Issue 21

Winter 2017

Infrastructure around the world has, over the years, gone through many changes and has either improved or depreciated in different countries across the globe. Large-scale infrastructure is a must-have for any economy to function properly and competitively. Such infrastructure needs to be maintained and updated for a country’s economy to run smoothly.

Japan seems to lead the way in regards to not only infrastructure but real estate as well. With the rising number of foreigners settling in Japan, the country is learning to adapt to not only the needs of the clientele but to their safety as well. So what sets it apart and makes its building methods unique to those from around the world?

The Christmas tree project, spearheaded by Seijun Nishihata, CEO of Sora Botanical Garden project is a good example of state-of-the-art infrastructures. In December 2017, his company planted the world’s tallest largest Christmas tree in Kobe, an achievement only made possible by having access to advanced infrastructures such as cranes, efficient seaports and of course exemplary roads.

Seijun Nishihata—The Greatest Christmas Tree Project in Kobe

JAPAN and the WORLD interviewed Mr. Seijun Nishihata to find out more about his passion, his work and his philosophy.

COVER STORY | Infrastructure


Infrastructure—Building the Path to Tokyo 2020

In his 2017-2018 budget, Abe Shinzo’s ministers budget demands skyrocketed to over $900 billion, a record high figure, from which 7% will be dedicated to infrastructure spending. These investments are made with hopes of steering Japan away from deflation and invigorate its sluggish economy. Playing a key role in the Abenomics, the infrastructure plan is best understood as a means to spur growth in Japan as well as in the region, as Abe recently pledged nearly $9 billion in investment in Philippines alone. The fund will support projects like the expansion of naval ports, airports and enhance public transit in urban and regional areas.


Philippines—Japan’s Great Seduction

During a recent visit to Japan, President of Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, consolidated a flourishing relationship between Philippines and Japan. “The frequency of interaction [between him and Abe] is friendship that goes beyond official lines’’, Duterte warmly reminded in a speech delivered during the Joint Press Statement at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo. The thawing of this relationship, though, isn’t trivial. It comes at a great cost for Japan, who pledged ¥1 trillion (roughly $8.8 billion) in aid to the Philippines over the next five years to spur the economic growth of the country.


Iwatani Corporation—Aims to Realize Japan’s “Hydrogen Society”

Japan aims at transforming the country into a “hydrogen society” with projects of promoting the widespread adoption of hydrogen energy. Iwatani Corporation is playing an important role in these initiatives, through its involvement in the establishment of hydrogen fueling stations, and also as a leading hydrogen manufacturer. We talked to Mr. Jun Miyazaki, Executive Managing Officer and General Manager of Iwatani R&D Center about the research and development work that is contributing to the global development of hydrogen energy, and about 75 years of Iwatani’s involvement with hydrogen.


The Belt and Road Initiative—All Roads Lead to Beijing

The 21st century has been projected to become the “Asian Century”, a period characterized by the economic and geopolitical dominance of Asian Countries. This prediction, however, is proving to be a misnomer especially since China’s launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which could make the “Chinese Century” a more fitting term.



Time-Travel through Infrastructure

Infrastructure is an umbrella term that refers to services and facilities that are vital to living standards and economies all over the world. This issue’s Around the World segment on infrastructure is also a timeline of human civilization. Some of the projects featured are more impressive than practical while others serve basic needs. There are still many parts of the world that lack infrastructure, but we can take some solace in the fact that the world is more connected than ever and there is a greater chance that ideas and expertise will spread to less-developed parts of the world. It is apt to keep in mind that although each phase of history presents its own challenges, history has shown that we are capable of finding innovative ideas that improve our living conditions.



Québec-Japan’s Good Chemistry in the Energy Sector Part II

Exclusive interview with Mr. Pierre Arcand, Québec’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources during his mission to Japan, on September 18th to 21st, 2017, to showcase Québec’s leadership in North America regarding energy technology innovation and electrification of transportation. Its state-owned Hydro-Québec ranks as the fourth largest hydroelectric power producer in the world.


Mr. Kenzo Motojima—Completing a mapping project with a love for Guinea

The Embassy of Guinea awarded the late Kenzo Motojima an honorary distinction on the 12th of October 2017 in recognition of his contribution to the mapping of Guinea from 1977 to 1982.



Real Estate—Getting Real with Real Estate in Japan

For those who have lived in Japan for a certain time, it is all too common to witness the uninterrupted flow of buildings getting tore down and rebuilt from the ground up. Take a walk in Ginza, Shinjuku, Kanda or Shinagawa; it is hard not to get caught up in the dizzy round of this noisy, crowded and amazing city. The urban planning itself is fascinating: well-functioning transit logistics, accessible amenities throughout the urban areas and wards with an identity of their own structured an idiosyncratic lifestyle in Tokyo. However, this convenience comes at a price. And it is not cheap.


Mitsubishi Estate—Leading Japan’s City Life

The Marunouchi district of Tokyo is more than just a financial hub. It has a symbolic value as one of the first areas that was developed at the beginning of the Meiji period and stands for modernization, a process that was spearheaded by Mitsubishi’s early projects in what is now the epicenter of Japan’s economy.

JAPAN and the WORLD interviewed Mr. Ryosuke Usui, an associate of the Corporate Communications Department, to discuss the history of the Marunouchi district and to find out about Mitsubishi’s contributions and future plans for Tokyo’s financial hub. The discussion also touched on Japanese infrastructure and why Mitsubishi estate is sought all over the world for their expertise in architecture, lifestyle development and urban planning.


Heiwa Real Estate—Making Tokyo a Global Financial Center

Tokyo’s Nihonbashi Kabutocho district, home to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, is one of Japan’s three major financial districts and one of the largest in the world. In the past, traders thronged the trading floor and gave the district a buzz, but with its closing in 1999 when operations were computerized, Kabutocho lost much of its energy. Heiwa Real Estate Co., Ltd., owner of stock exchange buildings in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in July 2017, is now involved in redeveloping Kabutocho through its Nihonbashi Kabutocho 7-Chome Development Project.

JAPAN and the WORLD interviewed Heiwa Real Estate executive director Mr. Tomoharu Nakao to learn more about his feelings for the district and the company’s future plans for Kabutocho.



Romania—Asia’s Investment Gateway in the E.U.

Inter Media Japan met with Mr. Ilan Laufer, a veteran of the private sector, who has over the past 10 years, attracted a whopping 400 million USD in the Romanian market, mostly in retail and the real estate business.

Now Romania’s Minister for Business Environment, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, he spoke to us about his plans to promote Romania as an emerging and promising investment hub.


Ghana Evolving Towards a Foolproof Inclusive Healthcare System

Western medicine was introduced to the Gold Coast in the 19th century by missionaries resulting in that region being heavily involved in the development of a new health care system. Today Ghana boasts of a National Healthcare Insurance Scheme, known as the NHIS, which has over the years experienced several hurdles but since then has seen considerable improvements in service delivery, human resource improvement, and public education about health.

JAPAN and the WORLD sat with the Minister of Health of Ghana, Hon. Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who talks of how Ghana aims to evolve towards a more inclusive health care system and the efforts being made in combatting fraudulence and becoming an icon in the health sector in Africa.


Costa Rica sets Target of Achieving the SDGs for 2030

During his brief visit to Japan, JAPAN and the WORLD met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Costa Rica, Mr. Manuel A. González Sanz, who spoke of the challenges and opportunities towards achieving a sustainable development.



One Hour with Adrien Lachance

After holding the microphone of the French-speaking services of NHK’s Radio Japan for the last three years, Adrien Lachance has agreed to share his observations on his work experience and his thoughts on his life in Japan. He is a former Canadian broadcaster for Radio-Canada International and Radio-Canada, and he will return to Canada in early 2018.



Seijun Nishihata—The Greatest Christmas Tree Project in Kobe

JAPAN and the WORLD interviewed Mr. Seijun Nishihata to find out more about his passion, his work and his philosophy.



Four Nines—Eyewear Brand Offering the Finest Quality to the World

Comfort is one of the most important elements for those who wear glasses. 999.9 (Four Nines) is an eyewear brand working hard to offer comfort, beauty and functionality. It has had an increasing customer base since its launch with currently 27 direct selling points both across Japan and abroad as well as around 800 authorized dealers which carry brand’s products, and is ready to develop their business overseas. Find out more about its originality and its creative approach to eyewear.


Ginza Tailor—Japan’s Finest Tailoring

Opened in 1935, Ginza Tailor is a family-run tailor shop located in the heart of the high-end fashion district, Ginza. Each suit is put together using customized patterns and techniques proven faithful and impressive since its opening. Growing in popularity over the years, its work is appreciated by both foreigners and locals.

For this issue, JAPAN and the WORLD interviewed the Executive Manager of the Ginza Tailor Group, Ms. Shoko Wanibuchi about 83 years of existence and the secrets behind their traditional and meticulous craftsmanship.



Nagi Yoshida—Ethnic Tribes through the Eyes of a Japanese Photographer

Ms. Nagi Yoshida is a Japanese photographer taking pictures of ethnic tribes around the world, especially in Africa. Spending one third of the year abroad, her pictures of tribes people leaves a strong impact and are covered frequently by media. This time, she agreed to meet with JAPAN and the WORLD to talk about her passion.


The Iwakura Mission—The Great Power of the Mission

In a garden in a quiet residential area in the suburbs of Tokyo, two special flower species show their beauty by representing both Western beauty and Japanese spirit; the “Queen Elizabeth” rose beloved of Yoshida Shigeru, Japan’s prime minister in the immediate postwar years and grandson-in-law of Okubo Toshimichi, and the “kumoi-no-tsuru” Japanese iris, which grows in the gardens of Kyoto Imperial Palace.


Kagoshima History in the Meiji Period—The Satsuma Domain’s Bloodless Takeover of Edo Castle

At the time of the Meiji Restoration, Japan saw frequent clashes between forces of the Imperial Court and those of the shogun: if unrest during that time had not been quelled quickly, Japan might have come under the thumb of the colonial powers of the day.



Québec and Japan—Québec’s Footprints in Japan

Nepal—Ready to Share its Wonders with the World

Afghanistan—Ambassador of “Heart to Heart”


Breast Cancer—An Unchosen Journey

Breast cancer or ‘BC’ is a word that strikes varying emotions in different people. Fear, pain, loss, shame, love, strength, hope are just a few that resonate with those who are facing or who have overcome the unchosen journey that is breast cancer. Prior to the 20th century, breast cancer was feared by most women and was discussed in hushed tones as it was considered shameful.


Breast Cancer—My Life Before and After

Since her diagnosis of breast cancer in 2006, Mrs. Jiana Leung, Head of Human Resources at Deutsche Bank Group Japan and Deutsche Bank Group Asia-Pacific’s non-hub locations, has stopped at nothing to break down stereotypes, keep a positive outlook on life and maintain a healthy balance in her work and private life.

JAPAN and the WORLD met with this mother of two and lover of life to hear her journey before and after breast cancer.



Rugby Sets Sail for Japan

To better understand how rugby is growing in Japan, JAPAN and the WORLD interviewed William “Bill” Beaumont. Mr. Beaumont is a former Captain of the English Rugby Union Team, leading them famously to their 1980 Grand Slam title in the 1980 Five Nations Cup. Mr. Beaumont was keen to tell us how the Rugby World Cup seeks to build on its growing popularity and to talk about a few of his personal highlights.


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