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IAC News No.92, June 2020

Japan Society of Civil Engineers  International Activities Center June 1, 2020 IAC News No.92


Yoshihiro Kuwabara


◆ Background

Lach Huyen International Gateway Port Construction Project (hereinafter referred to as “Project”), which is located in the Lach Huyen Area, Cat Hai Island, Hai Phong City as a hub of international logistics at northern part of Vietnam, is the first public-private partnership (PPP) project between the government of Japan and Vietnam. The Project scope involves in construction of a container terminal with the depth of -14m and several relative infrastructures. As the utilization of PPP scheme, the port infrastructures such as reclamation, ground soil improvement and revetment for container terminal, dredging for improvement of navigation channel, breakwater and access bridge are constructed with the loan of Official Development Assistance (ODA) from Japan, and wharf, container yard pavement, and auxiliary buildings for port operation are constructed with the budget of private sector as port operator of this port. Furthermore, the construction of infrastructures are divided into 5 packages, two of which were carried out by our company in Joint Venture with other company. The construction of terminal infrastructure (reclamation, ground soil improvement, and revetment) as Package 6 of Project was executed with Toa Corporation as JV partner. And, the dredging for improvement of navigation channel (downstream portion) as Package 9 of Project was performed with Rinkai Nissan Construction Co., Ltd. as JV partner, respectively.

◆ Difficulty

The ability of safety management and quality management for the subcontractors in Vietnam has not reached to adequate reliability. Therefore, it is one of the important roles for Japanese engineers to work together with the subcontractors to improve and to advise for the implementation of the aforesaid management. Furthermore, we are buffled sometimes due to working under differences in culture, custom and language as generally for participating in overseas project. As Vietnamese basically tends to individualism rather than cooperativeness, the project shall be proceeded with putting such individualism members together as well as establishing the organization mainly on team-work basis inclusive of the subcontractors. At last, it is also quite important under overseas project to be familiar with Conditions of Contract which is as the bible to state the roles and responsibilities among the parties related to the project, in order to execute the project smoothly.

◆ Message to Young Generation’s Engineer

Participation in overseas project is to enable you to have wider view and thoughts under the condition of differences in climate, culture, custom and language as well as under diversity situation. I would appreciate if this contributed article may take your step forward for participating overseas project.

Project Outline and Location

View of Dredging for Navigation Channel by Own Dredging Fleets (Package 9)

General View of Lach Huyen International Gateway Port (Opening in 2018)

【Reported by Yoshihiro Kuwabara, General Manager of Vietnam Branch in International Business Unit,

The Asian Civil Engineering Coordinating Council (ACECC)
38th Executive Committee Meeting in Karachi, Pakistan

1. Overview

The Executive Committee Meeting (ECM), the highest decision-making body of the Asian Civil Engineering Coordinating Council (ACECC), was scheduled to be hosted by the Institution of Engineers, Pakistan (IEP) during March 12–13 in Karachi. However, since the beginning of February, due to changes in the situation in the region, the risk of travelling to Karachi has increased, and the spreading of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has become more serious, thereby making it difficult for many institutions to travel. As a result, the ECM was held as a video conference (Photo 1) for the first time in ACECC’s history.
The video conference saw a Technical Coordination Committee Meeting (TCCM) and a Planning CommitteeMeeting (PCM) held on March 12 in the morning and afternoon local time in Karachi in consideration of the time difference of each country. The ECM was held the following morning on March 13, in which discussions during the TCCM and PCM were approved by the representatives of each member academic society. This document reports on the main deliberations and report items approved by the ECM.

2. Technical Coordination Committee Meeting (TCCM)

At the Technical Coordination Committee Meeting (TCCM), there were reports on eight TC activities that are currently ongoing, and the content of each activity was approved. Among them, I reported on TC21 on behalf of JSCE, who acted as hosts. As the main activities in the second half of 2019, it was reported that a session was held at the World Bosai Forum in Sendai in November, and that the TC21 team was formed in Nepal. In addition, Co-Chair Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) reported that it is planning a TC21 seminar in conjunction with the next ECM in Manila in October 2020. TC24 (Gender and Development in Infrastructure) led by PICE is also planning to hold a seminar as well.

In addition, there was a request from TC17 (Anti-Corruption), which is back up and running from its suspended state, and TC25 (The Guidance of Civil Infrastructure Practitioners in the Design and Construction of Stabilized Pavements in the Asia-Pacific Region), which started its activities last year, to dispatch members to JSCE. In response to this, we are currently asking the Committee on Asian Civil Engineering Coordinating Council to select the right people.

3. Planning Committee Meeting (PCM)

(1) ACECC 20th Anniversary Message Book Open to the Public
It was reported that the ACECC 20th Anniversary Message Book was published on the website to commemorate the 20th anniversary of ACECC since its founding. It's a fine piece of work made up of 20 years of history and the memories of about 50 people involved in the organization. I encourage you to take a look.

Download link for the ACECC 20th Anniversary Message Book:

 (2) Future Leader Activity
 At the 38th ECM, with the help of Mr. Sohali Bashir (IEP), a new leader of the Future Leader Forum (FLF), a forum on the “United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” was scheduled to take place by bringing together not only the young members of the ACECC but also young members of UN agencies, etc. Unfortunately, in consideration of the increased risk of further spreading the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the forum was canceled and is now scheduled to be held on the first day of the next ECM.

 (3) The upcoming 39th ECM and 40th ECM
A program about the 39th ECM, which will be held in Manila from October 5 to 7, 2020, was introduced by the hosts PICE. In addition, Mr. Udai P. Singh (American Society of Civil Engineering: ASCE), who is set to be appointed as ACECC Secretary General, proposed the idea that he would like to set up a forum (Strategic Planning Session) to discuss the achievements of ACECC Tokyo Declaration 2019, which was declared at CECAR8 (The 8th Civil Engineering Conference in the Asian Region) held in April of last year. For this, it was decided that Mr. Singh compiles a detailed program and continues to discuss the matter via email.

 As a result of taking applications for the host country of the 40th ECM, the Chinese Institute of Civil and Hydraulic Engineering (CICHE) was nominated and unanimously approved. The 40th ECM will be held in Taipei from March 25 to 27, 2021.

4. Executive Committee Meeting (ECM)

 At the ECM, the aforementioned Strategic Planning Session was discussed again, but other matters were acknowledged.

5. Conclusion

I arranged an air ticket on January 23, but the world would fall into complete chaos a month or so later, and hosting of the ECM itself was put at risk. Under such circumstances, the hosting of the first video conference ECM was planned, and discussions were conducted as normal. I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Bashir and Secretary General Horikoshi (Photo 2), for their efforts in running the meeting. Although there are issues in adjusting the schedule due to the time difference, video conferences are likely to be an indispensable tool for future operations of the ACECC, where the number of member countries and regions is expected to increase.

Note: Please check the June issue of the JSCE Magazine for the detailed report.

Photo 1 ACECC Members Participate in the Video Conference

Photo 2 Secretary General Horikoshi Receives a Memento of the Occasion from Mr. Bashir of IEP (left) and Dr. Sarosh Hashmat Lodi (right), the dean of the NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karach

【Reported by Jun Izawa, Secretary General, Committee on ACECC】

Internationalization of Education in the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
College of Science and Engineering, Ritsumeikan University

WELLS, John Craig
Ritsumeikan University)

First, Ritsumeikan’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has long accepted foreign students to the Japanese language programs. About five students per year, mostly Chinese students who have studied Japanese language in Japan, enroll as undergraduates. Many continue to the Masters, and occasionally Doctoral, programs. Foreign students who did undergraduate studies in their countries also apply to enter our Graduate School. They are highly motivated, but we often wonder how to fairly evaluate applications, as they do not take the Japanese-language entrance examinations. (A similar issue applies to English-based programs, described next.) Personally, I see an opportunity to reform admissions to Japanese graduate schools based on some standardized national or international exam(s), like the American GRE.

Our degree programs in English are limited to the graduate level. In September 2001, our Graduate School of Science and Engineering established an International Masters Program, featuring four specialized courses with instruction and research supervision in English; 15 students typically enter yearly, mostly from Asia. In 2003, an International Doctoral Program was established. Masters students select classes from a common trunk including “Advanced Technology Management”, “Technical Japanese” etc., in addition to lectures in their specialization. A dominant issue has been scholarships. At first, many students got University-recommended scholarships from Japan’s MEXT ministry. Following nationwide cutbacks, our Graduate School no longer benefits from that program. However, students with scholarships from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), have increased overall. Concerning curriculum, Masters students could initially take any lecture class in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering in English. This arrangement put extreme demands on faculty time, and Japanese students’ comprehension often suffered from a switch to English, so the selection of classes has been streamlined to roughly ten classes per specialization. In my lectures on “Applied Vector Analysis” and “Advanced Hydraulics”, I speak slowly in English, with intermittent concise translation for Japanese students.

Promoting overseas study and research by Japanese students is as important as educating foreign students, but engineering students lack time for “semesters abroad”. Accordingly, our College offers short-term opportunities such as a 10-day “Taiwan Stay”, and our Department undertakes week-long “Overseas Study” technical excursions for both undergraduate and graduate students to Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, etc.), France and Holland (often with emphasis on planning and architecture), and Canada. A unique Project-Based Learning course is offered through Ritsumeikan’s RiSE India-Japan Project (launched with five years’ JSPS funding: www.ritsumei.ac.jp/reinventindia/en/). Student teams from Ritsumeikan and Indian Institute of Technology at Hyderabad collaborate to solve a technical challenge, with reciprocal visits of ten days each to the counterparts’ campus, interspersed by tele-collaboration, and are evaluated on final team presentations and reports.

For graduate students, our “Global-ready Graduate Program” systematically prepares students for research visits of one to five months in laboratories overseas, requiring them to make necessary contacts and plans themselves. Since 2007, over 400 graduate students, including many from our department, have grown through this opportunity.

Professors from our department form the core of Ritsumeikan’s Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage. Every summer, the “UNESCO Chair Program, International Training Course on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage” (http://www.r-dmuch.jp/en/project/itc.html) selects a dozen professional-level participants from around the world. Graduate students from Ritsumeikan participate as observers or supporters, and benefit from communication with participating international experts from this field.

As a final remark, those involved with international education cannot ignore the impacts of COVID-19. In the short term, several programs mentioned above have been cancelled this year, and one hopes they can resume next year along with admission of new foreign students. Despite the extreme challenges, notably budgetary, I hope that educational institutions, governments and international bodies will allocate necessary efforts to rebooting and reinventing “international education,” which is an indispensable driver of the regional and global collaborations necessary to Japan’s continued well-being , and to achievement of the United Nations’ SDGs for a decent future worldwide.


【Reported by WELLS, John Craig, Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
College of Science and Engineering, Ritsumeikan University 】



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