OISCA’s 45th Tokyo Forum was held

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February 29, 2024 

After a few years of hiatus due to the corona pandemic, OISCA organized on February 29th the 45th Tokyo Forum, a luncheon meeting, at the House of Representatives First Members’ Office Building in Tokyo. The event aims to establish and strengthen the network and collaboration among Tokyo-based foreign diplomatic missions. A total of 13 diplomats from ten countries participated in the forum, including the four ambassadors from Uzbekistan, Palau, Sri Lanka, and Fiji. 

Kitsuki Fumio, OISCA International Secretary General, opened the forum with his brief remarks and introduced the OISCA President, senior management officials, and diplomatic corps.

Afterward, Ms. Nakano Etsuko, OISCA International President, delivered a welcome address where she expressed her appreciation to foreign dignitaries for attending the event despite their hectic schedules. The president expressed her gratitude for the warm support and sympathy extended by some embassies to the victims of the earthquake disaster that devastated the Noto Peninsula, Ishikawa Prefecture, in early January.

The Honorable Tani Kouichi, former National Public Safety Commission Chairman, Minister of State for Disaster Management, Cabinet Office, and Secretary-General of the Association of Japanese Diet Members supporting OISCA, graced the event. In his brief speech, Mr. Tani expressed gratitude to foreign countries for their generous support and deep sympathy for the victims of the Noto Peninsula earthquake. He has visited OISCA activity sites in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, India, and Myanmar and confirmed that these onsite activities were beneficial to each country.

Then, Mr. Kitsuki summarized OISCA operations within and outside Japan through PowerPoint slides. He discussed mainly the four pillars of activities, namely capacity building, the Children’s Forest Program (CFP), environmental conservation and protection, and rural development. Mr. Kitsuki also discussed the project to combat the desertification problem in Uzbekistan, particularly in the Aral Sea. 

Thereafter, Mr. Nagaishi Yasuaki, OISCA Vice President, moderated an open dialogue. The foreign diplomats made various comments and suggestions, one after another.

Ambassador Murkhsinkhuja Abdourakhmanov of Uzbekistan noted that OISCA is the first foreign NGO to carry out a reforestation project on-site in the Aral Sea desert area. Of course, international organizations and other foreign NGOs are helping, but they are providing us only financial support. The ambitious project, which covers 40,000 hectares in 10 years, affects not only Central Asia but also the whole world. In that sense, we do deeply appreciate OISCA’s cooperation.

In response, Mr. Nagaishi added that the OISCA`s initiative in Uzbekistan not only focuses on reforestation but also improves the people`s livelihoods by integrating the cultivation and marketing of medicinal plants.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador, Eluppitimudiyanselage Rodney Manoranjan Perera, introduced a heartwarming effort. His Excellency said that he is appreciative of OISCA`s long-time efforts in Sri Lanka. In return, in cooperation with OISCA, the Ambassador mobilized a group of 50 Sri Lankan residents in Japan to volunteer in the disaster-stricken Ishikawa Prefecture. They cooked Sri Lankan food and served it to about 1,000 earthquake victims at shelters.

The other diplomats followed with a variety of comments and suggestions. All in all, the forum turned out to be a good opportunity for OISCA and foreign diplomats. The latter had a better understanding of what OISCA is doing, while the former had a better grasp of how the diplomats perceive the organization as well as the needs of the respective countries.