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IAC News No.91, May 2020

Japan Society of Civil Engineers  International Activities Center May 1, 2020 IAC News No.91

Visiting Lecture at Hokkaido University

Since 2019, the JSCE International Activities Center has been offering a visiting lecture, using a lecture slot at universities and so forth to provide a visiting lecture to inform young people, the bearers of Japan's future, about the significance of our overseas projects and how we undertake work abroad. After introducing the contents of well-received lectures, such as the “Japanese Civil Engineers the Global Leaders Symposium Series”, we provide an opportunity for attendees to deepen their understanding of overseas project management through a Q&A with the lecturer.

This is the second year since we began the initiative, and on February 5, 2020, Mr. Kazuya Osako (Manager of Civil Engineering Headquarters, Civil Engineering Planning Office, Shimizu Corporation) was invited as a guest lecturer to the Faculty of Engineering, Hokkaido University, to give a visiting lecture during one of Professor Michael Henry’s “International Project” lecturers.

The English lecture entitled “The Challenge and Great Pleasure of Working Overseas as a Civil Engineer” saw Mr. Osako explain in easy-to-understand English his time studying at Stanford University Graduate School in USA, which influenced on his sense of value and behaviors, his first overseas construction experience in the Manila Flood Control Project, and first experience as a director in the Jakarta MRT Project.

Mr. Osako spoke from his own personal experience that understanding religion, history, and culture, managing contracts and risks, and communication were particularly important in order to work overseas.

He talked about his expreiecnes overseas; in developing countries especially, he was pleased to see that the infrastructure development he was involved in improved the lives of local people. He also commented on the pleasure of deepening mutual understanding with people with different values from different countries, cooperating and overcoming many hardships, and seeing construction through to completion. In this visiting lecture, Mr. Osako’s desire to share the joy of working overseas as a civil engineer with students was communicated to the 80 juniors of Faculty of Engineering, who were interested in international projects, attentively listened to Mr. Osako’s talk.

The JSCE International Activities Center plan to hold similar visiting lectures at other universities and technical colleges, and paint a picture of this world in which civil engineers play an active role on the global stage in various different places.

Mr. Osako Gives a Lecture

80 Students Listen to Mr. Osako’ s Discussion

【Reported by Kazuya Osako (Shimizu Corporation) and 
IAC Professional Development and Education Program Group】

Fourth Engineers’ Lounge “DOBOKU”

Shu Takahashi

(Professional Development and Education Program Group, IAC)

International Activities Center of Japan Society of Civil Engineers has started engineers’ lounge “DOBOKU”. It consists of a presentation by the invited engineer who has experiences in overseas projects and a free-talking session with participants. The lounge provides opportunities to talk together about the difficulties and the challenges they have had in their projects and provide messages to young engineers who are going to be active overseas.

On 23rd December 2019, Fourth Engineers’ Lounge “DOBOKU” was held, inviting Dr. Thi Ha from NIPPON KOEI Co., Ltd. as a lecturer, and 15 participants discussed the human resources globalization in the civil engineering industry.

First, Dr. Thi Ha gave a lecture on "Living as an International Engineer ~Experience of an International Student~." He received a scholarship from Japan in 1994 and came to Japan to study civil engineering at Hiroshima University and obtained a Ph.D. After joining Nippon Koei in 2005, he worked for Research and Development Division and moved to Overseas Division in 2012. During those years, he as a consultant engineer engaged in overseas projects including the “Preparatory Survey for Port Expansion Project in Thilawa Zone, Myanmar” and “Lach Huyen Port Infrastructure Construction Project, Vietnam.” He also has strengthened the exchange between JSCE and Federation of Myammar Myanmar Engineering Societies (Fed. MES) , organizing several activities. Because of his achievements in those activites, he was recognied with the JSCE International Outstanding Collaboration Award, Myanmar Engineering Society Award, and ASEAN Engineer Award.

The Lounge participants made questions to Dr. Thi Ha such as a) the reasons for deciding to study abroad, b) his motivation for working in the Japanese engineering consultant firm for a long time, and c) requests for the Japanese civil engineering industry.

He replied as follows:

a) In the latter half of 1990, the democratization movement intensified in Myanmar, universities and colleges were suspended. Because of that, he decided to leave the country and continue his education abroad. He considered that social infrastructure was important for future Myanmar and chose civil engineering as his study field.

b) Continuing his challenging work was the main reason why he has been working in the civil engineering industry for 15 years.

c) In order to engage in domestic business, foreign engineers need to be certified as Professional Engineer (P.E.) in Japan. It is difficult for them to pass the qualification examination because they must write answers in Japanese at the examination given in Japanese. The examination should be written and answered in English.

There is no doubt that he has made every effort to "become a bridge between Myanmar and Japan as a civil engineer." Meanwhile, there are not many successful engineers from other countries like him around us. Here, we are convinced ourselves that it is necessary to create a place and environment where international students can take full advantage of their characteristics to work in the civil engineering industry in Japan.

Dr. Thi Ha Delivers a Presentation

Free-talking Session

【Reported by Shu Takahashi, Professional Development and Education Program Group, IAC】

Japanese Civil Engineers the Global Leaders Symposium Series No. 15
 “Railway Bridge Rehabilitation Project in Vietnam”

Nobuki Takasuka

The 15th Symposium was held on February 5, 2020, co-hosted by TEKKEN Corporation and the International Activities Center Project Group. This symposium, which began in 2014, has been well received every time as an opportunity to communicate the significance of the overseas expansion of civil engineering, especially to young engineers in Japan, and have them take an interest in the topic. For the 15th Symposium, 100 attendees gathered at the JSCE Hall. On this occasion, after a lecture entitled “Status of Overseas Expansion in the Railway Field” by Rikiya Asai, Deputy Director of the Railway Bureau & International Affairs Division of the Ministry of Land (MLIT), Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, three lectures were given from TEKKEN Corporation, which is rolling out infrastructure development projects mainly in Southeast Asia (Photo 1).


Mr. Asai of the MILT, Transport and Tourism said that the overseas railway market is worth about 25 trillion yen a year and was expected to further increase by around 2023. He emphasized on the superiority of Japan’s railway infrastructure technology in regards to its high level of safety and its life-cycle cost.

Since the company’s establishment, TEKKEN Corp. has grown with the strength of railway construction and has built a track record overseas such as through rail track duplication works and railway elevation works in Indonesia and subway construction in Taiwan. From 2010, TEKKEN Corp. has been involved in the renovation work of bridges located across 230 km of track, mainly in Da Nang, between the national railway of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam that were destroyed during the Vietnam War and continued to be used in the state they were in following emergency restoration. Mr. Suzuki, who was in charge of the construction, recalls the difficulties at the time of the project in that it was necessary to provide guidance to local staff, including on the accuracy of work and the concept of time, in order to do a lateral transfer installation of a tentatively assembled bridge next to the main line with the use of limited machinery and equipment under the severe construction conditions of removing the old bridge and installing a new one within 4 hours of the track being closed. Next, Ms. Saito, who is stationed in Battambang, Cambodia as an office worker, introduced the local life, culture, food and transportation situation with the use of videos. Then, Mr. Nakagawa, who has led TEKKEN’s overseas civil engineering business, explained future prospects for achieving business growth while continuing to contribute internationally through continuous support and training from safety to technology and quality.The lecture was concluded with the video messages (https://youtu.be/eOXKbZ9YonA), which were recorded by the TEKKEN Corporation employees and local staff who are currently engaged in overseas projects, followed by Ms. Saito's greeting in Cambodian, "Okunturan," which means "Thank you."

Video Shown at the End of the Lecture “Video from TEKKEN Global Site”

At the discussion after the lecture conference, the participants made a lively exchange of opinions and ideas how to support engineers to develop professional abilities and skills to support overseas projects where demands is growing as well as on the importance of utilizing foreign engineers.

Photo1 Lecture Conference

【Reported by Nobuki Takasuka, TEKKEN CORPORATION】

Committee of Infrastructure Planning and Management

The Committee of Infrastructure Planning and Management was established in August 1966 as one of the academic research groups (Research and Study Division) of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers.

The ‘environment’ in which we live is created by manipulating the natural environment with our hands in various ways. In other words, it is only through the development of ‘infrastructure’ such as roads and railways, ports and airports, water and sewage systems, parks, and dams and embankments that the environment of cities and regions that we have become accustomed to is created. Infrastructure planning and management is an academic discipline that considers how we should establish the ‘environment’ of our lives through the establishment, management, and operation of infrastructure in order for our society to prosper in a more desirable way without declining or perishing.

Needless to say, the state of our environment, which can be established through infrastructure establishment, management, and operation, has a decisive effect not only on the lives of each of us, but also on the ‘activity’ and ‘survival’ of all kinds of economic, social, and cultural activities in cities, regions, nations, and even the whole world. It also has a significant impact on the natural environment. When undertaking infrastructure development, it is also necessary to coordinate the interests of the people and organizations of whom will be affected. Infrastructure planning and management is the study of practically considering how to establish various ‘environments’ such as cities, regions, and territories, while, based on all of the above, taking a comprehensive look at all social scientific aspects such as economy, society, psychology, folklore, politics, and finances.

The Committee of Infrastructure Planning and Management is engaged in various activities with the aim of developing such infrastructure planning and management and enhancing its social contribution, as well as fostering individuals who can engage in its study and practice. More specifically, we are very active in holding the “Infrastructure Planning and Management Conference” twice a year, publishing academic journals, conducting public research subcommittee activities for a wide range of research themes, holding symposiums, one-day seminars, and research debate sessions at the annual meeting, and creating and running websites and mailing lists.

Committee of Infrastructure Planning and Management Website

【Reported by Satoshi Fujii, Secretary-General, Committee of Infrastructure Planning and Management】



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