Nature under threat
More than 100 years ago the first Japanese economic immigrants began to arrive in Latin America. From those early struggling communities, the ethnic Japanese community has grown to around 1.7 million people today and Japan and the continent have forged a long and deep relationship.
Latin American progress in the last few decades has been rapid but uneven. Some nations have made impressive economic, social and political progress. Brazil has become both a regional and global player. But long-term pockets of deep-seated poverty, social inequality and instability remain.
Japan and its international development agency, JICA, have committed themselves to helping to tackle such long-term problems, assisting the Japanese communities, known as Nikkei, to thrive, but also helping to confront more recent crises such as climate change and an assault on the world's biodiversity, particularly in the globe's most impressive and important eco-system, the Amazon River basin.
The continent is rich in natural resources such as the Amazon River basin and many countries have made significant economic, social and political progress. There are still pockets of poverty, economic inequality and political instability and JICA is helping to tackle many of these problems.
The 2.5 million square mile Amazon river basin is the most important eco-system in the world. A new project is helping to unlock the secret of how the globe's ‘lung’ actually works.
Japanese technology is helping to map the Amazon river basin from space—in the process helping to reduce illegal forest destruction and track climate change, agricultural production, the spread of disease and even infrastructure development.
Glaciers across the world are disappearing, including in the Andes Mountains and the phenomenon has serious implications for millions of people who rely on them for, among other things, their water supply. One project in Bolivia is helping to build a comprehensive scientific picture of what is happening to the glaciers.
The so-called Ozone Hole over Antarctica is a giant rip in the sky approximately 1 ½ times the land mass of the United States. Japanese scientists are helping to track the hole and the radiation affects on people living near or under this tear in the atmosphere.
Major progress is being made in combating chagas disease or the so-called ‘kissing bug’ in 21 Central and South American countries. The disease has claimed the lives of untold numbers of people for centuries and the economic costs to the region can be counted in billions of dollars.
Bolivia and other Latin countries have plentiful supplies of water…in theory. But millions of people still do not have access to safe and regular supplies. Providing safe water is a major JICA priority in the region.
Japan has been providing Peru with financial and technical assistance for more than 30 years. Now, it is helping in a project called Water for All which aims to provide safe drinking water for the country’s 28 million people
It was a concept first developed in 17th century Japan. Now, Koban, the principle of community policing, has been introduced in Brazil and other Latin American countries with positive results.
Early Japanese settlers in Brazil’s rainforests were wiped out when their single pepper crop was destroyed. A more flexible mode of farming, so-called agro-forestry has helped local farmers to recover and live more harmoniously with the surrounding natural forests.
Latin America and the Caribbean region are prone to devastating natural disasters ranging from earthquakes to flooding. JICA has provided emergency assistance and longer term projects have helped establish early-warning systems and tremor resistant homes.
JICA is involved in a series of projects with Mexico ranging from the conservation of the country’s famed coastal wetlands to boosting small and medium sized company manufacturing and so-called triangular cooperation.
JICA is assisting one of the most important natural history museums in Latin America to conserve, preserve and catalogue millions of species which help chart the history of the continent.
Mercury poisoning has been a curse for centuries–affecting emperors and hat workers. JICA is cooperating with Brazil and surrounding countries to monitor mercury pollution.
Sao Paulo is the biggest city in Brazil and the fifth largest metropolitan area in the world. JICA is helping to solve some of the city’s growing pains and those of another urban center, Belem.
Nicaragua is the largest, and poorest, country in central America. In a series of projects JICA is helping poor families and young people and also assisting rural communities and farmers to improve their livelihoods.
From mythical times the sesame seed has become one of the world's most versatile plants. JICA and Mexican experts are helping poor farmers in Paraguay to boost their harvests of this increasingly important crop.
The first Japanese emigrants arrived in Latin America more than 100 years ago. Now, there are around 1.7 ethnic Japanese or Nikkei and they have become successful farmers, entrepreneurs, teachers and even politicians in their home homelands.
Statistics on Latin America which covers 14.1 % of the earth’s surface and is home to 600 million people and the world’s most important eco-system, the Amazon River basin.