• Working Together to Give Children Opportunities and Possibilities

    Thinking, supporting, and rearing together. 
    These are the goals of The Nippon Foundation’s Kids Support Project. 
    We are working to connect people, knowledge, and activity, 
    to create a society in which “everyone helps to raise everyone’s children.”

  • The Nippon Foundation, established in 1962, has been involved in activities to support disabled people in Japan and around the world for more than 50 years. In the course of working together with disabled people we have learned that removing the obstacles that prevent their equal participation paves the way for everyone – with or without a disability – to demonstrate their full potential.

  • Photo of a group of children in Myanmar

    The Nippon Foundation’s activities in Myanmar began in 1976 with medical support for persons affected by leprosy, and over the years since then we have engaged in roughly 70 projects in the country. Since 2011 we have focused on peace-building initiatives in tandem with the government’s moves toward democratization.

  • Photo of relief activity in a damaged area

    First, look at the big picture and understand the situation on the ground – this is The Nippon Foundation’s guiding principle when responding to disasters.
    Our work starts before disasters strike, with simulations and human resource development across Japan, working together with governments, local communities, NGOs, medical institutions, and companies.
    When a disaster does strike, we work quickly to understand the real situation in the affected area, and deliver the support that is needed to where it is needed.

  • In cooperation with Salzburg Global Seminar, The Nippon Foundation is delighted to announce the “Call for applications for the Asia Peace Innovators Forum.”

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    True Colors Festival logo

    The Tokyo portion of the True Colors Festival, which exhibits the diverse abilities of artists with disabilities, begins this month and will last through July 2020, to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The first event was held in November 2006 in Vientiane, Laos, as a festival for artists with disabilities. Since then, it has grown in terms of both size and content, and for the upcoming series the term “disability” has been removed from the name. Under the banner of “True Colors,” the arts festival will emphasize the goal of an inclusive society in which everyone can participate, regardless of whether or not they have a disability, or their sexual orientation or gender identity, age, language, or nationality.

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    ImpacTech founders Yoav Elgrichi (left) and Kineret Karin (right) with The Nippon Foundation’s Hayato Hanaoka (center)

    ImpacTech is a startup accelerator founded in 2015 and based in Singapore, with additional operations in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Japan. Together with The Nippon Foundation, it recently held The Nippon Foundation Social Change Makers, a four-month program for Japanese startups looking to make a social impact. Founders Kineret Karin and Yoav Elgrichi recently sat down with Hayato Hanaoka of The Nippon Foundation to discuss the program and social startups in Japan.

  • The 17th installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out in late July on the theme of the “Consumption Tax.” Japan’s consumption tax (similar to other countries’ sales tax or value-added tax) rate rose to 10% from 8% for most items effective October 1 (with the 8% rate remaining in place for certain designated items). The results, announced on August 29, showed that more than one-fourth of respondents felt the 10% rate was appropriate or that the rate should be higher, while close to half of the respondents felt the rate should be kept at 8% or lower, and roughly 10% thought the consumption tax should be eliminated entirely.

    The results of the 18th installment, on the theme of “Work,” were announced on September 17 and showed that more than half of respondents have decided on a field in which they want to work, with the top choices being civil servant, company employee, and IT-related. The survey also showed that roughly one-fourth of respondents want to work in a major city in Japan, roughly one-fourth want to work in a regional city in Japan, and slightly less than 5% want to work overseas. In addition, slightly more than half of respondents intend to give priority to their personal life over their work, and slightly more than one-third want to spend their entire career at the same company.

  • Share the pain. Share the hope. Share the future.

    Our mission is social innovation.

    Through this innovation we aim to achieve a society where all people support one another, reducing the burdens and challenges they face together.

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    Signing the MOC with JICA (from left): Shinichi Kitaoka, President of JICA, Hiroshi Kato, Senior Vice President of JICA, Ruth Oniang’o, Chairperson of SAA, and Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation

    The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), an international conference led by the Japanese government to support economic development in Africa, was held on August 28-30 at Pacifico Yokohama in Yokohama. As an official side event, the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), which is supported by The Nippon Foundation, held a symposium titled “Sasakawa in Africa – Building on the past, looking to the future; Africa’s youth and entrepreneurship in agriculture” on August 28. The symposium focused on the serious problem of growing youth unemployment in Africa, and the possibilities now offered by agriculture.

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    Fukushi Gakudan’s Koisuru-Buta Laboratory is surrounded by nature. In the foreground is a field of sweet potatoes planted by the Laboratory

    Established in 2001, Fukushi Gakudan (Social Welfare Orchestra) operates nursing homes (legally designated as “intensive care homes for the elderly”) and centers providing daytime services in Chiba and Saitama prefectures. Daisuke Iida, Fukushi Gakudan’s managing director, originally had no interest in social welfare.

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    Group photo of athletes who participated in HEROs PARA-SPORTS DAY 2019 at The Nippon Foundation Para Arena

    With roughly one year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, HEROs PARA-SPORTS DAY 2019 was held on July 8 at The Nippon Foundation Para Arena in Tokyo. The event was part of The Nippon Foundation’s “HEROs Sportsmanship for the future” project, which seeks to bring together currently active and retired athletes to build a framework for creating social bonds across Japan.

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    The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa (standing, fourth from right) with cosplayers of various nationalities

    In recent years, cosplay has spread beyond Japan to become an activity that is popular around the world. On June 8, cosplayers from Japan and other countries gathered at Tokyo Tower in central Tokyo, dressed as characters from anime (Japanese-style animation), manga (Japanese-style comics), and video games to participate in the “Nationwide Cleanup Campaign by domestic and foreign cosplayers at Tokyo Tower,” as part of The Nippon Foundation’s Change for the Blue program. A total of 430 cosplayers, including representatives of countries including Italy, Mexico, and Taiwan, collected roughly 90 bags (2,700 liters) of trash in the area around Tokyo Tower.

  • The 15th installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out in late May and early June with a theme of “National Elections.” The results, announced on June 27, showed that roughly half of respondents of voting age planned to vote in the July 21 House of Councillors (the upper house of Japan’s national legislature) election, and of those who planned to vote, roughly 60% said they would cast their vote based on the candidates’ policies, while roughly 20% would vote based on political party.

    The results of the 16th installment, on the theme of the “Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” announced on July 22, showed that close to 70% of respondents are looking forward to the Olympics, Paralympics, or both. The events in which respondents were most interested were aquatics, followed by the opening ceremony and athletics for the Olympics, and wheelchair basketball, followed by the opening ceremony and wheelchair tennis for the Paralympics.

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    Entrance to the LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE exhibition

    The LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE exhibition, with a theme of “To Love is To Create,” was held at the Tokyo Midtown complex in central Tokyo from July 14 to 16. This was a preliminary event to promote the LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Exhibition being planned for the summer of 2020, to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

  • The Nippon Foundation will hold a ceremony in Tatkone Sanpra Baptist Church relocation camp to mark the completion of shelters for IDPs in Myitkyina, Kachin state. 32 households currently living in a temporary camp will be located to a commodious land and will receive vocational training.

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    The Imphal Peace Museum on Red Hill

    This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Imphal, one of the fiercest battles of World War II. With support from The Nippon Foundation, the Imphal Peace Museum has opened on the site of the battle, with an opening ceremony held on June 22 and attended by representatives of India, Japan, and Britain.

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    View of the Imphal Peace Museum, scheduled to open on June 22

    The Nippon Foundation is asking for documents related to the Battle of Imphal and has begun accepting donations to support the operation of the Imphal Peace Museum.

    This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Imphal, which was one of the fiercest battles of World War II and is also said to have later played a role in India’s independence movement. Despite the historic significance of this battle, few people living in the area today are familiar with that history and related documents have been lost. The museum seeks to pass on this history to future generations.

    The Nippon Foundation is supporting the Manipur Tourism Forum’s construction of a museum in Imphal in the state of Manipur, which is scheduled to open June 22, 2019, with a theme of “Peace and Reconciliation.” The museum is asking for donations of documents and other related items so that they can be exhibited and stored there.

  • The worldwide movement to eliminate leprosy has been enjoying considerable success since MDT was endorsed by the WHO in 1981. The Nippon Foundation has been instrumental in this success, to the point that in 2001 WHO asked Yohei Sasakawa, our chairman, to be its Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination.

  • The 13th installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out in early April with a theme of “Japan’s Constitution.” The results, announced on April 25, showed that fewer than 40% of respondents are “familiar” with the Constitution. At the same time, more than 70% responded that they know the Constitution’s three underlying principles of pacifism, popular sovereignty, and the guarantee of fundamental human rights, but fewer than 60% feel that these principles are functioning in today’s society.

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    The winning GEBCO-Nippon Foundation Alumni Team

    The GEBCO-Nippon Foundation Alumni Team (the “GEBCO-NF Team”), comprising mostly graduates of an international scholarship program operated by The Nippon Foundation, has won the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, an international competition in deep-sea exploration technology. The award, which includes a prize of US$4 million, was presented at a ceremony in Monaco on May 31.

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    Standing together at the podium (from left to right): Teruo Fujii, executive vice president, University of Tokyo, Makoto Gonokami, president, University of Tokyo, Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman, The Nippon Foundation, Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director, The Nippon Foundation

    Bringing together The Nippon Foundation’s project implementation capabilities and the University of Tokyo’s research capabilities, a signing ceremony was held on May 14 at the Ito International Research Center at the University of Tokyo to mark the launch of The Nippon Foundation – University of Tokyo Ocean Debris Project to tackle the continuously increasing amount of ocean debris.

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    Group photo of ambassadors including Hidetoshi Nakata (second from left) and The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa (far left)

    Athletes can demonstrate sportsmanship when they are not competing.
    Sportsmanship also means proactively working to create bonds and assist society.
    Nevertheless, athletes’ activities outside sporting events receive little attention, and not all athletes engage in these activities.

  • Photo of ships passing through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore

    A Cooperative Framework for Maintaining Safety in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore

    Roughly one third of the world’s crude oil and more than 80% of Japan’s oil imports pass through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Ensuring the safe passage of ships in these waters, with their many narrow and shallow spots, is a task that exceeds the capabilities of the three littoral countries bordering the Straits. Recognizing this, The Nippon Foundation has been working for more than four decades to help enhance the safety and protect the natural environment of these waters.

  • Leprosy is a disease that has created severe stigma and discrimination since the beginning of recorded history. The Nippon Foundation, based in Tokyo, has been engaged in activities to eliminate leprosy around the world for 50 years. In recognition of his leading contribution to these activities, The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize by the government of India in 2018, and was decorated with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, conferred by the Japanese Emperor in May 2019.

    Subsequently, the book “No Matter Where the Journey Takes Me: One Man’s Quest for a Leprosy-Free World” has been published by Hurst Publishers.*
    Mr. Sasakawa, who also serves as WHO Goodwill Embassador for Leprosy Elimination, has travelled extensively to many leprosy-affected regions including India, Africa, Brazil, and remote islands. This book records those experiences, as well as dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church.
    To commemorate the publication of this book, the Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation will jointly hold the event outlined below.

  • Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, was decorated with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun at the 2019 spring awards ceremony, the first to be held since the ascension of Emperor Naruhito and the commencement of the Reiwa Era on May 1. The Orders of the Rising Sun are Japan’s first award, established in 1875 to recognize politicians and members of the private sector who have made outstanding achievements to society in a variety of fields. This year, Mr. Sasakawa is among eight persons receiving the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun. The awards were conferred by the Emperor at the Imperial Palace on May 23.

  • Photo of a smallholder farmer with children in rural Africa, holding a harvested cassava
    Through the Sasakawa Africa Association, we provide technical guidance, fertilizers, and seeds to create a value chain that boosts yields and increases the incomes of smallholder farmers.

    The Nippon Foundation’s agricultural assistance in Africa began in response to the severe famine in Ethiopia in 1984. To counter the worst stage of the famine, emergency supplies were being airlifted from London, but this only provided temporary relief. Searching for a fundamental way of resolving Africa’s food problems, Ryoichi Sasakawa, the chairman of The Nippon Foundation at the time, firmly believed that more than “giving a fish,” the important thing is “to teach how to fish.”

  • The Nippon Foundation Para Athlete Scholarship program aims to cultivate athletes with disabilities who can be expected to compete at the Paralympic, Olympic, or similar global level, and a ceremony was held on April 16 at Nippon Sport Science University’s (NSSU) Tokyo Setagaya Campus to present scholarships to the third group of 11 recipients.

    Yohei Sasakawa offers words of encouragement to the scholarship recipients
  • Photo showing wheelchair athletes at the Paralympic Games.

    The Paralympic Games

    Held every four years since 1960, the Paralympic Games are a major international sporting event for athletes with impairments. Approximately 4,200 athletes from 164 countries and regions, including Japan, participated in the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the 14th time the event was held.

  • An internal seminar for The Nippon Foundation staff was held at the Foundation’s headquarters in Tokyo on April 10. Dr. James L. Huffman, H. Orth Hirt Professor of History Emeritus at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, in the United States was invited to speak, and chose as his topic, “Bad Leaders, Dynamic Nation: Lessons from Japanese History.” The seminar was held in English to give Foundation staff an opportunity to use and improve their English skills in an informal setting apart from their ordinary work.

    Dr. James L. Huffman
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    The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa (left) and Channing Bi (right) at the signing

    The Nippon Foundation has received a $1 million (approximately ¥110 million) donation from Channing Bi, a businessman and native of China, and on April 15 the Foundation and Mr. Bi signed a memorandum of understanding for the projects to be carried out using this gift.
    Mr. Bi chose The Nippon Foundation as the recipient of this donation in recognition of its activities inside and outside Japan over many years, and the successes produced by Japan – China exchange programs through The Sasakawa Japan-China Friendship Fund. The Foundation plans to use this donation to train young people to introduce a fusion of Eastern culture and Western science to the next generation, and for cultural exchange and other projects between Japan and China

    After the signing, Mr. Bi discussed his thoughts about the projects to be carried out with the donation.
    “I hope for closer ties between Japan and China. Promoting exchange will deepen mutual understanding. The Nippon Foundation has an extensive track record in Japan – China exchange, and I made this donation so that it could be used for one of these types of programs.
    I have brought my family with me on this trip to Japan, and I hope that when my children get older, they will participate in exchanges between the two countries. I also want to support research that fuses Buddhism and the natural sciences. This donation is just a beginning, and I hope to continue this effort going forward.”
    The Nippon Foundation will make further announcements as specific projects are finalized.

  • The 11th installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out in late February, nearly eight years after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake struck northeastern Japan in March 2011. The theme was “Disaster Response,” and the results, announced on March 5, showed that close to 80% of respondents said that the many natural disasters in recent years make them feel uneasy, and of those, roughly 70% said that this was Japan is a country that is prone to natural disasters. More than 80% of respondents felt that the national government’s disaster response measures are “insufficient,” and indicated that those measures would not be fully able to address a large number of greater-than-anticipated disasters.

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    The oneri proceeding down Harajuku’s crowded Takeshita-dori

    A Bunraku oneri was held along Takeshita-dori in Harajuku, Tokyo, on March 8, creating a buzz of excitement throughout the district with this “unique partnership” bringing together the latest young people’s culture and the traditional performing art of Bunraku. An oneri is a procession by actors to announce a series of performances, and is usually associated with Kabuki theater. This oneri was held to announce the seventh set of performances of the Nippon Bunraku Project, which began on March 9 on a specially built, portable outdoor stage at the entrance to the grounds of Meiji Shrine near Harajuku Station. Kiritake Kanjuro, one of the participating puppeteers, commented, “The excitement among the young people and tourists from overseas was greater than I expected.”

  • The results of the ninth installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, were announced on February 14, 2019. Under the theme of the “National Debt,” the survey was carried out in late January and nearly two-thirds of respondents were not aware that Japan’s national debt is now more than ¥1,000 trillion. Roughly 30% of respondents disapproved of budgets being formulated on the assumption that debt will be incurred, and half felt that the reason for national and local government debt was that politicians did not make sufficient efforts to balance budgets. To address budget shortfalls, slightly more than one-third of respondents replied that outlays should be reduced, while almost half replied that revenue, including through taxes, should be increased. In addition, more than 70% of respondents said that the government’s finances make them feel “concerned about Japan’s future.”

  • The results of the seventh installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, were announced on January 7, 2019. The theme was “Coming of Age Ceremony,” and the survey found that roughly 70% of respondents want to attend their Coming of Age Ceremony while roughly 30% do not. In addition, roughly three-fourths of respondents want the age for Coming of Age Ceremony attendance to remain at 20 (despite the age of adulthood for voting, marrying without parental consent, taking out loans, etc. having been lowered to 18), with the top reason being that having the ceremony at age 18 would interfere with their college and university entrance exam preparations.

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    The Nippon Foundation’s The Power of Sports Photography exhibition

    The Nippon Foundation and Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward are jointly holding The Power of Sports Photography exhibition until April 25. Roughly one and a half years before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the exhibition aims to raise interest in the Games by giving a greater sense of the attractiveness of sports. The photographs being exhibited consist mainly of 74 photographs that were winners or selected from the SSF World Sports Photo Contest held by the Sasakawa Sports Foundation from 1995 to 2004, and from “GO Journal – A magazine to shake up the future with Para sports,” organized by The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center with photographer and film director Mika Ninagawa as creative director.

  • Minister of the Environment Yoshiaki Harada and The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa announced on February 18 the launch of a joint project to address the increasingly serious problem of “ocean debris,” consisting primarily of drifting plastic waste (umigomi in Japanese; umi = ocean, gomi = waste, trash). The project is intended to demonstrate Japan’s initiatives as an ocean country to the rest of the world, and will include large-scale beach cleanup activities nationwide during UMIGOMI Zero WEEK, from the informally designated “Zero Litter Day” on May 30 (Gomi Zero no Hi; a play on the Japanese pronunciation of 5-3-0) to World Oceans Day on June 8.

    The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa (left) and Minister of the Environment Yoshiaki Harada (right)
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    The full-sized Bunraku stage that was set up at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo

    Taking a new look at Japanese culture

    The Nippon Bunraku project aims to broaden the appeal of Bunraku puppet theater, a unique, traditional Japanese art, and to remind people of the value of Japanese culture. The project involves the construction of a full-sized Bunraku stage made of Japanese cypress, at a cost of roughly 100 million yen, which will be used to stage performances around Japan until the Olympic and Paralympic Games are held in Tokyo in 2020.

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    A Nippon Bunraku performance held at Ise Shrine in March 2017

    The Nippon Foundation held a press conference yesterday, February 6,  at its headquarters in Tokyo, to announce a series of Bunraku puppet theater performances – Nippon Bunraku in Meiji Shrine – at Meiji Shrine in Harajuku, Tokyo, in March.
    Bunraku is one of Japan’s representative traditional performing arts, and The Nippon Foundation launched the Nippon Bunraku project in 2014 to promote awareness of Bunraku’s value. Beginning with Roppongi Hills in Tokyo in March 2015, performances have been held in six locations to date, and are scheduled to continue until 2020. The March performances will be held in front of the Ichi-no-Torii entrance to the Meiji Shrine grounds, near Harajuku Station.
    Seating for each performance will be limited to roughly 120 persons, enabling everyone in the audience to watch the performance up close. The stage was specifically built for this project from Japanese cypress at a cost of roughly ¥100 million, and can be knocked down and reassembled but is roughly the same size as a standard, permanent Bunraku stage. Audience members at Nippon Bunraku performances are encouraged to bring food and drink to enjoy the performance in a leisurely atmosphere. To allow even more people to enjoy this set of performances, there will also be a standing-room section allowing people to watch without buying a ticket, and the length of each performance has been shortened to roughly one hour.
    The location is at the edge of the grounds of the tranquil forest surrounding Meiji Shrine, across the Yamanote train line from Harajuku, a center of the latest fashion and culture. Holding performances at this intersection of traditional and modern culture will breathe new life into the classic art of Bunraku.

  • The Nippon Foundation on February 9 concluded an agreement with the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) to become a Tokyo 2020 Official Contributor.

    Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori (left), The Nippon Foundation Executive Director Jumpei Sasakawa (right)