Dr. Teruo Higa, a professor at the University of the Ryukyus, dialogues with Okinawa Prefectural Governor Keiichi Inamine at the Governor's Office about the prospects and potential of EM technologies®.
What I like about EM® is that it transcends prefectural and national borders.
"Instead of scrambling to grab its share of the pie, EM® has increased the total size of the pie."
It provides us with a roadmap to sustainable models of tourism and economic growth.
"Visitors would come to our shores (Okinawa) to study our success. They would come to relax and rejuvenate themselves."
Dr. Teruo Higa
Professor of Agriculture (Emeritus)
University of the Ryukyus
From Okinawa to the World:
Mounting Excitement about the Potential of EM Technology®
EM Technology® harnesses the rejuvenative and restorative powers of 'effective microorganisms'. The technology has its roots in Okinawa but is now being used in over 130 countries around the world as a solution to a wide range of problems in agriculture, environmental remediation, manufacturing, health care, construction and the energy sector. Dr. Teruo Higa, the University of the Ryukyus professor who created EM® and Keiichi Inamine, the Governor of Okinawa, recently had the opportunity to volley thoughts on the possibilities presented by EM® both within and beyond Okinawa's borders.
Governor Inamine and Dr. Higa: A Dialogue
EM technologies® are now being used in over 130 countries across the globe. We have transitioned into the next stage in the evolution of EM® in which we are now focusing increased attention on training and education. At the world-renown Earth University in Costa Rica, for example, EM® has been incorporated across the boards into every curriculum of study. We now send visiting professors to that university to assist with their program development and implementation efforts.
In Chonju University in South Korea, construction of an EM Research Center was completed in September of 2003. The Center will initially focus its resources on growing pesticide-free Korean ginseng. According to the Chancellor, the University plans to invest approximately $10 million this year and another $20 million next year to build a 7-story building that will eventually house the University's new EM® Department. Courses are now being offered at Meio University here in Okinawa as well.
We are living in a time of tremendous change. Until now, we have been primarily concerned with economic efficiency and the tangible, quantifiable indicators of progress. Now, our attention is shifting towards recycling and people-friendly solutions to our environmental problems. This will require that we 'shift gears' on a large scale and will entail a great deal of change in all facets of the way we live and work.
As far as Okinawa is concerned, the Revitalization Plan released last year was characterized by a "1 nation, 2 systems" approach. This essentially means that Okinawa will need to formulate appropriate policies and develop an appropriate infrastructure. This will take effort. I've always believed that with effort, the future looks bright for Okinawa.
EM® has production facilities located inside Okinawa's Special Free Trade Zone. There are ways that we can build on the success of these Free Trade Zones to foster greater opportunity for economic development. We should certainly continue our efforts on this front.
In Europe and in the more historic areas of Japan, the tourist industry is largely driven by history. While Okinawa certainly has attractions such as Shureimon and a proud legacy of war history, these alone do not provide a sufficient motor to propel growth in the local visitor industry. I believe that we need to take the initiative in forging new models of tourism and industry in Okinawa.
In the city of Naha, an enterprising outfit called Trim Co., Ltd. has developed a method for converting scrap glass into versatile lightweight materials. EM® is collaborating with Trim to further expand the versatility of the recycled output.
We have also succeeded in converting EM®-treated livestock waste into high-grade organic fertilizers. With increased efforts in this arena, I believe Okinawa has the potential to become a model for pesticide-free, organic agriculture. This would generate a variety of benefits for Okinawa, not the least of which would be increased exports of agricultural produce.
If we were to implement your proposals, Governor Inamine, there is little doubt that we would stand to create a truly beautiful, economically self-sustaining and vital Okinawa. That would generate increased worldwide interest in Okinawa. Visitors would come to our shores to study our success. They would come to relax and rejuvenate themselves. They would come to invest. I'm convinced that the Governor's proposals provide us with a cohesive roadmap towards sustainable models of tourism and economic growth.
Dr. Higa, you just referred to Trim's groundbreaking efforts in the field of scrap glass recycling and to the collaborative efforts between Trim and EM®. The Okinawan Government is excited about the possibilities offered by combining Trim's recycling processes with EM technologies® in the arena of environmental cleanup. We are so excited, in fact, that we are moving forward with our own independent research. If we succeed in producing tangible results, we may stimulate widespread interest in this area.
I believe that the key lies in fully harnessing the powers inherent in nature. The city of Nago hosted the Japan-Pacific Islands Forum Summit Meeting (PIF Summit) in May of 2003. Delegates from around the world were impressed by Okinawa's successful efforts to eradicate the oriental fruit fly and the melon fly. It dawned on me that we may well see pest control technologies that rely on natural insect predators emerge as one of Okinawa's new industries.
What I like about EM® is that it transcends prefectural and national borders. Instead of scrambling to grab its share of the 'pie' here in Okinawa, EM® has increased the size of the pie by bringing in 'new pie' from the outside. That's what's got me really excited about EM®.
I never go a day without drinking EM® (EM-X®). The reason I've probably been able to withstand the pressures of this job as governor for 5 years now is that I haven't neglected to give my body what it needs.
Several years ago, several servicemen from Thailand participating in an EM® Conference in Okinawa paid a courtesy call to my office. After speaking with them at length, I learned that EM® had played a role in helping the Thailand authorities convert a stretch of land near the border known as "Devil's Triangle" that was used to grow drugs into a thriving, value-added agricultural district. In other words, agriculture helped to bring stability to a region that had been formerly plagued by incessant strife. This impressed me a great deal as it represented a concrete step in the direction of world peace.
In the upcoming EM® Festa, we expect participants from about 30 different countries. A variety of workshops will be held to discuss applications in the fields of agriculture and the environment as well as health care, construction and civil engineering.
There are full-fledged EM® facilities on Cheju Island in Korea, on the island of Bali in Indonesia and on Hainan Island in China. These facilities conduct innovative research and are helping to spread the word about EM® and EM technologies®. It is particularly encouraging to witness the important role played by foreign students who have studied here in Okinawa. I am excited about the prospects for increased international exchange between Okinawa and these three islands.
If the prefectural government is to get involved in a project, we have to first amass a substantial body of convincing data in order to satisfy the public at large. That's why we are currently in the process of conducting detailed research.
We are working closely with the prefectural government on the Yuhigawa River Cleanup Project. This project involves using EM® to control livestock waste and odors from the upstream livestock growing areas in order to improve water quality in the river. We are also building out our EM® production infrastructure in the Special Free Trade Zone. These are just a couple of ways in which we currently enjoy the proactive support of the Okinawan government.
In terms of more recent developments, Professor Emeritus Kazuhiko Atsumi of Tokyo University, who serves as Chairman of the Japanese Society for Integrative Medicine, has indicated his desire "to build a model facility for integrative medicine in Okinawa, pulling together the best of what the various medical disciplines have to offer". One of the goals of the EM Research Organization is to cure illness holistically without the use of vaccinations, surgery or medicines with harmful side effects. The EM Research Organization has plans to renovate the old Sheraton Hotel in Kitanakagusuku Village to serve as the headquarter offices for the Society. Our plan is to exhibit a wide range of state-of-the-art, EM®-based health care technologies. The project is slated to break ground next year.
Despite the reality of leaner government budgets in these tight fiscal times, my administration's commitment to promote science and technology has led us to support increased expenditure on the R&D front. One dimension of this is the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST). In an effort to encourage the creation of research facilities in Okinawa, we also opened the doors to the Okinawa Center for Health and Biotechnology Research and Development in August 2003.
In addition to these new facilities, I am also eager to expand on the existing Tropical Technocenter as well as other existing technology-enabling infrastructure in Okinawa. The key to Okinawa's success will lie in how effectively we are able to combine and build upon our resources. With enabling technologies and suitable facilities, there is very real potential for economic development and revitalization in Okinawa. It is my hope to fully harness this potential and proactively expand on it.
The EM Research Organization is also an active supporter of WUB, the Worldwide Uchinanchu Business Association. At the upcoming EM® Festa, we will hold the "First EM® International Business Fair". A variety of products will be on display at the Fair, including functional food products and soaps, motor oil and Kyoto chirimen fabrics. I am confident that we will be able to utilize the WUB network to pioneer a wide range of distribution channels for Okinawan products. The possibilities are intriguing.
With the proper approach, the WUB represents a valuable network to Okinawa. A company that belongs to WUB Osaka recently pulled together a major soy bean deal with Colonia Okinawa in Bolivia. This is just one example of the lucrative business potential offered by the WUB network.
Governor Inamine, I certainly hope you'll be able to spend some time with us at the upcoming EM® Festa. EM® has the ability to bring out the good in the natural world around us. I look forward to watching EM® continue to help give shape to a world based on principles of balance, wisdom and sustained development.