Recent Blogs Posts
- Sharing early spring from the Jerusalem office July 13, 2019
- Event Report: A meeting held to discuss the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas and the United Nations Decade of Family Farming July 10, 2019
- The photographer of the Year for the 2020 JVC Calendar has been chosen! June 23, 2019
- Are You Okay with Insects…? June 23, 2019
- TRIP DIARY TO KESENNUMA: What has an intern in active service learned from Kesennuma on natural disaster, international cooperation and life as it ought to be? June 18, 2019
Activities in Cambodia
High economic growth continues in Cambodia. Meanwhile the economic gap is widening between the people’s lives in urban and rural areas, where 90% of the poor live in the latter. Cambodia is the country where the reduction rate of forest is most accelerated in the world between 2001 and 2014. Large-scale development of farmland is under way, which produces many land problems throughout the country. Farmers suffer from land grabbing by companies or lose their land because of debts. They go to cities and get unstable jobs with low salaries. In order to resolve such poverty, it is necessary to establish stable life in rural areas.
Activities in Northeastern Thailand
The modernization of agriculture that has accompanied economic development has caused a decline in subsistence farming and increased debt issues for farmers. JVC has worked with Thai farmers and NGOs to create a market for organic produce based on regional-circulation. The number of Thai farmers practicing organic farming has slightly increased with regards to the whole Thai agricultural production as a result of the NGO’s activities. In addition, the type of production, quality, and quantity of production is steadily stabilizing. Currently, the activities of Thai organic production have shifted from providing technical guidance from producers to a stage of system construction involving the consumer.
Activities in Afghanistan
The security situation in the country is deteriorating. While the foreign military forces are withdrawing most of their troops from the country, the Taliban is expanding its power. Self-claimed “Islamic State” (IS) is also occupying some areas in the province where JVC is implementing its projects. The number of civilian casualties was the worst in 2016. Against this background, foreign forces, those of the United States in particular, are again increasing the number of their troops. While the international assistance is decreasing, the country is ranked at the worst level in terms of Human Development Index measured in three areas: health, education and income. Concerns have also been expressed with the declining economic growth and the high unemployment rate.
Activities in Sudan
The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 ended over 20 years of civil war in Sudan. South Sudan gained independence in 2011, dividing the country in two. However, this separation has not solved the challenges that existed before, and the security situation in parts of both countries has continued to be unstable. A largescale conflict between the Sudanese government and an anti-government group, SPLM/A-N, erupted in June 2011 in South Kordofan. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people have fled from the rural areas that have become battlefields. Temporary ceasefires declared by both the government and the anti-government forces have been continuing for more than a year, but the peace agreement has not been reached and evacuation life of IDPs has been prolonged.
Activities in Korea
The relationship between Japan and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) became deadlocked because of North Korea’s decision at the Party’s Assembly to pursue a “policy of parallel development” composed of nuclear development and economic growth. While the decision caused us to take precautions against its nuclear test and missile launch, the neighboring countries have not laid out an outline of comprehensive solutions. We, Japanese NGOs, have been continuing to do activities in order to connect citizens of both countries and contribute to stability and peace in the region of Northeast Asia where we are living.
Kesennuma, Miyagi-pref. (Great East Japan Earthquake)
In Kesennuma city of Miyagi prefecture, more than 1,000 lives were lost and approximately 9,500 houses were destroyed by the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in March 2011. Over 6 years have passed since the disaster, but 2,500 people are still forced to live uncomfortably in temporary houses. In August 2011, JVC opened a local office in Kesennuma city and has continued support activities to help the residents (some 280 households) confronted with numerous problems in rebuilding their lives.
Minamisoma, Fukushima-Pref. (Great East Japan Earthquake)
Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture was seriously affected by the earthquake,tsunami,and radioactive contamination disastars. In July 2016, designation of Odaka district as an evacuation zone was removed. Evacuees numbered 7,000 at a peak time, but have started to move away from temporary houses to new residences one after another. In addition, the demolition of temporary houses is increasing. As shown by the aftermath of the Great Hanshin Earthquake (1995), cases of so-called ‘solitary death (dying alone unnoticed)’ have started to occur in the city’s public housing where a feeling of isolation and loneliness tends to grow more and more serious among inhabitants.
Research and Advocacy
The economic aid and security policies of Japan and the other developed countries greatly affect the state of affairs that causes the widening of gap between the rich and poor, as well as affects the conflicts and environmental destruction in developing countries. JVC, in cooperation with other NGOs and local citizens, appeals to the Japanese government and companies conducting economic activities in developing countries to take into consideration social and environmental impacts. 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 through the reinforcement of military force. We continuously transmit information about shared problems with many Japanese citizens.