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Japan’s foreign policy
Japan has an advanced transportation system, outstanding outcomes in the field of technology research and a matured business development model. As the world’s third-largest economy, Japan has been expanding its foreign policies to aid developing countries and boosts the global economy.

From Japan’s international cooperation on Pandemic Influenza to NERICA (New Rice For Africa), Japan plays an essential role in solving urgent and consistent poverty issues. Its foreign policies promote the progress of eliminating poverty worldwide. There are three cases of how Japan’s foreign policy solves global poverty problems.

Examples of Japan’s Foreign Policy

  1. NERICA: Food shortage is a continuous problem in Africa. The main reason is low production field. NERICA stands for New Rice for Africa. The Japanese government cooperated with the Africa Rice Center to introduce this program in 1992. This program is applied extensively in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).The Africa Rice Center cooperated with its partners to produce interspecific hybridization, which can combine advantages of two species to increase the yield of rice. In the meantime, the interspecific grains have better ability to tolerate drought, pest and disease. These grains have higher nutrition as well. Japan has adopted various plans to apply different irrigated rice production technology in Tanzania since the 1970s, which has boosted the yield of rice to three times larger than the national average.In 2014, the total production of milled rice in Uganda was 154,050 metric tonnes, but the consumption rate was 215,707 metric tonnes. NERICA plays a vital role to ameliorate the Ugandan food shortage problem by increasing rice varieties. Most farmers are planting NERICA rice because its mature time is shorter, the yield is higher and it is more tolerant to drought and viruses. For example, NERICA 6 is immune to Yellow Mortal Virus and NERICA 1 only takes 100 days to mature.NERICA is a typical example of how Japan’s foreign policy solves global poverty problems. It ameliorates African food shortage problems efficiently and provides an alternative way for people in SSA to access higher-nutrition and larger-yielding grains.
  2. STI: In September 2015, the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda lists 17 goals to eliminate global poverty issues in sustainable ways. Japan continuously contributes itself to achieve the 2030 Agenda.Japan has abundant human resources and advanced technology. It can help reach the agenda through STI, which stands for science, technology and innovation. STI can contribute to boosting development by using limited sources.Japan will contribute its extensive database, which covers from the ocean up to space, to facilitate the efficiency of international cooperation. In addition, Japan will facilitate people-centered development by offering consistent assistance in areas of information and communications technology, research and development, industrial human resources development and vocational training.In 2015, the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation was established to solve social issues and boost economic growth. The Japanese government will spend $1.8 billion on STI in the next three years mainly on high technology development which has international benefits.For example, outbreak alert innovation can reinforce surveillance of infectious diseases, and mobile innovation can facilitate the urban transportation system by using wireless communication for extension of green light. STI acts as a “bridging force” to connect Japan with the globe by assisting technology training processes and sharing developing STI experiences.
  3. Infrastructure Aid: Japan has consistently been sharing its sources on infrastructure building with other countries. For example, in September 2017, Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail was launched when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited India. This high-speed railway corridor stretches from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, which is a total of 508.17 km.This project is the symbol of cooperation between Japan and India. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered $12 billion in loans to build India’s first bullet train. In the meantime, the Japanese government agreed to bear 80 percent of the total project cost when Prime Minister Abe visited India in September of 2017. Assisting in building infrastructure is another way Japan’s foreign policy solves global poverty problems.

Overall, Japan’s foreign policy helps solve global poverty by sharing resources and advanced technology. For Latin America, Japan will promote its development by improving trade and investment to create a more comprehensive environment for economic growth. For the Middle East, Japan works on overcoming peace-building and human resources development, as well as a sustainable and stable energy supply. Japan’s foreign policy solves global poverty problems through science, technology and innovation.

– Judy Lu
Photo: Flickr

sequence-african-rice-genome
As the Earth’s population is predicted to increase to more than nine billion people by the year 2050, researchers have made a step forward in solving the “Nine Billion People Question.” The question poses the possibility of a lack of natural resources as a result of rising population growth. Through successfully sequencing the complete genome of Oryza glaberrima (African rice), scientists and agriculturalists will be better able to understand the crop’s growing patterns and this could allow for the development of modified rice varieties equipped to handle environmental hurdles.

Rice, which feeds half the world, is often deemed the most important food crop. In fact, scientists predict that  come the expected nine billion mark  “hardy, high-yield” crops such as African rice will become increasingly crucial for human survival in conditions of extreme climate change.

While the number of people needing to be fed continues to grow by at least two billion over four decades, crop production is nonetheless halting due to climate change, resulting in a scary combination. Rod A. Wing, who led the recent sequencing effort, also helped sequence the genome of Asian rice, which has since enabled the discovery of hundreds of “agriculturally important genes” which can allow for faster breeding cycles and even the ability for the plant to survive up to two weeks under water during flooding.

The genome for the wild tomato, Solanum pennellii, has also recently been published. Despite the fact that it is poisonous, the wild tomato can better tolerate dry conditions and can handle saltier soils. The genome will ensure that new varieties bred do not include any of its poisonous genes. The tomato, along with African rice, are two prominent examples of food modification that could save millions of human lives.

“The idea is to create a super-rice that will be higher yielding but will have less of an environmental impact,” said Wing, including varieties which could require less water, fertiliser and pesticides. African rice, which has already been crossed with Asian rice to produce new variations known as NERICA, independently selected many of the same genetic traits as its cousin. By developing types of rice which can hold Asian rice’s high yield and African rice’s high tolerance, scientists may have just found the answer to their original “9 billion” question.

Nick Magnanti

Sources: International Business Times, Science 2.0, Voice of America
Photo: International Business Times