Newsletter

2019.09.18

Newsletter

【JWF News Vol.179】Recipients of the JWF Fund 2019 Decided!

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【JWF News Vol. 179】Recipients of the JWF Fund 2019 Decided!
18 September 2019

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◇ Contents ◇

・Foreword Climate and Japanese

・Announcement from the Japan Water Forum
- Recipients of the JWF Fund 2019 Decided!
- Announcing the official logo of the 4th APWS!

・Report from the Japan Water Forum
- The JWF’s Efforts at the World Water Week in Stockholm
- 4℃ AQUA PROGRAM 2019 started!

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・Foreword Climate and Japanese
By Kotaro Takemura, Chair of the Japan Water Forum

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The G7 Summit held in France ended without being able to adopt a full-fledged joint communiqué. Watching the news on television showing the G7-country flags at the venue, I found it interesting that the only country which has stars on its flag among the seven is the United States.

National flags
The Japanese flag is simple featuring the sun in its design. From a global point of view, a national flag with the design of sun is overwhelmingly outnumbered by that of “moon and stars”. In order to confirm this, I searched the internet for national flags and found vividly colorful flags displayed one by one on the screen. As a result, national flags with moon and stars account for 28% while the percentage of those with the sun is only 7% of all national flags of the world.

In short, a predominant number of national flags use the design of “moon and stars”, which is often seen among countries of South Asia, Middle East, Africa, Americas and Pacific Islands. A national flag is an important symbol of the country, and no country can be ignorant about its national flag: a symbol through which the people embrace national spirit. So, I thought, the design of national flags must have implicitly expressed some important messages of the country.

Move slow
40 years ago I visited Indonesia, a country located directly under the equator, which was my first travel abroad. The purpose of my visit was to establish the Sabo (sand erosion control) Center as part of a JICA project. Walking about the site, I realized the necessity to walk as slowly as possible. Under the scorching sun of Indonesia, people cannot walk hurriedly as we do in Japan. You should walk in a leisurely pace, otherwise the heat consumes your body and gets you exhausted easily.

One year later, I was dispatched to New Orleans, United States, where I worked for 1 year with my local colleagues. There, “do not hurry” is the principles of life. People say “Big Easy!” to each other as a greeting.

When working with them, a crisp manner of Japanese did not match the rhythm of their slow movement. Once, however, the sun set and it getting dark, their attitudes changed drastically. Even the town that looked sleepy during the day started to get energized. What impressed me most was the Bourbon Street where jazz was played here and there and the street was filled with people until midnight.

Even New Orleans, far north from the equator, is like that, the sun of the tropical zone is harsher. Hard works and long-hour working are tremendously dangerous under the tropical sun. Its extreme heat could claim people’s lives.

Red-hot sun of Japanese flag
In the tropical zone, labor in the daylight is dangerous and cruel; so people carefully limit their movement to minimum during the day. Then after sunset when the sky is dominated by the moon and stars, people get started with activities. In this sense, a scene of the camel-caravan traveling deserts lit by the moon symbolizes the lifestyle of the people.

In fact there are many tropic traditional cultures that are cultivated in the background of jet black night, such as New Orleans’ jazz, shadow play of Indonesia, Kacak dance, and Arabian Nights (“Thousand and One Nights”), all of which were created under the moon and stars.

In essence, the moon and stars symbolize people’s peaceful mind and energy. Japanese’ ritual to worship the sunrise must be way out of imagination under the fierce sun for the tropical people of national flags with the moon and stars.

At one time, I asked an Egyptian friend of mine about his impression on the Japanese national flag. Of course, a decent person would not speak ill of national flags of other countries, but because of my insistency for his candid opinion, he reluctantly said, “The Japanese flag of rising sun is ‘red-hot’. Sometimes it gives me a sense of breathless heat.”

Joy in labor
The Japanese archipelago is vertically long extending from 25° to 45° north latitude. The temperate zone at around 35° north latitude has a long winter that lasts for 3 to 4 months. In winter, people expectantly wait for the advent of spring; in spring, farmers urgently start rice planting using snow meltwater; in summer, rice are cultivated taller and fuller, while people weeding under the glaring sun; and then rice crops must be harvested before typhoons arrive in autumn.

As such, Japan is the country where one-year supply of food must be produced within the limited time of half a year. Food must be urgently produced and stored; otherwise people have to face the famine. There is no option but work diligently chased by changing seasons.

This applies not only to the labor work but to Japanese traditional cultures as well, such as blush paintings, theatrical plays, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, Japanese wrestling Sumo, Judo, and Japanese fencing Kendo, all of which are sophistically developed under the sun. People also pray at each milestone in life with their palms putting together towards the sun.

For the people of the tropical zone, labor works under the sun may bring mortal danger while those in the temperate zone have been urged to work harder to finish the work during the daylight.

Position against the sun
The 19th century saw the world entering into the modern age, which was the time of struggle for and accumulation of wealth. The hard-working customs of the people in the temperate zone became advantage to gain and accumulate the wealth.
In fact, since the dawn of modern industrial revolution, the people who are diligently following the sunlight have swept through the world. All modern industrial countries formed at as early as the beginning of the time locate in the temperate zone at the north latitude of 50°-60° (United Kingdom), 43°-50° (France), 47°-55° (Germany), 38°-50° (Northern America), 37°-45° (Italy) and around 35° (Japan). This is not coincidence. Graphic 1 shows the latitudes of advanced countries.

It is not that advanced countries are racially advantageous or morally industrious, but it is just a matter of physical distance from the sun, which explains the difference in lifestyles to accommodate in respective physical surroundings.

For all creatures of the earth, a distance from the sun is absolutely invariable condition. There is no room for the theory of good and bad or the value judgment of superiority versus inferiority. People are governed by the climate of their habitats, whether they like it or not. They have come to form their habits in life in order to adopt the climate, which imperceptibly shape their social norms.

In these days, however, the air conditioning system has become widely used in the tropical zone and the people working in the modern building structures move hurriedly in a crisp manner. I cannot help but wonder that people free from the constraint of local climates, their attitudes and cultures may be globally assimilated and standardized in the future.

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Figure 1

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・Announcement from the Japan Water Forum

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- Recipients of the JWF Fund 2019 Decided!

Japan Water Forum (JWF) Fund managed through fees from corporate and individual members and donations is the initiative that supports grass-roots organizations to address water-related issues in developing countries.
In the JWF fund of this year, we have received 302 applications from 36 countries.
As the result of selection, we have decided to provide funds for 7 projects from 6 countries.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/grass_roots_projects/jwf/2019/0912/?p=11867

(Reported by Shigenori Asai, Director and Akie Gunji, Assistant Manager)

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- Announcing the official logo of the 4th APWS !

The official logo for the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit (4th APWS) to be held in Kumamoto City on Monday, 19-20th October 2020 is now launched.
This logo represents the attitude of the entire Asia-Pacific region towards solving the water issues by recognizing water from a large perspective of the water cycle.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://apwf.org/summit/kumamoto-2020/

(Reported by Sayoko Kuwahara, Manager)

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・Report from the Japan Water Forum

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- The JWF’s Efforts at the World Water Week in Stockholm

The World Water Week in Stockholm (SWWW) 2019 was organized at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden from 25th to 30th August, 2019, under the theme “Water for Society: Including All”. 4,000 participants, 1,196 organizations of 127 countries joined the SWWW 2019.
During the SWWW, Japan Water Forum, as the Secretariat of the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) and the overall coordinator of the Asia Focus Session of the SWWW, co-organized the four Asia Focus sessions
Furthermore, JWF also organized a session “Private Companies’ Roles Towards Water-Resilient Society, No-One-Is-Left-Behind” with the NoWNET members.

▼For the details of the APWF’s activity, please visit following website▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/policy_recommendations/apwf/2019/0918/?p=12106

▼For the details of the NoWNET’s activity, please visit following website▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/transmitting_japanese/nownet/2019/0918/?p=12150

(Reported by Yumiko Asayama, Manager)

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- 4℃ AQUA PROGRAM 2019 started!

AQUA PROGRAM is a joint project with a jewelry brand "4℃" and Japan Water Forum.
It aims to bring "beauty" and "inspire" the women of developing countries who face serious water problems.
Since its establishment in 2008, the project has been carried out in the Republic of Kiribati, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
In the 2019 project, installing rainwater harvesting systems for 50 households, conducting training on operation and maintenance,
awareness-raising for women, etc., will be carried out in Bagerhat District, Khulna Division, Bangladesh.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/grass_roots_projects/yondoshi/2019/0830/?p=12045

(Reported by Sae Ishihara, Chief Manager)

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JWF News Vol. 179 / 18 September 2019
Japan Water Forum

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