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TANAKA Akihiko

April 23, 2013

JICA President Tanaka Tours an Ethiopian Shoe Factory That Practices "Kaizen," Meets With Key Officials

photoJICA President Akihiko Tanaka, center, tours a shoe factory.

JICA President Akihiko Tanaka toured an Ethiopian shoe factory practicing kaizen last week and talked with key officials about expanding in the country the philosophy of bottom-up continual improvement in manufacturing or other endeavors.

Tanaka, currently on a tour of Sub-Saharan Africa, was in Ethiopia April 19 and 20. He met with the director general of the Ethiopian Kaizen Institute, which advises the shoe manufacturer that runs the factory. Getahun Tadesse talked about how today there is a lot of interest in Ethiopia in kaizen and how the media has started reporting on it. He said there is a wide range of applications for the kaizen movement and that kaizen is likely to expand further in Ethiopia. Tadesse also expressed thanks to JICA for its efforts on kaizen in Ethiopia so far.

In JICA's kaizen projects, experts and their counterparts in developing countries try to improve society through reciprocal learning and creative innovation. Kaizen is an approach that has come to symbolize Japan's international cooperation.

photoJICA President Akihiko Tanaka, left, holds talks with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission.

After touring the factory, Tanaka met with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission, and encouraged her to attend the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in Yokohama June 1-3. TICAD seeks further discussion on and calls attention to development issues facing the continent. They exchanged opinions on security and peace, as well as on human resource development in science and technology, stimulating industry and promoting trade and investment, priority topics for African development into which JICA puts resources.

Next, Tanaka met with Debretsion Gebremikael, Ethiopia's deputy prime minister and minister of Communication and Information Technology. The two discussed major development issues, including those in the field of information and communications in Ethiopia. Gebremikael expressed gratitude for JICA's cooperation and his hopes for continued cooperation.

Finally, Tanaka held talks with Abraham Tekeste, state minister, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, and Fuad Ibrahim, state minister, Ministry of Education, and they discussed the possibility of expanding the kaizen movement, issues related to the utilization of JICA's ODA loans and challenges in the education sector.

On April 20, Tanaka left for South Sudan. After visiting South Sudan, he will go to Sudan, the final destination on this tour.


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