The “ASEAN-Japan Relations Caught on FIRe” was held last February 7, 2020 at the Makati Diamond Residences, Makati City. The symposium was hosted by PHILFEJA, in cooperation with Asia Japan Alumni (ASJA) International and the ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA)
Photo credit: JAOL
PHILFEJA delegates headed by President, Ms. Junelyn Pagunsan and Trustee, Mr. Philip Sanvictores, attended the 15th ASJA-ASCOJA-JAOL International Symposium and 25th ASCOJA International Conference held on October 4 and October 5, 2019 respectively. Both events were held at the Don Chan Palace Hotel and Convention in Vientiane, the capital city of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).
The 15th ASJA-ASCOJA-JAOL International Symposium was centered on the theme “Food Safety-Advancing ASEAN and Japan Cooperation.” The presentations shared the different experiences and best practices of the respective ASEAN countries and Japan when it comes to food safety. A panel discussion was held after the presentations.
The 25th ASCOJA International Conference, on the other hand, gave a venue for speakers from ASCOJA member associations to share their country’s engagements and preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This year’s conference was entitled “Succeeding Together ASEAN and Japan- Towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
A day dedicated to Sports and Cultural Activities was also held on October 6, which toured participants to different temples and markets in the city. They visited several important cultural sites including Wat Si Muang temple, Patuxay Monument, Wat Si Saket temple, and the Hor Pha Keo Museum. After the city tour, the PHILFEJA delegates enjoyed traditional Lao cuisine at the Tao Salat Market and Shopping Mall.
In the afternoon, ASCOJA and ASJA held a meeting to discuss a variety of matters including the possibility of changing the hosting of ASCOJA Conference and ASJA Symposium from every year to every two years. Matters relating to the number of undergraduate scholars from ASCOJA Member countries for the Monbukagakusho Scholarship was also discussed, followed by PHILFEJA’s updates regarding the ASJA-ASCOJA-PHILFEJA Symposium 2020.
The delegates were then treated to a Gala Dinner prepared by the Japan Alumni Association of Laos (JAOL) for all delegates and guests. ASCOJA member countries presented their own cultural performances during the dinner party.
For a full account of the events, please read the travel report written by PHILFEJA President, Ms. Junelyn Pagunsan.
Newly installed PHILFEJA President, Ms. Junelyn Pagunsan and PHILFEJA Trustee Mr. Philip Sanvictores represented PHILFEJA at the ASCOJA Board of Governors preparatory meeting for the 2019 ASCOJA Convention held on June 22, 2019 at the Grand Palace Hotel in Luang Prabang, Laos. The meeting was organized by the Japan Alumni Organization of Laos (JAOL), led by its President, Dr. Panya Chanthavong.
All the ASCOJA Chapters were represented during the meeting, with the exception of BAJA (Brunei Association of Japan Alumni). Mr. Jiro Sato and Ms. Chikako Hagihara of the Asia Japan Alumni (ASJA) Secretariat, and Ms. Yuki Kamikawaji of the Embassy of Japan in Laos were also present.
The meeting tackled various matters relating to the forthcoming 25th ASCOJA Conference to be held from October 4 to 6, 2019 in Vientiane, the capital city of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), as follows:
- Venue: Donchan Palace Hotel, Vientiane
- 15th ASJA Symposium of Food Safety on October 4, 2019
- ASCOJA Governors’ Meeting
- Welcome Reception
- 25th ASCOJA Conference on “Sports for All” on October 5, 2019
- Dinner hosted by Japanese Ambassador to Lao PDR
- Sightseeing and Gala Dinner and Cultural Night on October 6, 2019
- ASCOJA Council Meeting
Each ASCOJA chapter will be invited to present relevant papers for discussion during the ASJA Symposium on Food Safety and the ASCOJA Conference themed Sports for All, focusing on each country’s preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
JAOL allotted time for PHILFEJA to present plans for the 2020 ASJA-ASCOJA Symposium to be held in Manila in February 2020. Mr. Philip Sanvictores submitted the symposium prospectus which is entitled “Caught on FIRe (Fourth Industrial Revolution)”.
After the meeting, JAOL hosted an afternoon cruise of the Mekong River and dinner at a traditional restaurant at the river’s banks.
The Asia Japan Alumni International (ASJA) recently concluded a short study trip for Southeast Asian students of the Japanese language last November 2 to 5, 2017 in Gunma, Japan. The trip was conducted in order to help students get to know and have a personal experience of Japanese culture.
This time around, there were a total of 25 participants coming from different Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and Myanmar just to name a few. One of their cultural activities during the trip was “箸作り”(hashi-dzukuri or chopsticks making) using a traditional Japanese wood planing tool called the “カンナがけ” (kanna-kage).
Watch how the students reacted to the experience and enjoyed carving and painting their own chopsticks the traditional way in this news clip from Gunma TV.
With nearly 400 total registered delegates, the Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA), comprised one of the largest delegation with 44 participants who joined 22nd Conference of the ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA) held on September 30 to October 2, 2016 at E-City Hotel@One City in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia with the theme “ASEAN-Japan: Bridging Cultural Ties in Trade, Tourism and Technology.”
The conference, which also featured the Asian Japan Alumni (ASJA) International Symposium, was organized by the Japan Graduates Association of Malaysia (JAGAM) a year after it was held in Manila with the successful hosting by PHILFEJA under the leadership of Mr. Philip Sanvictores. The conference’s other major highlight was the holding of Japan Graduates’ Invention Exhibition with the theme “Japan Graduates Impact Lives”. The three PHILFEJA members’ product exhibitions won major awards.
Strengthening trade, tourism, technology and heart-to-heart relationship
In his opening speech, Dr. Ooi Chee Keong, JAGAM president and ASCOJA chairman, explained that “the conference will provide the opportunity to discuss how Japan and ASEAN can work together in trade, tourism and technology for mutual benefit as it provides platform not only to share knowledge but also to foster better relationship and understanding among member countries.” His speech was followed by the keynote message of Y.B.Dato Seri Ong Ka Chuan, Malaysia’s second minister of international trade and industry. He described how “Japan remained as ASEAN’s third largest trading partner and the second largest source of foreign direct investment inflows.” He expects that these rankings will be strengthened substantially with the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community and with the establishment of closer economic ties through various agreements such as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement as well as the bilateral agreements signed between individual SAEAN member states with Japan.
The congratulatory message of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was also read during the opening ceremonies. He said that “for the coming years from the next fiscal year, Japan will receive a total of 1,000 university students from ASEAN countries at leading-edge laboratories of post-graduate courses of universities.” This, he said, “will reinvigorate exchanges of talented brains, expected to shape our future, and will push up innovation in Asia.” In the same vein, Japan’s former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda assured ASCOJA of Japan’s continued support through the “sincere activities conducted by Asian Japan Alumni (ASJA), the Japanese counterpart of ASCOJA.” In a message read on his behalf, he said that the “heart-to-heart relationship have been central to the basic philosophy of ASCOJA since its foundation and will remain so going forward.”
The three-day 22nd ASCOJA conference was also highlighted by an ASCOJA council meeting, a welcome reception, city tour and golf tournament. It was concluded by a dinner hosted by Japan ambassador to Malaysia-Dr. Miyagawa Makio, an invention awards presentation and ASCOJA members’ cultural performance, In the ASJA international symposium, Dr. Philip Ian P. Padilla, PHILAJAMES vice president, represented PHILFEJA by presenting a paper entitled “State of Science and Technology Education in the Philippines”.
Major Exhibition Awards Garnered
In the invention exhibition, PHILFEJA showcased three product innovations. These were the following: “Bioorganic Fertilizers: Working with Microbes for Agricultural production Sufficiency” by Dr. Mannix S. Pedro and “Increasing Crop Productivity with Vesicular Asbuscular Mycorrhizal Root Inoculant (VAMRI)” by Dr. Marilyn Brown. Dr. Pedro and Dr. Brown are both Japan-trained researchers at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH), University of the Philippines Los Baños. On the other hand, Mr. Dan Leonard L. Rayo, president, PHILCULTAROS and Jose Clemente H. Zulueta, IT professional and expert of Samba Corporation and Portal 4 Youth Foundation, Inc. presented “SAMBACiTIES – an online directory dedicated in promoting tourism and businesses in the ASEAN Region and Japan. ” This innovation aspires in making businesses of ASCOJA members readily accessible to a broader community to provide value to its membership.
PHILFEJA members’ innovation exhibition garnered medals and certificates as follows:
|International Federation of Inventors’ Association (IFIA) certificate of award;
Invention award gold medal;
ASCOJA invention award medal
|“Increasing Crop Productivity with Vesicular Asbuscular
Mycorrhizal Root Inoculant (VAMRI)”, by Dr. Mannix Pedro
|Invention award silver medal;
ASCOJA invention award medal
|“Bioorganic Fertilizers: Working with Microbes for Agricultural
production Sufficiency”, by Dr. Marilyn Brown
|Invention award silver medal;
ASCOJA invention award medal
|“SAMBACiTIES – an online directory dedicated in promoting tourism
and businesses in the ASEAN Region and Japan”, by Jose Clemente
H. Zulueta & Dan Leonard L. Rayo
Onward to 23rd ASCOJA Conference in Brunei!
As the conference approaches to its conclusion, conference delegates felt the celebration of success, warm friendship and hospitality, understanding and harmony. Finally, they realized ASEAN’s unity in spite of diversity and the social and economic relevance of Japan alumni in more years to come as they witnessed the memento presentation and handover ceremony with Brunei Association of Japan Alumni (BAJA), host of ASCOJA 23rd conference.
Conducting the ASCOJA conference in tandem with the ASJA symposium and Japan alumni exhibition of technology and innovation was a bold act and challenging task to do for these demonstrate the significant impact and contribution of Japan alumni in the ASEAN communities. “It was indeed a very enjoyable experience. My family had a grand time here”, says Dr. Ma. Luisa Enriquez, professor at DLSU and past president of PHILAJAMES.