Topics SEPTEMBER 2021
Interaction between Host Towns and Partner Countries
An online event was held on July 29, where Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic host towns in Japan ‘served’ people in their partner countries with dishes using locally grown ingredients. High school students across Japan developed recipes and sent them to their own towns and the embassies of their partner countries in advance. Professional cooks there reproduced the recipes for the embassy staff to taste it.
This event was part of a “World Hospitality Cooking Project” held by the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Promotion Office.
In Saijo, eastern Ehime, which was the host to an Austrian team, the Prefectural Saijo Agricultural High School students developed a recipe called “Saijo-kyu Teppan (iron plate) Neapolitan”. (“Neapolitan” is a pasta dish born in Japan.) Connected by ZOOM at the city hall, three students who belong to the “Papaya Study Club”, promoted the dish using papayas and butterhead lettuce grown at school to the Austrian embassy staff. The staff raised their thumbs, saying, “Delicious!”.
Following this kind of heartwarming support, the rock climbers representing Austria, Jakob Schubert and Jessica Pilz posted thank you messages on the city website. The former won a bronze medal. The Saijo city hall hung a banner which reads “Congratulations to Jakob Schubert on Winning the Bronze Medal.” It was hung on August 18 and will be on display for about one month.
(July 30, August 21, Ehime Shimbun)
Shikoku Industry Support of SDGs
Teikoku Databank conducted a survey of corporate attitudes toward SDGs in Japan. In the Shikoku region they sent questionnaires to 1052 companies, out of which 396 companies responded, including 113 from Ehime.
According to the survey, 42.6% of the companies are positive about the SDGs, a large increase of 15.7 % from last year. By industry, retailors ranked top at 55.2% the only industry exceeding 50%. It was followed by the service (45.0%), manufacturing (44.1%), and construction (43.6 %) industries. By size, 64.9% of large companies have a positive attitude toward SDGs. However, middle-sized companies are 38.9% positive and small-sized are 30.1%.
For the goals the companies place importance on among the 17 SDGs (multiple answers), Decent Work and Economic Growth”(Goal 8) showed the highest percentage at 25.4%, followed by Affordable and Clean Energy (Goal 7) at 27.0%, and Responsible Consumption and Production (Goal 12). Companies that are not making efforts account for 47.2%, a decrease of 3.1%.
It was reported that some companies said they found that their business in itself applies to SDGs, which can lead to business strength and expanded opportunities.
(August 17, Ehime Shimbun)
Ehime’s First Service Dog “Cream” Retires
Cream, a golden retriever and the first service dog in Ehime was retired on August 6, after turning 10 years old. The dog served Kazue Tsumadori (50), who decided to take Cream to a family in Shizuoka Prefecture. She said: “I was able to be part of society for the past seven years thanks to Cream. I am grateful to her for giving me a lot of mental support.”
Tsumadori, a Matsuyama City employee, used to be a teacher at a nursing school. In 2012, she broke her right ankle, resulting in nerve damage and she became bedridden. She recovered and was able to use a wheelchair and live on her own. After taking a test for living with a service dog, Cream was assigned to her in 2014.
A service dog is a type of assistance dog as stipulated by the Act on Assistance Dogs for Physically Disabled Persons. The dog assists in actions such as opening and closing doors, picking up objects, and raising the upper body of the physically disabled person. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, 60 service dogs are now active nationwide, and Cream was the only service dog in the prefecture (as of April this year). There are fewer service dogs than guide dogs, and service dogs are not as well known.
Service dogs are retired when they reach the age of 10. In some cases, service dogs spend the rest of their lives as a pet with their users. However, Tsumadori did not find it easy taking care of the old dog with its weakened legs because she had to continue using a wheelchair. She came up with an idea: “Considering the happiness of Cream, it’s better for her to live with someone who can take care of her to the end.” So she decided to take Cream to a family in Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, where Cream’s younger brother is assigned.
Looking back on the seven years and four months she spent with her service dog, Tsumadori said: “Not only did Cream help with my movement, but she also supported me mentally. I wanted to say thank you and give Cream a new life.” Cream was an essential support for Tsumadori’s participation in society and played a role in connecting her with different people.
(August 9, Ehime Shimbun)
Japan Women’s Basketball Team member from Matsuyama
The Japan Women’s Basketball team won the silver medal after the final game with the U.S. (score: 75-90) at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Saori Miyazaki, who played in the final game, graduated from St. Catalina Gakuen Highschool located in Matsuyama, and was honored by former teachers and friends to celebrate the first medal for women’s basketball in Japan, an historic event.
She took part in the game in the middle of the 4th quarter. She scored while the US was pulling far ahead.
The former coach at St. Catalina Gakuen Highschool, Takeshi Isshiki, was proud that she had accomplished her role even in the limited time, and said that it was amazing to achieve such a good result by playing according to Japan’s own strategies, in spite of a big difference in height. Winning a medal was a long-cherished wish among all the basketball players and coaches in Japan, and then he hoped she will apply such a wonderful experience to her future.
(August 9, Yomiuri Shimbun Online)
Municipal Saturday School 10 Years On
Municipal Saturday School has entered its 10th year since starting in June 2012, providing free learning support by the City Youth Development Citizens’ Council to junior high school students from disadvantaged households in Matsuyama City. From December 2020, households suffering from decreased income due to the Covid-19 pandemic have also been eligible.
Presently, the school is open every Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm at three locations including the City Youth Center. Students take classes at a time convenient to them, bringing their own materials to study, with help from university student supporters. So far, all 293 who have attended have gone on to high school. This year, 94 students are enrolled. Notices of the program are listed on the Matsuyama City homepage and the city newsletter, it also informs the targeted households.
The school seeks university student tutors with the cooperation of Ehime University. Akira Nishikawa (58), the director-general of the Council, said: “By involving tutors who are only a few years older than the students, they will be able to talk about something other than studying.” Because of that, some students attend Saturday school every week, even if they are absent from their regular school.
Classes run for 50 minutes, with three in the morning and three in the afternoon. One tutor is in charge of one or two students, and the tutor changes depending on each class. This year, two graduates from the school joined as tutors.
Saturday school reports to the city on weekly attendance and the study records of each student, and if a student is absent for a while, the city contacts caseworkers to find out why they don’t come to Saturday school.
Nishikawa is focusing on continuing the classes, believing that experience at Saturday school will have great impact on students not only in improving academic ability but also in the future from the perspective of social education.
(August 8, Ehime Shimbun)
A Tractor Donated Supports Reconstruction in Cambodia
Ryoji Takayama, who is a representative of the certified NPO International Mine Clearance and Community Development Supporters (IMCCD) and also serves as reconstruction advisor for Battambang province in Cambodia, visited Governor Tokihiro Nakamura. He reported to the Governor that a tractor given by the prefecture last March had been effectively used at a banana plantation in Battambang.
Ehime prefecture signed a memorandum of understanding to develop friendship and organize a support scheme with the provincial government of Battambang in January 2020, and donated a tractor which was used at the Prefectural Agricultural University for reconstruction of agriculture there. Mr. Takayama conveyed the message of Mr. Rattanak, Governor of Battambang province, which says that the area of land cleared of landmines has been expanding, and that they are very glad to see the tractor working in the fields. He also showed movies showing happy farmers using the tractor saying that it was very useful and powerful, and made mowing easy.
He also introduced mango, dried banana, and mango liqueur which are produced by a local enterprise supported by companies in Ehime.
Governor Nakamura asked a question about landmine clearance, and Mr. Takayama answered that landmines are still found even today although more than 4,000 mines had been removed in the past 20 years, and declared that he would continue to tell people that the situation could be repeated easily if a war breaks out.
(August 3, Ehime Shimbun)