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IAC News No.45, July 2016

Japan Society of Civil Engineers  International Activities Center July 1, 2016 IAC News No.45

Abdul Moiz
(a master’s student, the University of Tokyo)

Japan – an Experience Unlike Any other ~International Student’s Life in Japan~

My name is Abdul Moiz, and I am currently a 1st-year master student in River and Environmental Engineering Laboratory in the Department of Civil Engineering, the University of Tokyo. I came to Tokyo from Pakistan in October, 2015. I completed my bachelor degree in civil engineering in the University of Engineering & Technology, Taxila in the same year. Right from the moment when my flight landed in Japan, I have been gaining exciting experiences every day. From the ‘jungle’ of infrastructure in Tokyo to the calm and beautiful environment of shrines and temples, Japan is truly a place where technology and infrastructure development maintain harmony with nature and history.

Five or six years ago, I never thought that I would join the civil engineering field. It was my father, a civil engineer, graduated from the same university as mine in Pakistan in 1983, who inspired me to enter that field. During my studied for my bachelor’s degree for four years, I had many great teachers. The most important teacher for me is Dr. Muhammad Ali Shamim. I met him in the hydrology course. Until then, I did not realize the importance of that subject, nor notice that civil engineering was more than buildings, roads, foundations etc. It was the first time that I saw something even bigger in civil engineering. I realized how important water resources were in Pakistan, and that the related problems were getting more challenging and more complex. Dr. Shamim is the person who made my vision much clear and encouraged me to apply to the University of Tokyo for higher studies in order to acquire a new perspective to deal with the complex challenges of ‘tomorrow’.

Even though graduate courses are offered in English, and everyone speaks English on campus at the University of Tokyo, one of the biggest challenges for me is communicating with Japanese people outside the campus. The intensive Japanese Language Course organized by Department of Civil Engineering is very helpful, particularly due to dedicated teachers. Never before this did I not think that I had the capability to learn another language. And Assoc. Prof. Akiyuki Kawasaki, Dr. Eng., I cannot go without mentioning him. He has given me every support to not only to succeed in academics, but also to enjoy extra-curricular activities.

The Foreign Student Office (FSO) of the school makes it easier for me to get adjusted to life in Japan. The Host Family Program organized by the Alumni Association of Civil Engineering Department introduced me to my host family in Japan in order to help me understand more about the Japanese culture and feel more like at home. The FSO together with the Alumni Association also frequently organizes many events and excursions in order to help us take a break from our busy routines and learn more about civil engineering outside the lab. The latest one was a field trip organized in association with JSCE to the Reconstruction site of Shibuya, Tokyo. I was amazed to see how the various elements of infrastructure were intricately layered and how all the construction activities were being carried out with minimal disturbance to the surroundings.

My research focuses on evaluating the hydropower potential of Pakistan using GIS along with Advanced Hydrological Modelling, WEB-DHM (Water and Energy Budget-based Distributed Hydrological Model). Power crises in Pakistan is a major problem. Fortunately, Pakistan has vast energy reserves in the form of hydropower. The hydropower may be exploited to alleviate the energy crises in Pakistan and pave the way for future economic development. Over the years, Japan has proven to be a pioneer in water resource engineering and management with its cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art technology. Through my visits to Kusaki Dam and Shimokubo Dam, I learned a lot about the operation, monitoring, maintenance and history of dams in Japan and understood how important they were to the Japanese society. My research group holds meetings every week to exchange ideas and their progress with each other, and to suggest solutions to the problems which the members are facing in their researches. Our research activities are frequently updated on the group’s blog website (http://kawasakilab.blogspot.jp/).

Lastly, I am very thankful to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology for awarding me the MEXT scholarship. I hope, through my hard work and sheer determination, I will be able to achieve my research goals and make the most out of my stay in Japan.

Trip to Shibuya Reconstruction Project site

Visit to Shimokubo Dam with my research group members


JSCE Global Vision Seminar 2016
Global Strategy for Construction Industry "Learn from M&A in Construction Industry" by AECOM

Masaru NODA
IAC Director
(Obayashi Corporation)

Global Vision Seminar 2016 “Global Strategy for Construction Industry – Learn from M&A in Construction Industry –“ was held on 8th April, 2016 in ooperation between International Activities Center (IAC) and JSCE Committee on Construction Management.

In Japan, infrastructures have been developed under severe social, economic, and environmental conditions, which have contributed to the development of the country. In order to strengthen the sustainable economic growth of the country, it is vital for the country to develop its growth strategy while utilizing its experiences in the countries in which their construction markets will develop and their demands of infrastructure development will increase.

In the society in which that investment in construction will be declining in a near future, Japanese construction companies should switch gears and equally treat domestic and international projects as major parts of their businesses, and devise strategic approaches to survive in the global market without depending on Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Seeing current trends in the construction industry, the aforesaid IAC and committee organized the seminar to raise attention of the construction industries and discuss business strategies to gain competitive advantage in the global market with international construction companies.

The keynote speaker Dr. Toshio Okazumi (Director, Overseas Project Division, Policy Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) delivered a speech about oversea development of infrastructure systems. His speech made the audience realize the importance of support to developing countries to improve their infrastructures with Japanese construction technologies in order to increase Japan’s presence in the global market.

Mr. Hideki Sakaeda (President, AECOM Japan) and Mr. Ian Chung (Vice President, Civil & Infrastructure, AECOM Asia) introduced AECOM’s growth strategies using an M&A approach, post M &A business operations and a newly developed business model.

The seminar, endorsed by MILT and The U.S. Commercial Service, attracted more than 70 participants, and involved them into discussions in a Q&A session. Many of the participants gave positive feedbacks and thanks such as “It was informative and useful to learn about M & A which was rarely discussed in seminars and like.”

Dr. Okazumi delivers a keynote speech.

A speaker and audience exchanges opinions in the Q & A session.

【Reported by Masaru Noda, Leader of Professional Development and Education Program Gr., IAC】

Outline of Activities of the Landscape and Design Committee

Prof. Shinichi KITAMURA
Chair of Landscape and Design Committee

The landscape and design committee was established in 1997 to conduct research studies concerning landscape/design, proposals of practice or specific methods for realizing excellent landscape formation, evaluation of realized landscapes, and others for constructing civil engineering structures and spaces composed of such high-quality structures. There are two major projects: “Civil Engineering Design Prize” and “Conference for Architecture of Infrastructure and Environment.”

Civil Engineering Design Prize is annual awards, which aim to produce a competitive situation in the design filed of civil engineering. The awards have been given to 137 works located in Japan over the past 15 years. The target works are general civil engineering structures or public spaces. The awards are given to the works that realize innovative landscape creation and conservation which are coupled with surroundings or community, the people who greatly contribute to the works, and the organizations that support those people because of uses of planning, design technology, systems, or organizational activities. The selection is conducted by an award selection committee comprising experts on civil engineering design, structural and bridge engineering, river engineering, urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, and others. It always creates a lively discussion. In 2014, the annual selected works and the website were redesigned, and we try to offer more clear information not only to civil engineers or designers, but also to the public.

As for Conference for Architecture of Infrastructure and Environment, there are about 50 to 60 presentations and papers annually since the first conference was held in 2005. One of the notable features of the conference is that it provides the following divisions: a design works division, a planning and management division and a criticism division in addition to the research study division corresponding to narrowly-defined academic papers. In the design works division and the planning and management one, authors discuss creative activities about projects in terms of specific ideas on design, techniques, system, or methods. The criticism division covers enunciations which survey the essence or the best form of landscape/design. Special sessions called as technical discussions have been set up since 2013 so that engineers or designers in the field could discuss skills and ideas in accordance with certain themes. We expect that this provides a place for extensive discussions and for especially sharing field jobs or experiences.

Civil Engineering Design Grand Prize 2015

The improvement of home river in Ichijodani heritage (Fukui pref.)

Kitasaito Asahikawa (Hokkaido pref.)

【Reported by Shinichi Kitamura (Yamanashi University) Chair of Landscape and Design Committee】



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