Research and Advocacy

Program background

Japanese and international economic aid and security policies greatly affect the state of affairs that causes the widening gap between rich and poor, as well as affects the conflicts and environmental destruction in developing countries. JVC is thus cooperating with other NGOs and local citizens in appealing to the Japanese government and companies conducting economic activities in developing countries for social and environmental concerns to be taken into account when aid and business projects are implemented. We also make proposals to international bodies and governments based on our experiences with the goal of building a peaceful society in which problems are solved through dialogue rather than reinforcement of military force. We continuously transmit information and share problems with a number of Japanese citizens.

Palestine

Joint candlelight walk by NGOs on the memorial day of the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip

On the occasion of the memorial days of the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip in 2014, JVC organized an event and demonstration together with other NGOs working in Palestine. We have translated the report on the Gaza War by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and published it in a series on our website as “Report from our activity area”. We have sent four people in charge of the Gaza project to the West Bank of the Jordan River in order to attend a conference. We have investigated Israeli NGOs, which support Palestine, by making interviews to ten organizations. We are now finding a way to cooperate with the aforementioned Israeli NGO. When Japanese Diet members made a visit to Palestine, we directly conveyed to them our opinion against the security bills. As for domestic activities in Japan, we have organized 47 events of lectures, reporting sessions, and study meetings. We have published six articles in specialized journals.

Afghanistan

JVC is a member of the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief and Development (ACBAR), a network NGO in Afghanistan. One of our local staff serves as a member of its Steering Committee. ACBAR made statements of protest against the continuing con icts and incidents, which victimize and cause great damage to citizens and NGO staff. It includes the American Air Force’s bombardment of the hospital run by an NGO. JVC has steadily posted information on the present situation of Afghanistan on its website, including the suicide attacks which killed villagers in our activity area and some family members and relatives of JVC staff. We also held report meetings when the Afghan staff visited Japan. We are regularly updating our website in order to spread information about Afghanistan in Japan. There was an incident where Chairman of Afghan NGOs’ Coordination Bureau (ANCB), one of our partnership organizations in Afghanistan, was kidnapped in Pakistan. JVC asked for the cooperation of concerned bodies, which nally led to him being safely released. When the international conference on the reconstruction of Afghanistan was held, nine Japanese NGOs including JVC submitted a letter of proposal to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and had a discussion.

ODA-Related Activities

1. Proposal on the Large-Scale Agricultural Development in Mozambique

JVC staff interviews a local farmer during a joint investigation of ProSAVANA targeted area together with a local NGO in Mozambique

The “Program of Triangular Cooperation for Agricultural Devel- opment of the Tropical Savannah in Mozambique (ProSAVANA)” is going on, which covers an area of roughly 11 million hectares (more than twice the cultivated area in Japan) in the Mozambican northern provinces. JVC believes that ProSAVANA has been cre- ated to support Japanese and Brazilian corporations in expanding their business opportunities in Africa rather than to meet the needs of local farmers. JVC has raised questions on this program which has many problems in regards to its objectives and trans- parency, and has asked the Japanese government to reconsider. The situation has gotten worse, as local farmers continue to suffer violations of their human rights. In order to protect the rights for food and land of farmers, JVC has continued to perform eld surveys in cooperation with the farmers and advocated on this matter.

2. NGO- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Regular Meeting

The NGO-MOFA regular meeting on ODA policy is a forum for NGOs and MOFA to exchange opinions. It holds four regular meetings and an ad hoc meeting in a year. In the 2015 meetings, Taniyama (JVC President and the chairman of JANIC) and Taka- hashi (JVC Research and Advocacy Of cer and a member of the ODA Reform Network) served as coordinators. The discussions mainly focused on the “Proactive Contribution to Peace”, which is promoted by the present government, and the prevention of con icts in Africa.

3. Development Project Accountability Committee

The “Development Project Accountability Committee” is held six times a year in order to help the effective implementation of ODA projects and improve their transparency. This year JVC Research and Advocacy Officer Takahashi attend-ed the committees. Discussions were mostly about projects on infrastructure. However, the discussions were not enough to propose revisions or interruption of the projects. Some improvements were made on the management system of the committee.

Proposal Concerning the Security-related Bills

JVC staff makes speech against the security bills in a demonstration in front of the National Diet

Based on the experiences gained from its project sites, JVC advocated against the government’s proposal on the security-related bills, which were discussed in the National Diet in the summer of 2015. JVC has published a book entitled “What will ‘Proactive Contribution to Peace’ bring about in the place of con icts?” in August 2015. The book was edited by JVC president Taniyama, summarizing various experiences obtained in places of con ict. Simultaneously, in cooperation with other NGOs, JVC has launched “NGO No War Net”, a network of NGOs, which act against the security-related bills. Shirakawa, the JVC staff in charge of the Minamisoma program, joined the network as a member of the executive committee. “NGO No War Net” and JVC staff including those from overseas project sites made appeals to the public and media, for example, in a demonstration in front of the National Diet. JVC announced in September the “International joint statement against the security-related bills”, which was signed by about 360 organizations both from Japan and other countries. Through these actions JVC has made proposals for reconsideration, repeal, or suspension of the security-related bills.

Proposal Concerning the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets (SDS)

In April 2014, JVC president Taniyama founded the “Japan NGO Action Network on the Security Law (NANSL)” as the chairman of Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation(JANIC) in cooperation with other NGOs in order to take actions against SDS. NANSL is composed of eight network NGOs in Japan. It lobbied the government to disclose information about the security-related bills and to not strengthen their monitoring of NGOs.

Proposal Concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

JVC began taking action in June 2015 to get approval of the citizens on the “Request for transparency in the negotiation, discussion, and consideration of TPP” and submitted the request to the headquarters of the Cabinet Secretariat for TPP in November 2015. We held a report meeting for the request at the of ce of the Diet members of the House of Representatives. Kato, the JVC member in charge of the Afghanistan program, visited Mexico in July 2015 in order to investigate the influences on Mexican farmers of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a precedent for the TPP. The investigation was summarized in a documentary film that depicts the lives of Mexican people under NAFTA. The film is now showing in many places in Japan.

Statements in 2015

  • Request for the disclosure of the first draft of the master plan for ProSAVANA and appeal of the procedure of dialogue (April)
  • Official statement on the procedure of public hearing of the draft zero of the master plan for ProSAVANA (May)
  • Statement by citizens on the occasion of the 70th year since the end of World War II in cooperation with the “Relief Campaign Committee for Children, Japan (RCCJ)” (August)
  • Protest statement against the vote of security- related bills in cooperation with the “NGO No War Net” (September)
  • Press release: “ACBAR strongly condemns recent attacks on humanitarian aid workers, facilities and civilians in Kunduz, Afghanistan” (October)

(source: “JVC Annual Report – 2015 report”)

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