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TANAKA Akihiko

September 21, 2012

JICA President Akihiko Tanaka Visits Indonesia to Discuss Infrastructure and Disaster Management Cooperation

JICA President Akihiko Tanaka visited Indonesia from September 2 to 8, where he held talks with Vice President Boediono and Indonesian cabinet ministers, and also visited the disaster affected area around Mt. Merapi in central Java and other locations where JICA is carrying out development cooperation.

Communicating to the world about disaster experiences and lessons learned

First, Tanaka visited the area affected by the 2010 eruptions of Mt. Merapi. The mountain is located just 30 kilometers to the north of the ancient capital Yogyakarta, and as its name, which means "Fire Mountain," suggests, it is one of the world's best-known active volcanoes. In the 2010 eruption, roughly 140 million cubic meters of volcanic sediments was deposited at the base of the volcano, 386 people died and about 400,000 people were evacuated.

photoTanaka (right) listens to an explanation from a Japanese experts at Mt. Merapi

During the site visit, Tanaka confirmed that the erosion control dam construction and other work done under the Japanese ODA projects contributed to reducing the damage from the eruption, and that there still remain a lot of sediments in the area, meaning emergency is still ongoing.

In the discussion with Vice President Boediono, Tanaka said, since 1985, JICA has been cooperating together with the Government of Indonesia for sedimentation control on Mt. Merapi and will continue strengthening the existing cooperation.

"The experience through the project on sediment management on Mt. Merapi was beneficial for disaster management at Mt. Unzen-Fugen in Nagasaki, Japan, and other locations. It has also been a profitable project for Japan. I would like both countries to continue sharing their disaster management measures and to publicize them into international community to utilize the measures." Tanaka added.

In response, Boediono expressed his gratitude for JICA's prompt support when Mt. Merapi erupted, and his expectation for continuous cooperation between the two countries.

Cooperation between two countries that have experienced major disasters

photoKuntoro (second from the right) and Tanaka (second from the left)

Tanaka also held talks with Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of the Presidential Work Unit for Development Monitoring and Control (UKP4), and the former head of the Aceh-Nias Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency (BRR), who took charge of recovery and reconstruction of the hard-hit Aceh and Nias region after the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami took place in December 2004. With the two countries facing common issues on the disaster front, Tanaka and Kuntoro confirmed that they will continue their cooperation. Kuntoro stressed that, "No disasters are alike, and it's necessary to take resilient measures based on the understanding of the social and cultural characteristics of the affected area." Kuntoro also expressed his gratitude that Japan's way of cooperation in the reconstruction of Aceh has been utilized for other disasters.

Encouraging investment in the Jakarta metropolitan area

photoTanaka and Hatta (left)

Tanaka also held successive talks with Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa and Minister of National Development Planning Agency Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, both leading persons of infrastructure development in Indonesia. They exchanged opinions on future projects of the Metropolitan Policy Area for Investment and Industry (MPA) in JABODETABEK (Jakarta metropolitan area), for which JICA is carrying out a master plan survey, and confirmed that both countries will continue their cooperation with regard to carry out the projects listed under MPA rapidly.

"Japan is not just a strategic partner for Indonesia, but a true friend," Hatta said. He requested Japan's continued cooperation.


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