May 19, 2017
Six Senior Volunteers and one Senior Volunteers for Nikkei Communities, all of whom have finished their two years of service in developing countries and returned to Japan, were granted an audience with Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan on March 30 in Tokyo.
The six were chosen to meet their majesties as representatives of all the returned Senior Volunteers and Senior Volunteers for Nikkei Communities.
Their majesties have shown interest in JICA’s volunteer projects since the launch of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers in 1965, and representatives of volunteers who have returned to Japan have been granted opportunities to report on their activities in the countries they were assigned to.
*1JICA has four kinds of volunteer programs. This time five Senior Volunteers and one Senior Volunteer for Japanese Communities Overseas met with Their Majesties. The volunteers had been serving in Asia, Oceania, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Ahead of the meeting, the six met with JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka and Toshio Ogawa, then director general of Secretariat of JOCV, at JICA Headquarters in Tokyo, and reported to them on their work in the volunteer programs.
Front row, from left, Tomiko Ueno, JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka, Hisako Hayashi and Tsutomu Yokoyama. Back row, from left, Minoru Fukaya, Takeshi Matsumoto, Toshio Ogawa and Toshiki Maeda
In the home of a Mongolian who came for a consultation on exporting horse oil. Takeshi Matsumoto is at the far left in the front row
Training in methods of making and using mathematics educational materials aimed at teachers. (Tomiko Ueno is in the back at center.)
At a going away party put on by math teachers at the school where Minoru Fukaya was stationed. (Fukaya is at left in the front row.)
Takeshi Matsumoto (65, born in Tokyo) was involved in holding seminars and creating manuals to assist smaller companies and in giving advice on investment and aid at the Mongolian Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.
Tomiko Ueno (age 59, born in Fukuoka prefecture) was assigned to the Curriculum and Guidance Office of the Ministry of Education in Koror, the largest city in Palau. There, she worked to improve math education.
Minoru Fukaya (age 69, born in Aichi prefecture) worked in Mopani South Easr TVET College, a public school located 450 km northeast of Pretoria, the capital of South Africa. There, as a math teacher, he worked to improve students' grades and the capacity of local teachers.
Toshiki Maeda, far right, plants a weeping cherry blossom tree in the Japanese garden along with people with disabilities
Assistance for disabled children and adults
Toshiki Maeda (age 72, born in Kyoto prefecture) was assigned to the association “Nasa Kuca,” which means “Our House” in Serbian, in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. The purpose of the association is to assist people with learning disabilities. Mr. Maeda contributed greatly to the durability and competitiveness of his workplace by selling Japanese-style curried rice, which was his own idea, and by improving its Japanese garden.
With Japanese course students at a speech contest event. Hisako Hayashi is in the center of the front row
Tsutomu Yokoyama pays an individual visit to the home of an elderly people who lives alone
Japanese language education
Hisako Hayashi (age 68, born in Kyoto prefecture) was assigned to Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in the former Moroccan capital of Fez, where she taught the Japanese language to 140 students ranging from beginner to advanced level as an extension teacher.
Nursing the elderly
Tsutomu Yokoyama (age 62, born in Niigata prefecture) was assigned to the Japanese-Bolivian Association in Colonia San Juan in Bolivia. There, he engaged in activities including investigating the organization for carrying out projects for the welfare of the elderly and the accomplishments of that work, human resource development, and activities to raise awareness of groups for the elderly and to raise awareness of community welfare.
After the return volunteers' audience with the Emperor and Empress, a briefing session was held at JICA Headquarters and the six representatives shared their impressions. Their comments included the following: "I admired the breadth and depth of knowledge of their Majesties." "I was surprised and honored that they remembered seeing me overseas several years ago."
The representatives talked further about their activities since returning to Japan, as well. Some are working in Japan and others want to continue working in developing countries.