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No.53
No.53, Diplomacy  Aug. 26, 2019

G20 Osaka Summit: Progress in “Digital Economy” and “Society 5.0”

Japan hosted the G20 Summit for the first time from 28 to 29 June. Leaders of nineteen countries and the EU along with other invited leaders and heads of international organizations convened in Osaka to discuss a wide range of issues. As the host, Prime Minister of Japan Abe Shinzo put a special emphasis on the Digital Economy and Society 5.0, leading to outcomes which will contribute to economic growth and sustainable development.   In June 1997 the Group of 7 (G7) major industrial democracies met in Denver to discuss the challenges faced in economic, financial and other areas at a time when international financial markets were becoming increasingly global and complex. In July that same year, the Asian Financial Crisis struck, prompting the engagement at the ministerial level of major emerging economies including China, Russia and India. In 1999, at the Finance Ministers ... ... [Read more]

No.53, Diplomacy
Aug. 26, 2019

Yokohama: The “Closest City to Africa” in Japan

The City of Yokohama is putting the finishing touches on preparations to host TICAD7. The white-finned roof of Pacifico Yokohama, the main venue for the conference, has been scrubbed clean and now the surrounding greenery is getting a trim. Festive TICAD bunting is fluttering along the Grand Mall promenade as the city looks forward to celebrating its exceptionally close ties with Africa. Yokohama hosted the last two TICAD conferences to be held in Japan, TICADs IV and V, in 2008 and 2013, respectively. (TICAD VI was held in Nairobi, Kenya). TICAD V attracted more than 4,500 participants, making it the largest international conference in Japan and, as such, no small organizational feat. As TICAD host, however, Yokohama has not merely provided the venue and hospitality for the conference. More significantly, the City has worked to engage with African countries year-round using the opportunities TICAD ... ... [Read more]

No.53, Diplomacy
Aug. 26, 2019

From TICAD7 to the SDG Summit New York

The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) will be held in Yokohama from August 28 to 30. The conference outcomes will inform important decisions for the social and economic advancement of countries in Africa as well as for implementation of development agendas including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.   First held in 1993, The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) has become “a major global platform through which Asian and African nations, as well as international stakeholders, can collaborate to promote Africa’s development” (UN). The conference is co-organized by Japan, the United Nations, World Bank, UNDP and African Union Commission. The theme of the upcoming, seventh TICAD is “Advancing Africa’s Development through People, Technology and Innovation.” The theme captures Japan’s commitment to leveraging its strengths in human resource development, science, technology and innovation, and boosting Africa’s development through “assistance that ... ... [Read more]

No.53, Diplomacy
Aug. 23, 2019

TICAD7: Private Sector to Lead the Way

The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) will be held in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, from August 28 to 30. We interviewed Ushio Shigeru, Director-General of the African Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about the significance of TICAD and the discussions to be conducted at TICAD 7. What do you think of the current situation in Africa? The annual average growth rate in Sub-Saharan Africa between 2000 and 2017 was 5.1%, exceeding the global average of 3.8%. The population of Sub-Saharan Africa was 1.25 billion in 2017, but it is projected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030 and even to exceed 2.5 billion by 2050. The African market is expected to expand, and an increasing number of companies are predicted to make inroads into the African markets from around the world. In Africa, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), ... ... [Read more]

No.53, Diplomacy
Aug. 21, 2019

Management of agriculture business in Africa: Model for Growing Together Centering on a Strategy of “Full Trust”

  We sell “Porous Alpha,” which is a foamed glass made from recycled waste glass. By mixing Porous Alpha into soil, the soil’s water retention and aeration are improved for better water conservation and yield. We have been implementing this water-saving agriculture technology in Africa, where droughts are becoming an increasingly serious problem, since 2008. We set up a local subsidiary in Morocco in May 2017, and are now developing markets for local farmers. I will introduce our challenges and strategy for business development in Africa, especially our strategy on human resources, which we see as our top priority. The process of business development in a new market has the steps (1) feasibility study on the local market and technological verification, followed by (2) local market development. As our step 1, we have been engaged in projects supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency ... ... [Read more]

No.53, Diplomacy
Aug. 21, 2019

Japan’s Science and Technology Strategy for the SDGs

For Japan to achieve the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 it must accelerate Science, Technology and Innovation. Japan should link this to its “Society 5.0” vision for the future of society and be at the fore of the international community’s efforts.   In order to achieve the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the 2015 General Assembly of the United Nations, Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) as well as social and economic reform, is essential. For this reason, a UN inter-agency task team (IATT) has been launched and STI is being accelerated at a global level in order to achieve the SDGs. The 10-member group to which I have been appointed was set up to provide advice to the IATT. In this article, I would like to examine how STI can contribute to achieving ... ... [Read more]

No.53, Diplomacy
Aug. 21, 2019

System reforms for improving agriculture: A Vision for Digitalizing African Agricultural Infrastructure Based on Farmer Unionization

New Challenges in African Business Starting with Ninomiya Sontoku’s hotoku shiho and Ohara Yugaku’s Senzokabu Association, which revived ruined farm villages at the end of the Edo period, Japan underwent a technological evolution going from the Cooperative Society Law enacted in 1900 (Meiji 33) to the agricultural cooperatives, cooperative associations, credit unions, and shinkin banks of today. The creative foundation of our business is about incorporating those experiences in spreading digitalized agricultural unions and marketplaces in countries in Africa. The cooperative membership rate (to population) in Sub-Saharan Africa is 2.73%, which is extremely low compared to 45.55% in Europe and 38.63% in North America. Looking at pick-up arm types, agricultural development agent types, farmland reform receptacle types, and cooperative sales organization types, the roles played as well as failures and successes recorded by agricultural cooperatives in African countries have varied, and the interconnections between ... ... [Read more]

No.53, Economy
Aug. 4, 2019

An assessment in the seventh year of Abenomics: Labor reforms should be implemented immediately, ahead of monetary and fiscal measures

  Key Points Set a permissible range of 1% over or under the 2% inflation rate target Take measures for banks when deepening the degree of negative interest rates It is necessary to improve labor mobility and raise wages for young workers Six and a half years have now passed since the second Abe administration was established in December 2012. Continued economic expansion has led to a remarkable improvement in the employment situation. Although people reportedly do not have feel that their income has increased, the overall growth rate is above 1% despite the decreasing working-age population and the aging society. The effect of the radical quantitative and qualitative easing has kept the average inflation rate positive, at slightly under 1%. Some are critical, however. To put it plainly, Abenomics, which entered its seventh year with continued strong market conditions, has led to a ... ... [Read more]