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Highlighting JAPAN

February 2014

Living with water

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Prime Minister visits Cote d'Ivoire, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Oman / Prime Minister Attends the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (Davos Meeting) / Japan-India summit meeting

Living with water


Interview: Professor Taikan Oki
Rising to the challenges of the world's water needs

Professor Taikan Oki heads the Global Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering lab at the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science. A recognized leader in the freshwater field, he has been the recipient of awards both inside and outside of Japan. He is actively involved in water resources research overseas as well, beginning with having engaged in field surveys following floods in Thailand in 2011. We spoke to Professor Oki about the water problems facing the world and the water situation in Japan.

Hooked on Water
City of Kitakyushu offers technical support for waterworks in Asia

The City of Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture is tapping its long experience in water systems management to supply safe water to the world. In cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the city has been sharing waterworks technology - and even water department personnel - as part of an initiative to improve water standards in various developing nations overseas.

Nippon Poly-Glu: Drinkable Water from Anywhere

A flocculant is a chemical that promotes the separation of solid particles from a liquid. It causes the particles to form loose aggregations, or `floc,' which then settle to the bottom. Polyglutamic acid (PGA) is an amino acid formed by bacterial fermentation. Water-soluble, biodegradable and edible, PGA is responsible for the stickiness of natto, a Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans. Added to water, it acts as what is called a flocculant, a chemical that promotes the separation of solid particles from a liquid. It causes the particles to form loose aggregations, or `floc,' which then settle to the bottom.

Powering the Water of Life
AAR Japan brings sustainable water to a vulnerable region

In August of 2011 AAR Japan decided to initiate emergency humanitarian interventions among affected populations in the Garissa region. A rapid decline in security a few months later forced the staff to relocate to the city of Kitui, where they began constructing a 17-kilometer pipeline to bring water to four different `water kiosks.' Overcoming project delays and leaking pipe joints, Igarashi says he and his staff were "overjoyed when the first trickle of water sputtered, then suddenly started flowing out from the tap."

Waste-Free Water Treatment
Nihon Genryo Co., Ltd.

Many people around the world rely on water purification plants to provide them with safe, reliable drinking water. Filter sand, derived from natural sand, is used in the process of purifying water in order to remove turbidity, or cloudiness, such as suspended sludge in raw water.

Drawing on Fuji's Groundwater
Environmental innovation in Shizuoka Prefecture

Spreading out from the foot of Mount Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture has long been known as a land blessed with a rich source of groundwater. Currently, Shizuoka Prefecture is advancing its own unique environmental technology to utilize Mount Fuji's groundwater.

Suntory's Natural Water Sanctuary Project
Nurturing the Forests of Japan

It's impossible to make a good drink without good water. Building off the belief that water is the life of its business, leading beverage maker Suntory Limited is now working to nurture forests to realize the sustainability of its main resource through their Natural Water Sanctuary project.

The National Research Institute of Brewing
Cementing the relationship between pure water and sake

In Japan, there is a saying that goes, "Wherever there is fine water, there is fine sake." It's a virtual certainty that in the vicinity of a Japanese wellspring or groundwater reservoir known for its clear water you will find a sake brewery. The future of sake production is tied to the preservation of this sparkling natural resource.



If you're strolling through a neighborhood in Japan in early February, you may hear this chant issuing from the doorways and windows of houses as you pass. Be careful - you might get hit by a handful of flying beans!

The Science of Sleep

Professor Masashi Yanagisawa directs the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine

Kazuki Yamada: The changing shape of music

As principal guest conductor of Orchestre de la Suisse in Geneva, Switzerland, Kazuki Yamada naturally knows all of this. He secured the position after a sensational 2010 debut, one of his first appearances in Europe.


Castle walls rise above clear waters


Behind the temples, the soft rustle of silk