The relationship between Japan and ASEAN countries has increasingly developed and strengthened over time. ASEAN countries now collectively constitute Japan’s most important international trade partner. Japan now serves as the biggest ODA contributor to the new ASEAN member countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. This highlights the way in which political, economic and social relationships between Japan and ASEAN countries have developed and will continue to develop.
ASEAN countries, while enjoying rapid economic growth, also suffer from serious environmental issues such as air pollution, water degradation and improper waste management. Rapid economic growth also adversely influences the quality of urban life – contributing to serous traffic jams, deforestation, and increased vulnerability to natural disasters. Japan can play a significant role in managing these environmental issues by supporting environmental management and infrastructure. There is strong demand for professional practitioners who have technical expertise in environmental science and excellent communication skills, not only in English but also in local languages, along with a deep understanding of Asian culture.
EIP aims to foster the development of environmental innovators with high levels of technical expertise, communication skills and a deep understanding of local cultures by utilizing the following three approaches:
- Establishing a double-degree master’s program involving GSGES at Kyoto University and partner universities in ASEAN countries
- Establishing an international network with 11 universities in ASEAN regions in order to foster collaborative research and educational programs
- Establishing a global consortium in conjunction with Japanese companies