Speech for the 115th Anniversary of Japanese Immigration and the Publication of the Memoirs of the Late Ambassador Edmundo Sussumu Fujita


Your excellency, Ambassador Maria da Rocha, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Your excellency, Ms. Marcia Loureiro, President of the Alexandre Gusmão Foundation (FUNAG),
Your excellency, Mr. Teiji Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to Brazil,
Your excellency, Ambassador Eduardo Paes Saboia,
Mrs. Maria Ligaya Fujita, and all others present today,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for this opportunity to participate in the celebration of the 115th anniversary of Japanese immigration and the publication of the memoirs of the late Ambassador Edmundo Sussumu Fujita, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and FUNAG.

I was appointed as President of JICA last year. I am very honored to be able to visit Brazil again, having previously visited Brazil in 2013 during my prior term as JICA President. During that visit, I exchanged views with Japanese descendent, or “Nikkei” organizations in São Paulo, and visited Nikkei farmers in the Cerrado region.

JICA has long supported Japanese immigrants to settle and stabilize their lives in Brazil, as we have done since our predecessor organization, the Japan Emigration Service, was established in 1963.

JICA invests in human resource development because it is one of the most important keys to a country's development. In Brazil, more than 10,000 people who have received training from JICA in the past are active in a variety of fields.
Now that the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be under control, JICA has resumed the dispatch of volunteers from Japan and training programs in Japan. We hope to continue to deepen the ties between our two countries through these people-to-people exchanges.

Academic exchange is also important. Japanese immigrants’ contributions to Brazil-Japan relations are significant. Two of the most prominent Japanese-Brazilians are the late Ambassador Edmundo Sussumu Fujita, the first Nikkei diplomat and ambassador, and Masato Ninomiya, a lawyer and professor of law at the University of São Paulo. To honor their accomplishments, when we launched the JICA chair at the University of São Paulo in 2019, we named it the "Fujita Ninomiya Chair". The Fujita Ninomiya Chair provides an opportunity to scholars and students to learn about Japan's modern development experience and knowledge.

Initially, the chair was open only to participants from the University of São Paulo, but now the program is open to applicants from across Brazil.

Every year in July, the University of São Paulo and Meiji University co-host a two-week lecture series. Two to three times a year, we invite prominent university professors from Japan to give special lectures at the University of São Paulo. I was privileged to give a special lecture at the University of São Paulo on June 12. Mrs. Maria Ligaya Fujita was also present, and I believe she felt assured that the chair is worthy of carrying the name of her husband, the late Ambassador Fujita. Among Fujita Ninomiya Chair participants, ten (10) are already studying at Japanese universities under JICA's SDG Global Leadership Development Program. I am sure that they will play an active role to strengthen Japan-Brazil relations in the future.

At the same time, JICA is currently the sole implementing agency of Official Development Assistance (ODA) of the Japanese government. We are working to solve economic and social development issues in partnership with the Brazilian government. This year marks the 64th year of ODA cooperation between Brazil and Japan. Over the 6 decades, JICA has extended its support to diverse fields in Brazil through technical and financial cooperation, training and so on. I believe significant impacts were made by our projects, such as agricultural development of the Cerrado Region, Amazon rainforest conservation efforts, and public safety improvements through a community police project that introduced the Japanese "koban" (police box) model.

The results of these cooperative efforts are being extended to other Latin American countries and Portuguese-speaking African countries in the form of South-South or Triangular Cooperation, in coordination with the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC).

It is not uncommon for Nikkei to play key roles in JICA's projects with the Brazilian government. This is an indication of the progress made in the integration of Nikkeis into Brazilian society, and is also a result of the diligent efforts of Japanese immigrants to educate their children.

JICA’s vision is "Leading the world with trust”. Our job is to strengthen the ties with our partner countries and to jointly overcome difficulties hand in hand. To achieve this, JICA will work with Brazil to forge greater bonds of trust and create a more free, peaceful and prosperous world for all.

I would like to conclude my speech by once again expressing my gratitude to Ambassador Rocha, Secretary General of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and to all those who helped to make this wonderful commemorative ceremony possible.
Thank you very much.

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