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2018年02月21日

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【JWF News Vol.161】5th Kyoto World Water Grand Prize: Winner decided!

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【JWF News Vol.161】5th Kyoto World Water Grand Prize: Winner decided!
February 21, 2018

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◇Contents◇

・Foreword Susumu Nishibe’s Teachings

・Announcement from the Japan Water Forum
- 5th Kyoto World Water Grand Prize: Winner decided!

・Report from the Japan Water Forum
- Darvish Yu Water Fund: the 11th Project completed!

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・Foreword Susumu Nishibe’s Teachings
By Kotaro Takemura, Chair of the Japan Water Forum

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The Death of Mr. Susumu Nishibe
On January 21, Mr. Susumu Nishibe passed away. My first encounter with his books was with Treason to the Masses. Note that the title was not Treason of the Masses, but Treason to the Masses.

I first picked up the book because its strange title had caught my eye. I was around forty at the time and working as a manager on a dam construction site. After that, I read his books one after another, as though trapped by their charms. However I never thought I would meet Mr. Nishibe himself and have a deep conversation with him.

After entering the Ministry of Construction, I worked as a dam engineer for twenty years at construction sites for the Kawaji, Ookawa and Miyagase Dams. In 1989, I joined a team on the Nagaragawa Estuary Barrage Project, which had been criticized by civil groups and the media as an example of environmental destruction.

The Words of Mr. Nishibe
One of my tasks was to meet journalists and intellectuals and explain details of the project so that they may understand its importance. It was a challenging task, so I worked hard, cutting back on my sleeping hours.

One day, I had a chance to meet Susumu Nishibe through a journalist friend and give him an account of the Nagaragawa Estuary Barrage Project. I was excited about the idea of meeting an intellectual I respected. Moreover, I wanted to make him understand and support the project by telling him about its significance. I was so nervous that I couldn’t sleep the night before.

I met Mr. Nishibe in a hotel café in Tokyo. I greeted him nervously and began to explain the details and significance of the Nagaragawa Estuary Barrage Project. After listening to my description of the project, he opened his mouth for the first time and said, “I can finally understand why the Nagaragawa Estuary Barrage has become such a controversial problem. In your thirty-minute explanation, you have reiterated three times that you want to protect the lives and property of the people in the Nagaragawa River basin. I can see that it’s your imperious attitude in forcing people to follow the government’s decision that makes the matter worse”. He then left the café.

I went blank. My explanation had instilled in him a sense of distrust of the Nagaragawa Estuary Barrage Project, and of me.

A Condescending Attitude
I felt quite devastated by the words of Mr. Nishibe, whom I respected so much that I had read all his books. No one can disagree with the slogan: “to protect the lives and property of the people”. Maybe he wanted to tell me that people wouldn’t be able to complain when I used this slogan. It was an abuse of power.

This slogan was just like case containing the official seal with the crest of the Tokugawa Shogun that appeared in the popular Mito Komon television drama. Mr. Nishibe wanted to imply that I was taking an imperious tone even though I was using polite language. This was why my speech didn’t reach the hearts of the people. I was acting under cover of the national government’s power.

After that, I continued to spend my days talking about the significance of the Nagaragawa Estuary Barrage Project. However, I was no longer able to use the slogan: “to protect the lives and property of the people”, as I realized that it was a condescending way of trying to persuade the public. I struggled through many difficult days, trying to explain the importance of the project without using the slogan.

In the end, I found that what was necessary was to talk about the topography, weather, and history of the basin. I tried to let the facts speak themselves.

I was forty-four years old when I was so devastated by the words of Mr. Nishibe. I had to recover from my first encounter with him without revealing my shock to others. It has taken me quite a long time. In fact, I feel I am still recovering.

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・Announcement from the Japan Water Forum

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5th Kyoto World Water Grand Prize: Winner decided!

Kyoto World Water Grand Prize aims to praise an organization involved in grassroots activities dealing with water problems, which may serve as a model for other organizations straggling for the same issues.
The prize has been established in 2003 by the City of Kyoto and the World Water Council and held with the World Water Forum which is the international conference held once every three years.

After careful screening of the applications by Japan Water Forum and prize committee, Charité Chrétienne pour Personnes en Détresse (CCPD)  is selected as the winner of the prize.
CCPD will receive 2,000,000 JPY as prize money at the closing ceremony of the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia, Brazil.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/en/2018/0221/?p=7791

(Reported by Akie Gunji, Manager)

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・Report from the Japan Water Forum

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Darvish Yu Water Fund: the 11th Project completed!

As the 11th project, we have carried out the activities for ensuring sustainable water  in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand through constructing water supply systems for drinking  and domestic purpose.
As a result of this project, 600 students and 50 teachers of the School will be able to use sustainable water for drinking and domestic, purpose.

We would like to express gratitude towards Mr. Darvish and the donors to the Darvish Yu Water Fund for their kind understanding and support.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/en/2018/0216/?p=7739

▼For more information about the Fund and past projects, please visit following website▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/en/what_we_do/grass_roots_projects/darvish

(Reported by Akie Gunji, Manager)

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▼JWF News Achives▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/en/news_en/newsletter_en

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JWF News Vol. 161 February 21, 2018
Japan Water Forum

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