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    The Nippon Foundation is carrying out the following support measures while closely following the situation with regard to infections.

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    From left: Yohei Sasakawa (Chairman, The Nippon Foundation) , Mitsuyuki Unno (Executive Director, The Nippon Foundation), Shakir Shamshy (Director, DeepStar), Pat Toomey (Manager, Planning and Performance for Chevron's Complex Process Facilities, DeepStar)

    The Nippon Foundation today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the international offshore technology development consortium DeepStar*1 for the establishment of a joint research and development program. Under this agreement, DeepStar and The Nippon Foundation will jointly work to promote decarbonization in the field of offshore oil and natural gas, with a focus on renewable energy and the environment.
    The program is being launched with a budget of up to $10 million (roughly 1.1 billion yen) through 2026, to promote decarbonization in the field of offshore oil and natural gas.

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    Distributing packages of infant-care items in Kilinochchi District in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province (mid-September 2021)

    As the threat from the spread of coronavirus infections continues to be felt around the world, The Nippon Foundation is providing emergency support to three countries in South Asia – Sri Lanka, Nepal, and India – in addition to its work in Japan.

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    Students from overseas who discussed their Japanese university experiences and dreams for the future

    UWC ISAK Japan is an international boarding school for grades 10 to 12, which began operations in 2014 as the International School of Asia, Karuizawa (ISAK), and joined the United World Colleges movement in 2017 with the aim of cultivating change-makers who will transform society. With approximately 200 students from roughly 80 countries around the world, UWC ISAK is certified as a senior high school by the Japanese government, and uses the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme as its curriculum for grades 11 and 12. To promote a diverse student body encompassing students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, roughly 70% of students receive scholarships that do not need to be repaid.

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    Introducing sign language

    The SignTown game for teaching sign language, jointly developed by The Nippon Foundation and the Chinese University of Hong Kong in collaboration with Google and Kwansei Gakuin University, was released in a beta version in May 2021 followed by the full version in September. Using information and communications technology and artificial intelligence, SignTown offers a gateway to Deaf culture as an easy and enjoyable way to experience sign language for the first time, with the ability to recognize hand gestures, various body movements like leaning forward, and facial expressions using a conventional two-dimensional camera attached to a personal computer.

  • The 42nd installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out from September 16 to 21 on the subject of the “Coronavirus and Social Participation.” The survey was intended to examine the changes that have occurred as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with regard to young people’s interest in politics and elections, economic activity, and cultural and artistic activities.
    The survey showed that young people’s interest in politics has increased as a result of the pandemic, with 34% of respondents having an increased sense that politics and elections affect them personally, compared with before January 2020 when reports of the pandemic first emerged. Of respondents who had worked or looked for work since the outbreak of the pandemic, 42% said that job openings had decreased. Of those currently working, 21% replied that their income had declined, and of those currently working or who have worked during the pandemic, 53% were not aware that part-time workers are able to use the government’s financial aid program for workers whose income declined, showing that awareness of financial assistance programs is limited. The survey also showed that young people’s participation in cultural and artistic events has suffered, with more than half of respondents saying that opportunities to attend or participate in cultural and artistic facilities or events had decreased. Of all respondents, only 26% had viewed online cultural or artistic performances, and the percentage who had taken remote tours of or visits to cultural or artistic facilities was even lower, at 15%. In addition, roughly 70% reported decreases in various experiences and opportunities with friends.

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    SEGA SAMMY BUSINESS SUPPORT , a special subsidiary of the SEGA SAMMYGroup, promotes skills development of persons with disabilities through diverse programs.
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    Left to right from rear: Mr. Natsume, Public Relations, SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS INC.; Ms. Ichiki, Vice President, Executive Officer Managing Director of Sustainability Promotion Division,SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS INC.., and President of SEGA SAMMY BUSINESS SUPPORT INC ., a special subsidiary ofSEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS INC . Front center: Ms. Okuhira of the Nippon Foundation Working Group with “Alien” (left), and “Sonic” (right), typical characters of the SEGA SAMMY Group
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    Recipients of the UMIGOMI Zero Award

    The Nippon Foundation and Japan’s Ministry of the Environment jointly held the UMIGOMI Zero Award 2021 to identify and disseminate to a wide audience outstanding measures being taken in Japan to address ocean debris (umigomi is a combination of the Japanese words for ocean (umi) and waste or trash (gomi)). The 2021 winners, selected by a panel of outside judges from among 276 submissions, were announced at a ceremony held on October 6.

  • The 41st installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out from August 12 to 16 on the subject of the “National Election.” With the current term of the Lower House of Japan’s Diet (parliament) set to end in October, an election will be held by sometime in November at the latest. The survey therefore covered 916 young persons between the ages of 17 and 19 who will have turned 18, the legal voting age, by October 31. The survey found that 55% of respondents intend to vote in the election, which is significantly higher than the 40% of 18- and 19-year-olds who voted in the previous Lower House election in 2017. Among the 22% of respondents who replied that they will not vote or probably will not vote, the top reason given for not voting was that it is burdensome, followed by their being busy, and a feeling that their vote does not matter.
    Issues related to health and hygiene, including coronavirus infections and vaccines, were viewed as the highest priority issue for the election by both male and female respondents, indicating heightened interest in the pandemic among this age group. Broken down by male and female respondents, women were also interested in issues related to the rights and protection of children and issues related to LGBTQ individuals, while men were interested in issues related to disaster response, education, and schools.
    Among measures that respondents thought would increase their own inclination to vote, internet voting ranked highest. Television was the main source of information for politics and elections, with more than twice the number of responses compared with internet news and newspapers, showing a trend of differentiation in media use among young people.

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    The SignTown entry page

    A media event was held at The Nippon Foundation’s head office in Tokyo on September 22 to mark the official launch of the SignTown game for teaching sign language, jointly developed by The Nippon Foundation and The Chinese University of Hong Kong in collaboration with Google and Kwansei Gakuin University. Since the launch of the beta version in May, roughly 8,500 people have used the site, and various improvements have been made based on their feedback. The launch was timed to coincide with the International Day of Sign Languages on September 23, which was a public holiday in Japan.

  • Back to Blue Logo

    Back to Blue, an ocean health initiative of The Nippon Foundation and Economist Impact, has released the first edition of its Plastics Management Index (PMI). The index ranks 25 countries worldwide across five continents, assessing the capacity of a country to minimize plastics mismanagement while promoting the optimal production and use of plastic as a resource. The index comprises three pillars – governance, existing systemic capacity, and stakeholder engagement – measured across 12 indicators and 44 individual sub-indicators.

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    The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa (left) and Osaka University President Shojiro Nishio at the press conference

    At a joint press conference held on September 14, The Nippon Foundation and Osaka University announced The Nippon Foundation – Osaka University Infectious Disease Project to establish a center for general research on infectious diseases. The project is being launched to address the social issue of emerging infectious diseases as highlighted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

  • MetLife Insurance K.K. (MetLife Japan) and The Nippon Foundation today announced a partnership between MetLife Foundation and The Nippon Foundation to support hospices and home-care nursing centers across Japan in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The Nippon Foundation and MetLife Insurance K.K. (“MetLife Japan”), representing MetLife Foundation, have announced the launch of “MetLife Foundation x The Nippon Foundation: ‘Better Life Better Place’ for the Elderly and Children,” a program to develop twelve care facilities for older persons and children across Japan by the end of 2024.

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    The city of Hakodate, as seen from Mount Hakodate

    Hakodate, a city located near the southern tip of Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido, is known for its delicious seafood, especially squid, uni (sea urchin), and crab. A new project is now underway to popularize buri (yellowtail or Japanese amberjack). Buri is not traditionally one of the region’s popular fish varieties, but warming ocean waters have led to a large increase in local catches. In 2018, the region boasted the third-largest volume of buri caught in Japan, but Hokkaido’s consumption of the fish is only half that of the national average. To rectify this imbalance, a project was launched in October 2020 under the umbrella of The Nippon Foundation’s Umi-to-Nippon Project (The Ocean and Japan Project) to popularize buri as a menu item both in homes and in restaurants, especially when prepared as buri tare-katsu – a fried buri cutlet served with a special sauce.

  • The 40th installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out from July 16 to 20 on the subject of “Coronavirus Vaccines.” The survey found that close to 40% of respondents wanted to be vaccinated but had been unable to make an appointment, as well as deep-rooted concern about side effects and an aversion to injections.
    In terms of who should be prioritized in receiving vaccinations, the results were significantly different from the government’s rollout, with essential workers in medical and social welfare facilities and public transportation placed highest. The survey also asked young people their opinions on the domestic vaccine passports being proposed by some business groups, and how they should be used.

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    Santen conducts programs to promote and support understanding of visual disabilities both within and outside the company
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    Santen staff and members of the Nippon Foundation Working Group
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    Kashiwa Sato’s ‘WHITE’ public toilet at the West Exit of Ebisu Station(photo: Satoshi Nagare)

    The Nippon Foundation’s THE TOKYO TOILET project is building public toilets that can be used by anyone. The project is building new toilets at 17 locations in Shibuya, Tokyo, as a way of moving toward the realization of a society that embraces diversity. The 10th, 11th, and 12th toilets, designed by Kashiwa Sato, Toyo Ito, and Kazoo Sato, have recently opened for use by the general public.

  • True Colors Festival Special Live logo and artists. Top row from left: Kohshi Kishita, the True Colors Festival Special Live logo, and Mandy Harvey. Bottom row from left: Johnatha Bastos, ILL-Abilities, Viktoria Modesta, and Alvin Law.

    “True Colors Festival Special Live,” featuring six talented artists with disabilities who have performed around the world, will be held during the Tokyo Paralympics as part of Fuji Television’s “THE ODAIBA 2021 Virtual Adventure Island” summer event. The virtual performances will also be featured on Fuji TV’s morning news program “Mezamashi TV.”

  • The 39th installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out from June 17 to 24 on the subject of “Sexual Activity.” The survey found that less than one quarter of respondents had had a sexual experience, and of those, less than one quarter had their first experience at age 15 or younger. Both male and female respondents listed their mother highest as the person they would consult about a pregnancy or possible pregnancy, but overall, more that 17% replied that they would not consult with anyone. With regard to a proposal currently being considered to make emergency contraception pills available without a prescription, more than 70% supported the proposal.

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    “Japan Walk in TOKYO,” in the autumn 2019 sponsored by the executive committee of which The Asahi Shimbun Company is a member. From the foreground, Paralympians Mr. Masaharu Ishihara, Mr. Shinji Negi, Ms. Aki Taguchi and Mr. Junichi Kawai interact with “Japan Walk in TOKYO” participants. Photo provided by Japan Walk 2019 Executive Committee
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    Back row from left to right: Mr. Izutsu of the Nippon Foundation Working Group; Mr. Tanabe of The Asahi Shimbun Company Graphic Design Section and Mr. Mori, who is also a Para-athelete, of Olympics, Paralympics and Sports Projects Department of The Asahi Shimbun Company ; Mr. Yamada of the Nippon Foundation Working Group; and Mr. Tsunoda, Managing Executive Director of The Asahi Shimbun Company Front row from left to right: Ms. Miyazaki of the Public Affairs Division, Ms. Okawa of the Personnel Department, and Ms. Tobimatsu of Olympics, Paralympics and Sports Projects Department of The Asahi Shimbun Company
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    (From left) Actress Anna Hachimine, Yohei Sasakawa, Shinjiro Koizume, and Shozaburo Yuri at the press announcement

    The Nippon Foundation held a press announcement and exhibition on July 20 to introduce a new initiative with several companies in Japan to manufacture bags using recycled raw materials derived from discarded fishing nets. The initiative aims to reduce plastic ocean debris and promote the use of discarded fishing nets as a raw material, as a way of preventing illegal dumping into the ocean and promoting waste collection. The products are made from discarded fishing nets collected in the Doto area of Hokkaido, which were recycled into pellets that were then woven into fabric, and are scheduled to go on sale from October 1.

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    Chief Minister N. Biren Singh (third from right) accepting the oxygen concentrators

    The Nippon Foundation has donated 100 oxygen concentrators manufactured by Air Water Medical and 100 pulse oximeters to the state of Manipur in northeastern India, which is currently dealing with a strong second wave of coronavirus infections, with a total project cost of 52 million yen.

  • The Nippon Foundation and Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co., Ltd. have conducted a joint survey on gaps in education and the effect on children’s non-cognitive skills from school closings and restrictions on educational activities during the coronavirus pandemic.
    The survey covered 4,000 parents of elementary school through high school students and asked about differences in their children’s learning environment before and after the declaration of the first state of emergency in April 2020, and compared the effects by household income.

  • The 38th installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out from May 14 to 18 on the subject of “Public Toilets.” The survey found that more than 70% of respondents use public toilets when they go out, but also showed clear differences in utilization and impressions depending on where the public toilet is located.
    The highest percentage of respondents, at 57%, used “toilets in department stores, movie theaters, and other commercial facilities,” while the use of “toilets in parks and along footpaths” ranked lowest at 14%. Compared with other locations, toilets in parks and along footpaths had a particularly negative image, with 68% of respondents describing them as “dirty,” 29% as “smelly,” 23% as “dark,” and 23% as “dangerous,” and only roughly 3% citing the positive impressions of being “clean” and “safe.”
    Female respondents in particular noted a need for safety and security measures at toilets in parks and along footpaths, with 27% describing them as dangerous (compared with 18% for male respondents). This clearly showed that although toilets in parks and along footpaths are free and close at hand, the reality is that they cannot be used by everyone with peace of mind. In addition, 81% of respondents preferred Western-style toilets, while 7% preferred Japanese-style toilets for the hygienic aspect of not coming into contact with the toilet seat.
    With regard to the current state of public toilets, more than one-fourth of respondents do not feel that public toilets are a fitting expression of the Japanese concept of hospitality known as omotenashi, for reasons including negligence in cleaning (71%), uninviting exteriors (37%), and the fact that immoral users do things like steal the toilet paper (30%).

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    Jumpei Sasakawa, Executive Director of the Nippon Foundation (left) with Kengo Kuma (right) in front of the new public toilet in Nabeshima Shoto Park

    The Nippon Foundation’s THE TOKYO TOILET project is building public toilets that can be used by anyone. The project is building new toilets at 17 locations in Shibuya, Tokyo, as a way of moving toward the realization of a society that embraces diversity. The ninth toilet, designed by architect Kengo Kuma, will be made available for use by the general public from June 24.

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    手話タウンのオープニング

    A beta version of the SignTown game for teaching sign language, jointly developed by The Nippon Foundation and The Chinese University of Hong Kong in collaboration with Google and Kwansei Gakuin University, was released today. Improvements will be made based on users’ feedback over the next few months, with the target launch date for the full version set for September 23, the International Day of Sign Languages.

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    The latest True Colors music video is being released worldwide today, bringing together a cast of 13 artists from nine countries for a new take on the R&B classic “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree.

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    Ms. Masako Okuhira (left) of The Nippon Foundation Working Group and Mr. Tetsuya Takeuchi (right) of NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)
  • With constitutional revision an issue that continues to be discussed in Japan, the 37th installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out from April 15 to 19 on the subject of the “Preamble to the Constitution.” The Constitution of Japan was promulgated on November 3, 1946, and came into effect on May 3, 1947.
    The survey found that 40% of respondents have either read or have a recollection of having read the Preamble, while the remainder replied either that they had no recollection or did not remember having read the Preamble. Of those who remembered reading the Preamble, more than half said that they read it when they were in junior high school.
    In response to a question to all respondents as to whether the Preamble was easy to understand, less than 20% replied that it was, while more than 80% replied that it was difficult to understand or that there were points that they could not understand. In open-ended responses as to why it was difficult to understand, the top replies were that the wording was difficult to follow and that the sentences were too long. In addition, roughly 30% of respondents felt that the Preamble should clearly mention Japanese values like history, traditions, and culture, while roughly the same percentage felt this was not necessary and roughly 40% did not know.

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    Back row left to right: Ms. Yanagiya, Mr. Momota, Mr. Edagawa of Sumitomo Life, Mr. Yamada, and Ms. Okuhira (front) from The Nippon Foundation Working Group
  • Eiji Uchida is president of Uchida Plastic, a manufacturer of plastic products in Sabae City, Fukui Prefecture. Sabae is known throughout Japan as a manufacturing center for eyeglasses, and Uchida Plastic won The Nippon Foundation Award in the Innovation category of the UMIGOMI Zero Award 2020 for sunglass frames it has developed that are made from recycled plastic bottles. The UMIGOMI Zero Award is jointly operated by The Nippon Foundation and the Ministry of the Environment to address the issue of ocean debris (umigomi is a combination of the Japanese words for ocean (umi) and waste or trash (gomi)).

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    Staff of freee, a venture company that has continued to grow rapidly since its founding in 2012
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    Ms. Murata (front right), Ms. Kimura (rear left) and Mr. Kojima (rear right) of the ANA Group, and (left to right) Mr. Ishikawa, Dr. Izutsu and Ms. Okuhira of the Nippon Foundation Working Group
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    Back row left to right: Mr. Tanabe and Ms. Ikeda, whose work is to promote employment of persons with disabilities in the NTT Group. Front row left to right: Ms. Okuhira and Mr. Yamada from the Working Group, who gathered information for this article, a robot in the middle that is remotely controlled by employees with disabilities from their homes.
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    SoftBank staff and members of the Nippon Foundation Working Group
  • The 36th installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out from March 19 to 22 on the subject of “Juvenile Law Revisions.”
    The Cabinet has approved a bill that creates a separate designation for 18- and 19-year-olds, who were previously treated the same as younger juveniles in criminal matters. While continuing to be covered under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Act and related legislation, the proposed revisions expand the scope of crimes for which these “designated juveniles” can be tried as adults in criminal courts, and allow the media to disclose their names once they are indicted of these crimes. Currently, 18- and 19-year-olds can only be tried as adults for crimes committed with intent, and that lead to a victim’s death. The proposed revisions would add to this crimes that are punishable by imprisonment of at least one year, including robbery, rape, and arson.
    These proposed changes follow laws passed in 2015 that lowered Japan’s voting age to 18 from 20, and revisions to the Civil Code made in 2018 to lower the age of adulthood to 18 for things like marriage without parental consent and taking out loans and credit cards (the legal age for smoking, drinking alcohol, and legal gambling is set to remain at 20). Both the Civil Code revisions and the proposed juvenile law revisions would take effect from April 2022. The Nippon Foundation launched the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds in October 2018, with the Civil Code revisions lowering the age of adulthood as the subject of the first installment.
    The 36th installment found that 60% of respondents were either very familiar or vaguely aware of the juvenile law revisions, and 58% agreed with the expanded scope of crimes for which 18- and 19-year-olds can be tried as adults, while only 4% disagreed. In addition, more than 40% approved of news media being able to disclose the actual names and other information that would lead to the identity of 18- and 19-year-olds indicted for these crimes.