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19th Nakasone Yasuhiro Award Honors Three Outstanding Researchers for Global Impact

The Nakasone Yasuhiro Award is presented by the Nakasone Peace Institute, a policy-oriented research institute dedicated to advancing global peace.

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Taro Aso (right), Vice President of the Liberal Democratic Party and Chairman of the Nakasone Peace Institute (NPI), makes his address at the award ceremony on November 29. (©JAPAN Forward)

The 19th Nakasone Yasuhiro Award ceremony took place on November 29 at a Tokyo hotel, honoring young researchers for their internationally significant achievements.

Award of Excellence

Shingo Ogawa, president of NPO Terra Renaissance, received the Award of Excellence for supporting children in conflict-stricken nations including Uganda, Congo, and Ukraine. He was also commended for his efforts to raise awareness of their plight.

Ogawa, whose work continues in Uganda, delivered his message by video:

"When I first came to Uganda in 2005, the northern region was embroiled in conflict. Many children were being abducted by anti-government forces to serve as soldiers. I could only relocate the children to safe places at night. Sometimes there were over 10,000 children. 

"People are forced to live in terrible conditions as refugees, unable to access safe water, food, or medicine. Deaths from simple illnesses, unimaginable in Japan, occur frequently. A quarter of the deaths are due to malaria, affecting many children under five.

"I contracted malaria about 10 times, but malaria is preventable. With proper treatment, it is not a deadly disease. Unfortunately, many succumb to malaria due to malnutrition and the inability to afford medicine, which costs around ¥500 JPY [$3 USD]."

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Shingo Ogawa, president of NPO Terra Renaissance, expresses his gratitude via video. (©JAPAN Forward)

Beyond Aid 

Ogawa also highlighted the dire situation in neighboring Congo, where seven million people have been forced to evacuate due to ongoing conflict. His NPO is actively involved in providing food aid, raising awareness about diseases, and constructing medical facilities.

Furthermore, Ogawa shared his future vision, stating, "Our goal is to move beyond immediate assistance like food aid to provide sustainable self-reliance through hybrid support."

He continued, "I aim to offer meticulous support aligned with Japanese values, leveraging local resources and wisdom instead of searching for what is not there."

Dedication to Southeast Asia Research

The two Incentive Awards were presented to Associate Professor Nobuhiro Aizawa of Kyushu University's Faculty of Social and Cultural Studies and Dr Giulio Pugliese, a lecturer at the University of Oxford.

Associate Professor Aizawa, a young researcher specializing in Indonesia, has delved into the country's foreign policy and provided insight into international relations in Southeast Asia. 

Associate Professor Nobuhiro Aizawa (©JAPAN Forward)

In his speech, Aizawa shared the challenges of gaining the trust of the Chinese-Indonesian community and the Indonesian military. He stated, "I have devoted myself to learning about the world through the perspective and mindset of Southeast Asian people by absorbing everything, including their culture, language, history, and art."

Elevating Research on Japanese Diplomacy

Dr Giulio Pugliese, a scholar on Japanese diplomacy, was honored for elevating research standards in his field in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom. Addressing the ongoing tensions in Japan-China relations, he said, "The Japanese government should build a foundation of trust through substantive dialogue. Proactive diplomacy could ease tensions in Japan-China and US-China relations and also avoid clashes between Japan and China."

Dr Giulio Pugliese (©JAPAN Forward)

Insights for World Peace

At the ceremony, Taro Aso, Vice President of the Liberal Democratic Party and Chairman of the Nakasone Peace Institute (NPI), spoke about the growing significance of the institute's role:

"Events such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine and China's expansionist ambitions signify a pivotal moment for the world. As the significance of the institute's work continues to grow, we aspire to offer valuable insights by collaborating with government, private sector, and academic institutions."

Every year, the NPI invites applications for the Nakasone Yasuhiro Award from young researchers who have attained international recognition in their respective fields.

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(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: JAPAN Forward

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