• On January 19, The Nippon Foundation launched the Tonga Emergency Relief Fund to support relief efforts in Tonga following a gigantic volcanic eruption of the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga-Haʻapai on January 15. The entire amount of donations made to the fund will be used for relief efforts being carried out by the Red Cross.

  • Photo of Yohei Sasakawa explaining the support program
    Yohei Sasakawa explaining the support program

    The Nippon Foundation announced today that it plans to provide humanitarian assistance for travel and living expenses of people who have been displaced from Ukraine, and who have family or acquaintances living in Japan and wish to reside in Japan. There are roughly 1,900 Ukrainian residents of Japan, and roughly 1,000 of their family members and acquaintances are expected to seek to come to Japan.

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

  • The Nippon Foundation DIVERSITY IN THE ARTS The 5th International Art Exhibition.Call for entries.Application Period: From June 15 (Wed) to June 30 (Thu), 2022

    “The Nippon Foundation DIVERSITY IN THE ARTS” is calling for entries for its 5th annual international art exhibition, an open-call exhibition for artists with disabilities inaugurated in 2018. Entry is open to artworks produced by people with disabilities who have not previously won awards.
    This project leverages the power of art to encourage interaction among all people, with or without disabilities, share the excitement and joy, and help people with disabilities discover their potential. To that end, the project is committed to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to engage in artistic activities, unearthing artistic talent, supporting activities of these artists, and broadly communicating the significance and value of diversity to all of society.
    The number of entries has been increasing every year. The open call for the 4th exhibition received 2,122 submissions from 10 countries. We are grateful to the more than 5,000 artists who have participated to date and to the many people who have expressed themselves in various ways and expanded their fields of activity through this open call for entries, and we look forward to another large turnout this year.

  • Photo of Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation.

    As part of its humanitarian assistance, The Nippon Foundation on April 26 announced that it would provide assistance to persons with disabilities who are still in Ukrainian war zones, and dispatch Japanese university student volunteers to assist persons with disabilities who have evacuated to neighboring countries.

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    NIWA’s vessel to be used for manned research

    The Nippon Foundation and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) announced on April 1 that they would conduct a joint survey of the area around the Hunga Tonga-Hunga-Haʻapai underwater volcano, which erupted in January 2022, and surrounding regions off the coast of Tonga.
    Surveys of the area around the underwater volcano since the eruption have yet to be carried out, and the extent of the damage and current situation are not known in detail. This will be the first joint international research since the eruption to visualize the situation in the affected areas of the ocean, and is intended to clarify the risks and provide information that can be used to prevent and mitigate damage from similar undersea volcanic eruptions in the future. The Nippon Foundation and NIWA plan to announce the results in July 2022.

  • The Nippon Foundation is providing assistance for travel expenses, daily living expenses, and home furnishing expenses to people who have evacuated from Ukraine to Japan. The details are as follows.

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    Clockwise from upper left, Mr. Suzuki, Mr. Ara and Ms. Ichikawa of Showa Denko’s Human Resource Department Diversity Promotion Group, and Ms. Okuhira of the Nippon Foundation Working Group

    Key Points in this Article

    • Showa Denko has launched a dedicated in-house “inclusion support site for people with disabilities” to promote diversity and inclusion (“D&I”)*
    • The leaders at the helm of the company give guidance and help bring about a major change in awareness within the company
    • Workshops and other activities have increased the number of supporters and created a movement across the entire company
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    Staff of Showa Denko K.K. and members of the Nippon Foundation Working Group

    Key Points in this Article

    • Showa Denko has set up a team to promote employment for persons with disabilities and create work that applies their special characteristics
    • Showa Denko intends to enhance the presence of persons with disabilities for the benefit of the company through their performance of “work that is essential” rather than “auxiliary work” of staff
    • With the stationing on site of job coaches, the company is working to create an environment where persons with or without disabilities can play vital roles in the workplace
  • Picture: Group photo of Nikkei Scholars (in front of the Monument of the LARA Supplies, which LARA supplies were supported by oversea Nikkei)

    Supporting Nikkei communities around the world for 50 years

    The Nippon Foundation began supporting Nikkei* communities in various countries in the 1970s as a tribute to the early generations of Japanese emigrants who overcame numerous hardships in other countries under emigration policies and who laid the foundation of today’s Nikkei communities. In addition to supporting the early generation of emigrants, The Nippon Foundation today also provides support for the education and development of the networks for the next generation of the Nikkei communities.

    • * Nikkei is a term that broadly refers to Japanese who emigrated from Japan to other countries to settle there permanently, and their descendants.
  • The 45th installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out from January 25 to 30 on the subject of “Lowering the Age of Adulthood.” The survey of 1,000 respondents in Japan found that although more than 90% were aware of the legal revisions taking effect April 1 that will lower the age of legal adulthood to 18 from 20 for a range of activities, only roughly 60% were aware of the specific provisions including 18-year-olds being able to conclude contracts and to marry without parental consent, and only 33% were aware that 18-year-olds could be selected as lay judges. In addition, 36% of respondents felt that the legal age for being able to conclude contracts should be raised.

  • Photo of Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, speaking at the press conference

    The Nippon Foundation and the Satoumi Research Institute held a joint press conference on March 17 to announce the latest findings of The Nippon Foundation Ocean Acidification Adaptation Project, launched in April 2020 for the purpose of identifying the situation regarding the increasing acidification of the ocean in Japan’s coastal areas and its effect on the fishing industry. Focusing on farmed oysters, one of Japan’s most important aquaculture products, data was recorded at three locations in Japan (Miyagi, Okayama, and Hiroshima) over 18 months. The press conference was to announce the results of that data analysis, including the actual effect of acidification and future projections under a warming scenario.

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    Mr. Tomohiro Shiota (left) of the UNIQLO Sales Department Store Policy Team and Diversity Promotion Team, and Ms. Masako Okuhira, The Nippon Foundation Working Group
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    Fast Retailing staff and members of the Nippon Foundation Working Group
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    The amphibious car-vessel used in the demonstration test

    The world’s first demonstration test of a fully autonomous amphibious vessel was successfully carried out at Yanba Dam in Gunma Prefecture on March 14. The test was part of The Nippon Foundation MEGURI2040 Fully Autonomous Ship Program, which is developing navigation and obstacle avoidance systems and other technologies that are expected to contribute to greater ship safety.

  • Photograph of the container ship SUZAKU
    The container ship SUZAKU

    The fifth demonstration test of The Nippon Foundation MEGURI2040 Fully Autonomous Ship Program, of a fully autonomous container ship and its Fleet Operation Center for emergency monitoring and operation, was successfully carried out between Tokyo Bay and Ise Bay from February 26 to March 1. The test, using the container ship SUZAKU, demonstrated for the first time the use of a comprehensive fully autonomous navigation system (including remote control and land support) for a container ship operating in a congested sea area.

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    The Mikage

    The third and fourth demonstration tests of The Nippon Foundation MEGURI2040 Fully Autonomous Ship Program, launched by The Nippon Foundation in February 2020 through support for five consortia, were successfully carried out in late January and early February. Fully autonomous navigation is expected to help address numerous maritime issues including crew shortages and accident prevention, and also holds potential as a “future industry” that can demonstrate to the world Japan’s advanced technologies in areas like artificial intelligence, information and communications technology, and image analysis.

  • The 44th installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out from December 10 to 15, 2021, on the subject of “Menstrual Issues.” The survey was intended to examine young men and women’s level of understanding of inconveniences in daily life and economic effects of menstruation. The survey found that many young people feel the subject is not sufficiently understood, with only 40% of women and 18% of men feeling that they had sufficient knowledge themselves, and 74% of women and 61% of men replying that men need to know more about menstruation. Roughly half of both men and women replied that classes in school were their main source of information on the subject, but less than 30% of all respondents were satisfied with the amount and content of those classes. The top replies for what they wanted schools to teach were menstruation-related medical products (70% of women) and considerations for women while they are menstruating (56% of men).
    Inconveniences in daily life included insufficient sanitary products in public places and wanting to or having to miss or leave school classes or extracurricular activities early. There is also a psychological burden from insufficient understanding or consideration by others, including not being able to tell teachers or other persons in authority that one does not feel well, or having those persons not understand that one does not feel well. In addition, 15% of women replied that they could not purchase sanitary products, or replaced them less frequently or used substitute items, during the past year for economic reasons. Dissatisfaction with the economic burden caused by menstruation was also highlighted, with 72% of women (and 52% of men) replying that sanitary products should be subject to a reduced consumption tax rate and 63% of women replying that sanitary products should be made available for free in places like public restrooms.

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    Figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu (ⒸPHOTO KISHIMOTO)

    Yuzuru Hanyu’s historic run for third consecutive title

    The first athlete to come to mind is figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu. His attempt to win a third consecutive men’s single title has attracted global interest, with many media outlets in Europe and the United States covering him and further raising expectations. Although many people were concerned when he sat out for part of this season because of an ankle injury, he competed in the Japan national championships at the end of last year. His freestyle routine in Beijing is said to include a quad axel (quadruple and a half jump), and if he successfully completes this move and wins gold, he will be only the third person in history and the first in more than 80 years to win three consecutive individual gold medals in figure skating. The previous three-time consecutive gold medalists were Gillis Grafström, who won gold medals for Sweden in the men’s event in 1920 at the Antwerp Summer Olympics, in 1924 at the first Winter Olympics (Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France), and in 1928 (St. Moritz, Switzerland), and Norwegian women’s singles gold medalist Sonja Henie, who won in 1928, 1932 (Lake Placid, New York), and 1936 (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany), and went on to become a famous actor. In those early days of the sport, the emphasis was more on skating, while today’s routines are defined more by jumps of increasing difficulty like the quad axel.

    Nathan Chen of the United States is seen as Mr. Hanyu’s main challenger, while the other Japanese men’s figure skaters to watch are 2018 silver medalist Shoma Uno, and Yuma Kagiyama, who has shown remarkable progress this season.

  • 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.

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    The 1972 Winter Olympics downhill skiing course on Mount Eniwa ⒸPHOTO KISHIMOTO

    Mount Eniwa is a volcanic mountain directly south of the city of Sapporo in Hokkaido, with a peak elevation of 1,320 meters. Overlooking Sapporo from its summit, the mountain attracted the world’s attention in 1972 when Sapporo hosted the Winter Olympics, the first time the Winter Games were held in Asia. As the initially planned Mount Teine did not have a sufficient vertical drop for holding the alpine skiing events, the decision was made to move these events to Mount Eniwa.

  • The Nippon Foundation and Osaka University today announced that the building to house The Nippon Foundation – Osaka University Infectious Disease Project will have an elliptical shape to evoke an image of “Spaceship Earth,” with the design overseen by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando to incorporate a sense of bringing together top researchers from around the world in a collaborative endeavor.

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    Tadao Ando’s conceptual design for the research center at Osaka University (photo: Osaka University)
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    (From left) Osaka University President Shojiro Nishio, Tadao Ando, and The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa
  • The 43rd installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out from November 12 to 16 on the subject of “International and Multicultural Coexistence.” The survey was intended to examine young people’s interest in countries other than Japan, and their perception of non-Japanese persons including children living in Japan.
    The survey found that while 41% of respondents were interested in studying abroad,1 of those respondents 32% said that their interest had diminished as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, clearly showing that the pandemic has had a negative effect on young people’s desire to be internationally engaged. Specifically, only 7% of respondents had studied abroad or had plans or hoped to study abroad, suggesting that young people’s interest needs to be encouraged. The survey also showed that young people are experiencing a diverse environment during their years of compulsory education, with between 21% and 33% replying that there were children with non-Japanese backgrounds2 in their class or grade during elementary or junior high school. This was reflected in roughly 60% of respondents replying that the same education, health care, and social welfare available to which they had access should be provided to these children regardless of nationality, far surpassing the roughly 10% who disagreed. In particular, those who had studied or were interested in studying abroad showed a higher tendency to respond affirmatively, suggesting a close correlation between having experienced or being interested in international exchange and receptiveness toward diversity.

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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, 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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    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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    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.”