43rd OISCA International Tokyo Forum held
On December 1, OISCA International organized the 43rd Tokyo Forum at the House of Representatives First Members’ Office Building located in the heart of Tokyo. It is a luncheon meeting held to promote a better understanding on OISCA’s activities and closer cooperative relations with representatives from foreign diplomatic missions in Japan. The Forum was attended by Ambassadors from Zambia and Kyrgyz Republic as well as high-ranking diplomats from Argentina, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, India, Laos, Myanmar, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea and Uzbekistan.
After the introduction of the diplomatic representatives and OISCA leaders and staff, Dr. Yoshiko Nakano, President of OISCA International, made opening remarks in which she, touching on the historical backgrounds of OISCA activities, emphasized the basic philosophy: “our true happiness is not only seeking material prosperity but also the development of the mind and spirit.” She said that the Forum is of great significance in the sense that nearly 650 foreign diplomats have attended in the past 38 years since 1978 and contributed to strengthening a constructive dialogue between OISCA and the diplomatic missions.
Afterwards, Mr. Shigeru Ishiba, Member of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Association of Japanese Diet Members Supporting OISCA International Activities, took the floor to deliver a brief but strong message. He mentioned that the Association, since its establishment in 1967, has been continually supporting the various activities of OISCA. He stated the promotion of state capitalism for making money through finance has been stuck and we need to return to OISCA’s original principles as expounded by Dr. Yoshiko Nakano. He then appealed for utilizing the capabilities the Japanese people possess for the benefit of the world.
Mr. Yasuaki Nagaishi, OISCA Secretary-General, made a report highlighting the special events which took place during 2016, namely, the visit in June by Dr. Yoshiko Nakano and 20 other Japanese staff and supporters to North India where OISCA’s first agricultural development activities started in 1966, the celebration of the 10th anniversary of OISCA Mongolia in early August, the gala ceremony and side events in late August for celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Children’s Forest Program (CFP) in the Philippines where CFP first started and the subsequent meeting of Dr. Nakano and Secretary-General Nagaishi with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacañang Palace in Manila, and the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Agroforestry Training Center in Myanmar and Dr. Nakano’s meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs in late November.
Mr. Hiroyuki Cho, Director for Research and Study, International Cooperation Division, made a follow-up presentation utilizing power point slides on the specific projects recently carried out or still being underway in a few selected countries.
In the following open discussions, Zambian Ambassador Ndiyoi M. Mutiti, pointed out that OISCA is very active in the Asia-Pacific Region, but its presence in Africa is minimal. She asked if OISCA would be able to expand its activities in Africa. On his part, Ambassador Chingiz Aidarbekov of Krygyzstan expressed deep appreciation for OISCA starting activities also in the Central Asian region and hoped for closer cooperation with OISCA in the fields of tree-planting and water supply in the future.
Mr. Tadashi Watanabe, OISCA Vice-President for International Affairs, replied that in the past, OISCA accepted some trainees from a few African countries. The problem is that OISCA is seriously short of financial resources, so that it cannot expand the scope of activities at once. He suggested that it might be possible to explore with the Japanese Embassies and official agencies the possibilities of future activities in Africa and in Central Asian countries.
Mrs. Somsanouk Vongsack, Charge d’Affaires of the Lao Embassy, mentioned about her visit together with a VIP from home country to OISCA Nishi Nippon Training Center in November. She was deeply impressed with the activities of the Training Center and expressed strong hope to revive accepting trainees from Laos at the Center.
In response to her request, Secretary-General Nagaishi, said the relevant staff of Human Resources Development Division would be able to discuss with the Embassy side on how to go about with the matter.
Before the conclusion of the two-hour Forum, 500 grams of organic rice produced by the agricultural trainees at OISCA Nishi Nippon Training Center and also the 2017 OISCA Astronomy Calendar were presented to the diplomatic representatives.