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Top>Opinion>Japan-Vietnam Relations: Dong Du and Nam Du


Toshio Ogata

Toshio Ogata [profile]

Japan-Vietnam Relations: Dong Du and Nam Du

Toshio Ogata
Professor, Faculty of Economics, Chuo University
Areas of Specialization: Macroeconomics, Ecological Economics

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Chuo University, with the backing of the ASEAN-Japan Centre and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), hosted the Fifth International Week featuring ASEAN with a focus on Thailand and Vietnam from December 9 to 14, 2013, commemorating 40 years of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation[1]. Here I introduce the Vietnam related events from that week.

1. Lecture presentation at Vietnamese Embassy in Japan

Photo 1: Phan Boi Chau

Firstly, on December 9, 2013, Counselor Do Van Trung of the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan gave a presentation in the main lecture hall of Building 8 titled “Vietnam’s economic development and relations with Japan”, which was attended by more than 300 people. This year (2013), which is the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Year (commemorating 40 years of diplomatic relations between the countries), has been assessed from various aspects. Counselor Trung started with a general description of Vietnam before going back to the era of trading with shogunate-licensed trading ships. He also mentioned the recognition of the town of Hoi An, with its remaining Japanese settlement and Japanese bridge, as a World Heritage Site, the introduction of the Doi Moi reform policy in 1986 and the stable economic growth it has generated thanks to ODA from Japan, and the promotion of human resource development and the current trend where overseas studying in Japan (the Dong Du movement of the Meiji Period) is drawing renewed attention due to the reformation of the education system. Portrayals of Phan Boi Chau (Photo 1), advocate of the Dong Du movement, have appeared on both TBS Television[2] and NHK’s BS1 channel[3]. Japan-Vietnam relations are expected to continue their vital role in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) in future.

2. Global Field Studies report: “Survey on the State of Vietnam”

Photo 2: Birthplace (museum) of Phan Boi Chau in Nghe An Province

Photo 3: Global Field Studies (Nam Du), Faculty of Economics

On December 10, Chuo University’s Faculty of Economics held a report meeting on the activities of our Global Field Studies, an accredited course held overseas from the current academic year. At the Ogata Laboratory, we announced the results from our seminars on the Dong Du spirit of Phan Boi Chau (Photo 2), Japan-Vietnam joint seminars held in Vietnamese national universities and government institutes (Photo 3) and the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Forest joint tree planting activities, and field surveys conducted with the cooperation of local university students and local residents. Such activities in which Japanese can learn from Vietnam are what I call Nam Du. Taking the examples of Vietnam’s lang sinh thai, or ecovillages, and Japan’s satoyama, the Ogata Seminar’s Environment Group has developed a program of expanding Japan-Vietnam environment preservation activities that focus on the coexistence of ecosystems and economic systems. Meanwhile, from a social survey of Vietnam, and in reference to the American CSA (community-supported agriculture) method of ensuring a safe and secure food supply, our Community Development Group has proposed a system of providing cheap and stable agricultural produce utilizing Vietnam’s VAC model (integrated cyclic agriculture), and held lively discussions with Vietnamese co-researchers attending as guests, overseas students and ordinary students. This is indeed a global human resource development system that combines Vietnamese students coming to Japan to study, or Dong Du, and Japanese going to Vietnam for training, or Nam Du.

3. Institute of Economic Research symposium, “Green Economics and Ecovillages: Japan-Vietnam Joint Research”

Photo 4: Local ecovillage residents’ committee and Japanese and Vietnamese co-researchers

On December 11, Chuo University’s Institute of Economic Research (Environmental and Economic Research Society) held an international symposium at which it announced the results of joint research between Japan and Vietnam built on aid from Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The moderator of the symposium was visiting research fellow Hiroki Matsuya of the Institute of Economic Research, and I, as a leader of the research team, gave a keynote speech titled “Green Economics and Ecovillages” based on an ecological economics model encompassing concepts of social common capital and social capital. Next came an announcement by Professor Nguyen The Chinh, deputy director of the ISPONRE institute of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, on “ISPONRE and Green Strategy” based on the “green economics” from the United Nations Rio +20 conference. This institute is an advisory body to Vietnam’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, and the results of the joint research between Japan and Vietnam on local ecovillages (Photo 4) have been taken on as the agenda of the Vietnamese government’s environmental conservation policy.

The next presentation, “Development of Vietnam’s ecovillage model and environmental protection law”, was given by Professor Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy of the National Economics University (NEU) in Hanoi, a doctoral graduate of Chuo University, a progress report on the design of an environmental protection system to curb any overdevelopment arising from the Doi Moi policy. This was followed by “Features of ecovillages (Lang Sinh Thai) in Vietnam” by Lai Van Manh, junior researcher at ISPONRE, who introduced the characteristics of the various ecovillages appropriate for the different ecosystems in the northern mountainous regions, the Red River Delta region, coastal sand dunes, and so on. In a report titled “The Institute of Ecological Economy and Ecovilllages”, researcher Hoang Lan Anh of the Institute of Ecological Economy (Eco-Eco) presented a picture of Vietnam’s ecovillages that have been led by her institute.

Finally, Associate Professor Tamotsu Harayama from the Faculty of Economics gave a general overview of the results of the “Ecovillages” social survey conducted jointly by Japan and Vietnam. Japanese and Vietnamese co-researchers directly questioned local farmers in a thorough survey of ecovillage households, and their analysis of many completed questionnaires enabled them to assemble a picture in ecovillage communities of the correlation between social capital and levels of happiness, and so on[4].

The details of the above six people’s reports will appear in the Institute of Economic Research’s “Research Newsletter”. While deepening relations between Japan and Vietnam, it is hoped that progress in the “dong du and nam du based on joint research” between the two countries will contribute significantly to global human resource development.

  • 4: “Effect of employment format and social participation on levels of happiness: A survey of ecovillages in Northern Vietnam [Koufukudo ni taisuru shuugyou keitai to shakai sanka no kouka: betonamu hokubu chiiki no seitaimura chousa]” by Tamotsu Harayama and Toshio Ogata (Annual Report of Institute of Economics Research, Chuo University, Volume 44, 2013)
Toshio Ogata
Professor, Faculty of Economics, Chuo University
Areas of Specialization: Macroeconomics, Ecological Economics
Research focus: Global warming and ecological economic management, EDE, Global field studies
Professor Ogata was born in 1945 in Kanagawa Prefecture. He is currently a Professor on the Faculty of Economics, Chuo University. He left the Doctoral Program at the Graduate School of Economics in Chuo University after taking all the required units. Professor Ogata's major publications include Global Warming and Economic Development [Chikyu Ondanka to Keizai Kaihatsu] (co-authored, The University of Tokyo); To Achieve the Welfare of Symbiotic Society [Koufuku na Kyosei Shakai wo Mezashite] (Hilltop Shuppan); Ecovillages: New Frontiers for Sustainability [Sekai no Ekobirejji:Jizoku Kanousei no Atarashii Fronthia] (co-translated, Nihon Keizai Hyoronsha); Bioregionalims and Ecovillages: Green Economic Corridor and Intentional Community (edited, Hilltop Shuppan). Professor Ogata is also currently director of the Research Group on Environment and Economy at the Institute of Economic Research, Chuo University, a board member of the Japan CIRIEC, and a member of the editorial board of Journal of Post Keynesian Economics.
Click here for his website Chuo University Toshio Ogata Laboratory.New window