Although Argentina is geographically distant from Japan, actual bilateral relations are not necessarily so. In Argentina there is a Nikkei Community (Japanese descendants), the third largest in Latin America, with a history of Japanese immigration that goes back more than 130 years, and with Nikkei participants active in the most diverse fields, including agriculture and trade. The "Dissemination of Japanese Culture" by the Nikkei community has contributed to a deeper understanding of Japan in these country, and early immigrants were able to develop a feeling of trust in Japan that remained for ever.
This close relationship can also be seen in JICA's cooperation activities in Argentina. By way of example, the former JICA Horticulture Technological Center, established in 1977 to provide technical assistance to Japanese immigrants, was transferred to the Argentine Government in 2004, once its mission was fulfilled. It then became the Floriculture Institute of the INTA (National Institute of Agricultural Technology), and has been working on the development and improvement of species and the protection of biodiversity, also articulating with Japanese companies.
The Pejerrey (silverside) is the fish that represents Argentine-Japanese Friendship. The breeding technology for this fish in the country was developed with the participation of JICA at the Technological Center of Chascomús as headquarters. Research is still underway in cooperation with Japanese universities.
La Plata University School of Veterinary Science and the National Institute of Industrial Technology (INTI), in cooperation with JICA for more than 30 years now, have become regional centers for dissemination of our cooperation. The first mentioned institution, about control and prevention of zoonoses, including research activities closely related iInfectious diseases such as COVID-19; and the second mentioned institution, with the dissemination of management methods represented by "KAIZEN". In addition, the results of this joint research are communicated in training sessions for human resources in neighboring countries, through the Japan-Argentina Partnership Program.
At present, we are also implementing a strong initiative to reactivate regional economies jointly with the institutions involved in local development, known as "OVOP Project (One Village - One Product)". We are also actively working on strengthening the Japanese Studies Course at La Plata National University called "JICA Chair", which is about to start, and we are providing assistance with measures against COVID-19, among other actions.
Looking at the Nikkei Community today, new possibilities are opening up for joint projects with Japan in addition to traditional assistance, including support to young Nikkei willing to start a business and to expand their network with neighboring countries and the introduction of higher tertiary education specialized in Japanese culture within a bilingual Nikkei school.
The Japanese Volunteer Program, which has been receiving high recognition from different institutions, has played a very important role in the cooperation with Argentina. Although we are currently undergoing a difficult situation, I believe we can resume dispatching volunteers as soon as the context improves.
Argentina is a very familiar country for me because I have been working here before, and I am very grateful for this opportunity to work in a new scenario facing new challenges. Despite these difficult times we are going through with the COVID-19 pandemic, I hope to further strengthen the ties between Japan and Argentina, overcoming this situation together with our staff and the people involved, counting on your ideas and collaboration.
I´m looking forward to your support and understanding.
JICA Office in Argentina