safely.”

The Nippon Foundation and The Nippon Foundation Volunteer Center will dispatch the third group of 15 Japanese student volunteers from August 1 to 17 and the fourth group from August 15 to 31 with Poland, Slovakia, Austria and other countries being considered as possible bases for their activities.

The remaining three groups are scheduled to depart between late August and October, which will bring the total number of volunteers to 105.


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Mr. Ichiro Kabasawa, executive director of The Nippon Foundation, says The Nippon Foundation’s goal in sending the volunteers was to not only help Ukrainian evacuees but also have Japanese students experience being part of a global crisis so they will look to the future with a global perspective.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)