SGRA Report in English

  • Yang Chun-ting The 8th Fukushima Study Tour “Resurrection of Fukushima”

    I participated in the Fukushima Study Tour for three days from September 21 to 23, 2019 and I had a really productive time. People just say “earthquake disaster” and “reconstruction” simply. But, I would like to report what actually happened and are being happening in Fukushima. Habitants fled from radiation contamination after the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant Accident in 2011. And, I report what I heard and saw, like decontamination works, utilization of land and return of habitants etc.  At First, we visited the "TEPCO Decommissioning Museum", which reviews the progress of the nuclear accident and introduces the current status and schedule of decommissioning work. It was a few days after three former TEPCO executives were acquitted by the judicial decision. The commentators of the museum explained and apologized repeatedly saying “TEPCO did not continue to strengthen safety measures by neglecting the risk of severe accidents caused by external events such as natural phenomena “.  I was surprised rather at their explanation that TEPCO have not taken any measures by 2011 despite TEPCO have received an information in 2008 that water level would rise to 15.7m by tsunami by the earthquake at Fukushima offshore.   We left the museum and went to Iitate where people have been interrupted from their usual day-to day life because they had to take refuges. On March 31, 2017, six years after the accident, the evacuation order for Iitate, except one district, was released finally.  According to statistics on September, this year, only less than 1,200 villagers out of about 6,500 returned. I saw a lot of flexible container bags for contaminated soil in Iitate, surrounded by beautiful mountains. I could see solar-panels also at the corner of farm-land.  We stayed at “House of Wind and Soil”, built by reused wooden materials for temporary houses for exchange between the people inside and outside of Iitate. We took lectures from Mr. Yoichi Tao, Director of “Resurrection of Fukushima” and Assistant Director, Professor Masaru Mizoguchi, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Science/ Faculty of Agriculture, the University of Tokyo. We learned the present Iitate, where agriculture, forestry and livestock industries have been their livelihood before.  But, farmers cultivate Turkish (Chinese) bellflowers (トルコキキョウ) in cultivation houses now, and we could see barns for cows which are controlled by remote monitoring equipment.  We visited “Museum for Matsuzuka Soil” where we learned how to decontaminate radiation “Cesium”, and also visited farms for Japanese lacquer tree (ウルシ) which are being cultivated experimentally as economical products. We experienced planting flowers under the guidance of Mr. Kin-ichi Ookubo who is trying to make flower garden like a paradise of earth by growing various flowers like cherry blossoms and roses.  We have enjoyed dinner party also together with the villagers at the Sasu Public Hall (ex-Sasu Junior High School) where we offered our hand-made fusion cuisine and villagers returned their dance and songs.  In fact, among the people who can be counted as villagers in Iidate, more than 100 migrants who have moved in during the past two years, such as the Tao family, are included. Therefore, some villagers said that, as to their resurrection plan, they feel antipathy against the opinion of new comers from outside of Iitate.  “Resurrection of Fukushima” is now setting their new program. But it may affect Iitate, because we cannot say all the villagers are keeping up pace with the program. Actually, “Resurrection of Fukushima” called an art director, Mr. Fram Kitagawa to draw up a plan “Art Project” discovering local culture and attracting visitors to the area.  *Fram Kitagawa : famous for his works like “International Art Festival in Setonai”, “Art Festival of Daichi (Niigata Pref.)etc., Awarded ‘文化功労賞‘(bunka koro sho - cultural distinguished service) in 2016  Some people may have a doubt why “art” is adopted for the purpose of resurrection ofagricultural villages. However, I, as a student of art, understand think it quite reasonable. Art tends to add unique value to every event, by "visualizing" things that are not normally visible to the public and re-examining established concepts. The viewer is stimulated by the art work and encourages various discoveries and recognition. Due to these characteristics, art projects are already being practiced in many parts of Japan as a means of regional resurrection, with the hope that artists will bring new perspectives to discover and communicate the appeal of the region.  According to Mr. Tao, resurrection of Iitate does not mean returning the village to the original condition. He insisted that the nuclear accident destroyed the relationship between the nature and human beings and spirits of human beings who cut off their relationship were destroyed by the accident. In these meanings, art project may lead to new relations or attractions between human beings and human beings, or between human beings and lands.  Efforts for resurrection of Iitate spread from agriculture and forestry, and stock raising to artistic activities. Regardless of whether it is an “inside person” or not, the many activities being carried out by multi-disciplinary collaborators who have enormous imagination based on the research and research capabilities that have settled on the ground, showcase the rich creativity of citizens.  SGRA NEWS ( Report of The 8th Fukushima Study Tour) in Japanese (original) Photos of the Day  Yang Chun-ting / 2018 Raccoon      Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala
  • 4th Asia Future Conference Inter=Religious Dialogue Report

    SGRA Report Special issue AFC4 Round TableThe 2nd Southeast Asia Inter-Religious Dialogue Tolerance and Reconciliation-Religious Responses to Conflict Resolution- August 25th 2018 (Sat) 9:00~12:30 Case Presentations & Roundtable DiscussionAugust 26th 2018 (Sun) 9:00~12:30 Sessions 1 and 2Venue: The K Hotel Conference Hall Seoul, Korea The first “AFC:Southeast Asia Inter-Religious Dialogue” was organized during the 3rd Asia Future Conference in the autumn of 2016. The theme of this roundtable session was “Religious Responses to Changing Social Environment in Southeast Asia”. In the session we discussed the religious responses towards various issues in Southeast Asian countries which have been severely impacted by the process of “globalization”. The topic “religious tolerance” emerged as an important aspect of inter-religious dialogue in Southeast Asia. For the 4th Asia Future Conference of August 2018 in Seoul, we propose to hold the 2nd Southeast Asia Inter-Religious Dialogue” focusing on “Tolerance and Reconciliation”. The Purpose of the Roundtable:Despite the fact that confrontation and dispute arise out of political and economic factors, we often misunderstand such disputes as “religious confrontation”. This is because religion is relevant to the socio-economic and cultural fabric of the community and the people who are in confrontation with each other. Especially in Southeast Asian countries which are said to be a “mosaic” of race and religion, such tendencies are even more pronounced, and confrontation sometimes turns into communal conflicts. On the other hand, there are many cases where religious communities and their leaders have succeeded in peacefully solving such confrontations and disputes. We assume such religious and civil leaders have accumulated vast experiences in reconciliation and peace-building processes. This roundtable session will also be an opportunity to share and learn from the experiences of the speakers mentioned below, some of whom have been involved in the conflict resolution and reconciliation processes in this region.  Click  here for report                   Sekiguchi Global Research Association (SGRA)Atsumi International Foundation
  • Li Yanming “One Belt One Road” – Search for Chinese Strategies and Implication

    We had the 58th SGRA Forum at the Tokyo International Forum, Glass Tower, in the afternoon, on November 18 (Sat.) 2017, under the title “Geopolitics of ’One Belt, One Road’, Does it tie together Asia ?”Participants in the Forum were well-balanced. Two members each were from Japan, China and Korea. The key-note speaker was Prof. Jianrong ZHU/Toyo Gakuen University. Reporters were Dr. Yanming LI/The University of Tokyo; Prof. Young June PARK/ Korean National Defense University; Dr. June PARK/Seoul University, Asian Research Center; and Prof. Kei KOGA/Singapore Nanyang Technological University.  The panelist/debater was Gouta NISHIMURA/The Chief Editor of “Toyo Keizai” (weekly magazine).  The panelists were mainly researchers in international politics or international politics/economy. We can say that the viewpoints of economics and journalists/practitioners were well-integrated with the involvement of Chairman or moderator Prof. Hitoshi Hirakawa (Kokushikan University) and panelists. At the 19th Chinese Communist Party Convention (October 18 – 24) which was held just before the Forum, “One Belt One Road” became the key-words that China’s General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized repeatedly.  Moreover, these words were written in the Agreement of the Communist party as an explanation of their foreign policy. Accordingly, the forum became very timely and got the interest of a lot of people.At the end of the year 2017, Japan’s Prime Minister Abe also expressed his intention that Japan’s foreign policy would have a close connection with the “One Belt One Road” policy and it is said that political relations between Japan and China would be improved in 2018.  Economic cooperation between Japan and China based on “One Belt One Road” idea would attract people’s attention hereafter. In the key-note address of Prof. ZHU, he analyzed the “One Belt One Road” policy in terms of its concrete idea, background, process, main means, and strategic purpose. At the latter part of the reports, the reaction or response of each country participant were introduced. I think it would be supported by developing countries in Central Asia by reason that “One Belt One Road” would meet with their demand for improving their infrastructure. On the other hand, however, the United States, European countries, Japan. Russia and India may have an anxiety or caution based on geopolitical concerns.  Against such anxiety, the Chinese Government shows their counter measures. They are emphasizing their connections with developing strategies or ideas of developing countries. They put their priority on “land” instead of “sea” in promoting the economies of developing countries. On this point, we discussed that there would be plenty of room for cooperation between Japan and China. At an individual session, a plant (including infrastructure) export strategy, which Japan once promoted in the 1970s, was introduced. Then, the “New Aid Plan” was introduced. It has been promoted by Japan at the latter part of 1980s. It was called “Trinity”, which included direct investment toward Asia from Japan, transferring of technologies and enlargement of trade toward Japan.  Dr. Li (myself) proposed that this plan has a similarity with “One Belt One Road” in the sense that, as an external economic policy, both aim for economic development. Prof. PARK (Young June) reported, from the standpoint of foreign strategies and naval power of China. “One Belt One Road” is one of the strategies on land (not sea) by China to avoid direct confrontation with the United States of America (America) on the sea. Dr. PARK (June) reported about the Middle East, referring to the policy, aid and construction of harbors by China in this area. In this area, however, very complicated relations (domestic or international - especially between America and Russia) are developing. So, China has to increase their political and military presence in the area in order to keep their economic position in the power vacuum. The last reporter, Prof. KOGA discussed about attitude, standpoint and role of Asian countries which are not big countries or we can say “outer” countries. Even in small countries, they have to balance themselves between big powers like America and China in order to keep their interests. On this point, Prof. PARK (Korea) explained that Korea also takes a similar strategy. At the open forum, there were various questions from the floor. However, we can say, as a whole, precaution or fear of “One Belt One Road” is still strong.  It will be almost the same with Japanese society where people have been considering “One Belt One Road” with precaution or fear.In the panel, some people pointed out that “One Belt One Road” is just one of the results or an extension of the Chinese “Go Global” strategy which has already started at the latter part of 1990s. Some people said that “One Belt One Road” is just bundling of strategies which China has encouraged individually between two countries. However, once “One Belt One Road” is shown on a world map, it will be quite natural that geopolitical anxiety would increase. On the other hand, since China declared “One Belt One Road” officially in 2013, China did not fully explain to the world its contents, and we can say that the process of forming this policy is still opaque. But Mr. Nishimura pointed out, in such an opaque situation, we can say that China has been keeping their open attitude, judging from the operation circumstances of AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) which has been supporting “One Belt One Road”. He said also that if Japan fears that China would lead in the establishment of global standard by themselves, Japan should join positively and take initiative, neither taking a wait-and-see attitude nor keeping at a distance. Many panelists agreed with him. When we look this issue from a long viewpoint like global history of economy or anthropology, various points in dispute like a shift of the center of the world would be brought up. It will be necessary to realize another big meaning of “One Belt One Road”, not only power balance of geopolitics. Due to the limited space of this paper, I cannot fully write about individual points in dispute. But, I believe that that the main purpose of this forum has been achieved. We could give a place where we learn and think of “One Belt One Road” from various train of thought.All the report about the forum will be issued as the SGRA Report by autumn, 2018.So, I appreciate you would read it then..When we planned this forum, “One Belt One Road” was not yet talked about in Japan.Of course, there have been study or lecture meeting for limited audiences like specialists or in economic fields. But, I think there have been few occasions for ordinary people or scholars who keep their distance from the government authorities. .    I, as a planner of this forum, have an impression that we are given another research assignment. We have to find out a process of forming “One Belt One Road”.  Namely, who did work out an idea and how?  How did he get to such results through power relationship of each of the actors? Lastly, I like to express my thanks to all the SGRA staff members who supported us in every detail approving our program and all panelists who agreed to present and discuss their reports. I thank all audiences also who kindly came and participated in the forum and gave us many questions and the people who showed their interests individually in subject of the forum. Photos SGRA NEWS ( Report of  the 58th SGRA Forum) in Japanese (original)  (Special Lecturer, The University of Tokyo, College of Arts and Sciences)  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Max Maquito
  • SGRA Sustainable Shared Growth Seminar 25 Report

    SGRA Sustainable Shared Growth Seminar 25 ReportTheme: Community Currencies and Sustainable Shared GrowthDate: March 21, 2018 (Wednesday)Venue: College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf), University of the PhilippinesLos Baños (UPLB), Laguna, PhilippinesSeminar ReportPresentation 1Presentation 2Presentation 3 
  • SGRA Report No. 17: Global Security in the 21st Century (SGRA Forum #10 in Odaiba)

    SGRA Report No. 17
  • SGRA Report No. 14: A New East Asia in the Era of Globalization (SGRA Forum #8 in Karuizawa)

    SGRA Report No. 14