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A Young Japanese Foundation Reaches Out to the World

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By Robert Johnson | IDN-InDepthNews Feature


BERLIN | MILAN (IDN) - “To safeguard the future of the planet and the right of future generations everywhere to live healthy and fulfilling lives. This is the great development challenge of the 21st century,” declared the Human Development Report 2011, an independent publication commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme.

That key message is emphasized as prelude to the Preamble of The Milan Charter officially handed over to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on October 16 in Italy as “legacy” of Expo Milan 2015 with the theme ‘Feeding the Planet - Energy for Life’, which closes its doors on October 31 after 184 days.

As Expo 2015 officials rightly remark, these were the unique days of culture and science, innovation and tradition, sustainability and solidarity, with 145 countries, three international organisations and several non-governmental groups joining.

Devnet Tokyo Foundation was one of the notable non-official participants of the universal exhibition. It brought together an array of exhibitors contributing their share to ensuring access to safe and nutritious food, clean water and energy and thereby upholding human dignity.

In doing so, Devnet Tokyo Foundation chair and CEO Fumiyasu Akegawa responded to another keynote message of the Human Development Report: “Understanding the links between environmental sustainability and equity is critical if we are to expand human freedoms for current and future generations.”

The Foundation was set up in March 2013 as part of the global network of Rome-based Devnet International, which enjoys Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 1995. But it did not partake in Expo 2015.

Participation in the universal exhibition in Milan not only gave the Devnet Tokyo the first opportunity for exposure to a global audience, but also underlined Akegawa’s eagerness to reach out to the world outside Japan with a distinct message that a relatively new non-governmental organization was in a position to rub shoulders with the established and bigger ones in the field.

Devnet Tokyo’s partners, who exhibited from August 1-31, included an innovative geothermal air conditioning system for general buildings, nursing homes, factories, warehouses, horticulture, and gymnasiums. “We believe in clean, sustainable and simple technologies,” said Mitsugi Ikeda, CEO of the company striving to make such technologies attractive to small, medium and large establishments. “We believe in clean, sustainable and simple technologies,” said Mitsugi Ikeda, CEO of Ikeda Technical company striving to make such technologies attractive to small, medium and large establishments.

He pointed out that temperature five meter below ground is stable at 15 centigrade all year round and that the underground heat at this shallow level naturally originates from the sun. “We utilize this underground heat by burying a 800mm double layer polyethylene pipeline horizontally 2-3 meters below the ground level.”

This pipeline has polyethylene tubes around it so that a user can run ground water or hot water in those tubes to cool down or heat up the inner temperature of the pipeline. A fan attached inside the pipeline sends the air into the users facility. “Therefore, Geo-Max can be installed anywhere as long as you have an open space,” Ikeda said.

Another pacesetter partnering with the Devnet Tokyo Foundation was a company keen to make ‘Nano Shine’ popular. Tomokazu Kanda, President and CEO of System Brain promoting this yet another environment friendly technology said: “We are committed to protecting the global environment with the help of a new type of protective shied for personal and public transport vehicles, for marine vessels, aeroplanes and even buildings by using just mineral ore and water, instead of chemicals.”

Kanda added: “This simple technology is being used not only in Japan but also in some of the Asian countries such as China and Thailand, which are serving as examples worth emulating by a growing number of European countries.”

“Eat Healthy – Live Healthy” was the motto of yet another partner in the pavilion managed by the Devnet Tokyo Foundation. Yukiko Yajima, president of the Hiroo Arisugawa spa company, which is wedded to nutrition security, explained to curious visitors how rice could offer additional nutrients.

Unmilled or brown rice, which has only the husk removed, contains vitamins, minerals, fiber (a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest) and other important nutrients for the human body, she explained.

She introduced to visitors rice bran, a by-product of the rice milling process. 95 percent of brown rice nutrients is in the layer of the bran. It is edible, but difficult to properly digest, she said.

With this in view, Yajima has developed a new product called ‘Bran Tresor’, which helps the body to digest and absorb by using the special method of decomposing enzymes. “This is a natural nutritious food for all ages. It is also good for detoxification, relieving constipation, enabling beautiful skin and anti-aging,” she assured.

Devnet Tokyo also availed of its participation in Expo Milan to introduce its prestigious partners – such as Sri Lanka academic Dr Ahmed Mumtaz Masoon Cassim and Masami Nakakubo – who are engaged in projects aimed at fostering sustainable development in all its multifarious aspects.

Dr Cassim is a former Vice Chancellor of Ritsumeikan University, a private institution based in Kyoto. He was also President of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU).

Nakakubo is Executive Director of J.C. Service, which engages in planning, design, construction and operation management of total resource-saving systems. In March 2015, he prepared a feasibility study on ‘Smart Community and the Like in the Global Market’ in Sri Lanka.

Targeting idle sites and large roof space of public/private installations, Nakakubo offers total services to construct and operate “megawatt-class” photovoltaic capacities. A megawatt is a snapshot figure, equal to the amount of electricity used by 750 typical homes at any given instant.

J.C. Service also helps build up a base of disaster prevention by increasing water/energy supply capacities of a total resource-saving system and, at the same time, adding an additional electricity supply capacity of photovoltaic installations.

The diversity of Devnet Tokyo’s partners was also underlined by the fact that Japan’s traditional woodblock print artist Shusui Taki had pride of place in the pavilion managed by the Foundation. Taki is ranked high in public esteem, also outside of Japan. He received several awards including the grand prix of eminent le Salon de Paris. His works are also with the British Museum. [IDN-InDepthNews – 25 October 2015]

This article is part of IDN’s media project jointly with Global Cooperation Council and Devnet Tokyo.

Photo: Devnet Tokyo Foundation’s CEO Akegawa (left) talking to visitors at the Expo Milan pavilion. Credit: Devnet Tokyo

2015 IDN-InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters

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