April 21, 2015
Astronaut Soichi Noguchi, left, who took on the job of official supporter, and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka.
On April 13, Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), assumed the position of “Official Supporter” of a project called the Japan Public-Private Platform for REDD+ that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is jointly promoting with other partners.
The REDD+ Platform is an effort to promote the REDD+* climate change initiative that contributes to reducing emissions and increasing absorption of greenhouse gasses using forests, the sustainable development of developing countries dependent on forest resources and the conservation of biodiversity, through an all-Japan effort including the private sector, organizations, research institutes and government agencies. It was established in November 2014 in response to a call from JICA and the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute of Japan. Its main activities include developing new business models that make use of REDD+, sharing expertise on international trends surrounding REDD+ and disseminating information to increase the name recognition of and understanding on REDD+. As an official supporter, Noguchi will spread the word about the REDD+ Platform from the unique viewpoint of an astronaut.
Astronaut Soichi Noguchi, left, and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka
On the occasion of Noguchi's assuming the position of official supporter, JICA President Akihiko Tanaka said it is important to promote understanding of REDD+ by a broader range of the public. He expressed his hope for Noguchi to convey to the public what he felt when he looked down on the earth's forests from the International Space Station, and the situation of tropical forests as viewed from both space and the ground.
In response to this, Noguchi talked about JAXA's expertise in observing the earth using the latest technologies such as satellites, and said he aspires to deepen understanding of JICA's initiatives in the forest sector around the world and to convey the importance of conservation of the earth's atmosphere to the people of Japan in an easy-to-understand manner.
In addition, Noguchi and Tanaka affirmed, JICA and JAXA will partner to further improve understanding of REDD+.
Note: JICA entered into a cooperation agreement with JAXA on April 23, 2014, to develop higher quality projects through the use of aerospace technology.
*REDD+ adds the idea of increasing the absorption of carbon dioxide by forests and forest carbon stocks through sustainable forest management to the idea of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries. A discussion is in progress on whether to distribute international funds in proportion to emissions reduction and forest carbon stocks due to forest conservation in developing countries as an incentive to preserve forests, as one climate change countermeasure.