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Learning Program on Japanese Development Experience for JICA Scholarship Fellows

 Starting in early August, GRIPS held four rounds of the intensive summer program, “Understanding the Japanese Development Experience.” This program for JICA scholarship fellows was organized by GRIPS in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The participants are students, mainly in graduate courses, at various universities in Japan. The rich program content includes lectures, a study tour, a cultural event, group discussion and presentations. The program is intended to broaden the participants’ perspective on the Japanese modernization process, and to encourage them to adopt a multi-faceted approach to engaging with the topics.

This program is usually held at GRIPS, Tokyo, however, due to the pandemic of COVID-19, it was held all the programs online.


About 30 participants, diverse in region, career and specialty, joined each round of the program. In the first half of the program, they attended a comprehensive lecture series on Japanese modernization history. GRIPS Associate Prof. Andrea Pressello gave a lecture on Japanese modern history; Prof. Kaoru Iokibe of the University of Tokyo on Japanese political history; Prof. Tetsuji Okazaki and Associate Prof. Yohei Kojima on Japanese Economic history; and GRIPS Prof. Taichi Ono on health and welfare policy in Japan. Special lectures were given by Prof. Shinichi Kitaoka, President of JICA; Prof. Francois Niyonsaba of Juntendo University; GRIPS President Akihiko Tanaka; and GRIPS Prof. Emeritus Shigeru Morichi.


Lecture of Prof. Ono

  <Lecture on Health and Welfare Policy in Japan and its response to COVID-19 pandemic

                                                                                                       by Prof. Ono>


Lecture of Prof. Nyonsaba                      <Special lecture on Modern Japanese Medical History by Prof. Niyonsaba>


On the study tour, the virtual tour to the National Diet Building and Yokohama Port Museum was taken. The participants also had a meaningful experience of tea ceremony and traditional calligraphy to deepen their understanding of traditional Japanese culture.



calligraphy2                                               <Upper photo: Study tour to the National Diet Building

                                                            / Lower photo: Cultural event of calligraphy>


In the second half of the program, the participants applied the knowledge and information they had acquired in the lectures to their exchanges in group discussions about Japan’s development experience and about the lessons that can be learnt from it. On the last day they made group presentations and presented their ideas on those topics and on some of the challenges that Japan is currently facing.


The participants, who had already lived in Japan, had some unique and insightful experiences. Group membership was varied; the participants came from Africa, South & Central America, Asia and Pacific Island states, with diverse backgrounds and graduate school specialties (from social sciences to engineering, etc.). The variety of the participants was reflected in the diversity of opinions and perspectives in the group discussions. Although the program period was short, only five days, the participants had a precious opportunity to gain an understanding of Japan from various viewpoints—an important takeaway.


We hope that this program gave the participants some insights applicable to their work and to the development of their countries, and that it will make a contribution toward the development of even better relationships between Japan and their countries.


group photo

                                                           <Group photo of “Group 3”, August 24 to 28>


The virtual tour to the National Diet is posted on YouTube channel of Secretariat of House of Representatives.






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