March 31, 2022
President Kitaoka (center) at the award ceremony
the National Order of the Southern Cross in the grade of Commander
JICA President KITAOKA Shinichi was awarded the National Order of the Southern Cross in the grade of Commander (Comendador de la Ordem do Cruzeiro do Sul) by the Federative Republic of Brazil. On March 7, the award ceremony was held at the Brazilian Embassy in Tokyo, where H.E. Mr. Eduardo Saboia, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federative Republic of Brazil to Japan, presented President Kitaoka with a certificate and medal. The National Order of the Southern Cross in the grade of commander is the highest and oldest decoration awarded to foreign nationals who have made outstanding contributions to the country.
While presenting the award, Mr. Saboia stated that “JICA’s cooperation has filled a very important role in the history of friendship and collaboration between our two countries, including the expansion of agricultural production, the mitigation of natural disaster risks, and measures to combat illegal logging of the Amazon forest. Under the leadership of President Kitaoka, JICA responded very swiftly to the plight of Brazil during the COVID-19 pandemic, which further promoted cooperation between the two countries. As the world once again is confronted with the horrors of war, today we celebrate the importance of cooperation between different peoples as a way to promote peace, and hereby bestow upon you the National Order of the Southern Cross in the grade of Commander.”
In response, President Kitaoka, expressing his gratitude, remarked, “it is my honor to receive this very prestigious decoration. The year 2019 marked the 60th anniversary of Japan's cooperation with Brazil, and our two countries have developed into one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world, including the formation of a strategic and global partnership. It is my wish that our bilateral relationship will continue to closely develop and mature, and will contribute to world peace and stability. I will continue to play my part in this process.”
At the same time, at the Brazilian Embassy in Tokyo, the opening ceremony of the inauguration plaque of the auditorium “Ambassador Edmundo Susumu Fujita” was held. As the first Brazilian Nikkei to become a diplomat, the late Ambassador Edmundo Susumu Fujita was initially an exchange student at the University of Tokyo. For many years, he acted as a bridge between Brazil and Asia/Japan, and served as ambassador to Indonesia and South Korea, among other things.
In 2019, JICA established the Brazil-Japan Development Research Program “Fujita-Ninomiya Chair” in cooperation with the University of São Paulo, Brazil, to memorialize the achievements of late Ambassador Fujita and Dr. Masato Ninomiya, professor at the University of São Paulo and member of the JICA International Advisory Board (note), over the years and to foster those who follow in their footsteps.
Starting with this program, JICA launched the “JICA Chair (JICA Program for Japanese Studies)” in 2020 to cultivate talented individuals who are well-versed in Japan’s modernization experience and expected to become future leaders in various fields in developing countries. As of March 2022, the JICA Chair has been established in 47 countries.
JICA will continue to develop a variety of cooperation for the socio-economic development of Brazil and to strengthen Japan-Brazil relations.
Note: The International Advisory Board (IAB) was established in March 2017 with the objective of strategically improving JICA activities and initiatives through advice from domestic and international board members who are distinguished experts in their fields.