Toyama Prefecture Delegation in Oregon

Consul General Okabe, Governor Kitzhaber, Vice-Governor Uede, Vice-Chairman Yokoyama, and Mr. Natsuno

The original version of this article was written for the Vol.5-No.8 edition (November 25, 2011) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

From October 31st to November 5th, a delegation from Toyama – including Vice-Governor Uede – visited Oregon in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the sister state relationship. The schedule was full of valuable, productive meetings where we discussed exchange activities between Oregon and Toyama. However, I would like to share with you two special events that occurred on November 2nd as part of the delegation’s visit.

Toyama Manga Library at Mt. Tabor Middle School in Portland, Oregon

On Wednesday, November 2nd, the delegation from Toyama stood among students, teachers, and staff at the Mt. Tabor Middle School library for the presentation ceremony of the Toyama Manga Library.

With the manga books neatly laid out on a long table, Assistant Principal Jason Breaker was present to begin the ceremony with a warm welcome. Then, Vice-Governor Uede of Toyama Prefecture said a few words. There were eager nods from the students when he mentioned Doraemon, a popular manga series included in the collection. All of the 442 manga books have some connection to Toyama and features Fujiko Fujio, the writing duo that created Doraemon.

The official certificate representing the entire gift was handed to the Assistant Principal, and the explanatory display was handed to a beaming student.

Also in attendance at the ceremony were exchange students from Fukuno Middle School and Fukumitsu Middle School, both located in Nanto City in Toyama Prefecture. The sixteen students were spending a week in Portland, staying with host families and attending classes. This yearly exchange between the schools began in 2000 as a natural result of the exchange between Fukuno Elementary School and Richmond Elementary School. Students in the Japanese immersion program at Richmond move into the immersion program at Mt. Tabor.

All of the manga books in the Toyama Manga Library are in Japanese, and we hope that the books will aid Japanese language learning as well foster an interest in Toyama Prefecture.

Toyama-Oregon 20th Anniversary Celebration Reception

Soon after the delegation left Mt. Tabor Middle School, we reconvened at the official residence of the Consul-General of Japan in Portland for the celebration reception.

This event was co-hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan in Portland and the Toyama Prefectural Government, and the evening began with welcoming remarks from Consul General Okabe and Vice-Governor Uede representing the reception hosts. Tim McCabe, Director of the Oregon Business Development Department, gave a few words on behalf of Oregon. Then, it was Vice-Chairman Yokoyama of the Toyama Prefecture Assembly who led the toast.

Guests had the opportunity to try local Toyama sake, and Mr. Masuda, president of the Masuda Sake Brewery, was there to introduce his sake. The food served at the reception was a unique Oregon-Toyama fusion cuisine specially designed by Chef Naoko, and allowed for interesting flavor combinations such as kacchiri made from organic Oregon potatoes, kale with sesame garnish, and masu-zushi (pressed sushi) made with wild salmon. A short but powerful performance by Portland Taiko further energized the evening with a drum duet and a traditional Japanese fishermen’s dance.

More than seventy people were in attendance, including First Lady of Oregon Cylvia Hayes and Mayor Peter Truax of Forest Grove (sister city of Nyuzen Town in Toyama Prefecture).

Toyama specialty food masu-zushi using Oregon wild salmon


Toyama’s Medicine Delivery System Adopted by Mongolian Government

Originally written for the Vol.5-No.8 edition (November 25, 2011) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

The haichiyaku system of medicine delivery has a history of over 300 years in Toyama. Beginning this coming January, it will be officially established as a project of the Ministry of Health of Mongolia. The program first began when the non-profit group Vansemberuu-Mongolia, supported by the philanthropic organization the Nippon Foundation, started the “Promotion of Traditional Medicine in Mongolia” project in 2004. Since then, medicine kits have been delivered to twenty thousand households (approximately 100,000 people).

Toyama’s haichiyaku system of selling medicine has a unique “Use first, pay later” feature. In this method, a full medicine kit is left in the home, and then on the medicine peddler’s next visit, they would collect payment only for the medicine that was used, and replenish the box. When the Mongolian government consulted with the Nippon Foundation in 2004 on how to improve their public health system, they turned their attention toward the haichiyaku system. After discussions with pharmaceutical businesses in Toyama and the Toyama-Mongolia Friendship Association, the haichiyaku system was put into effect in Mongolia. Twelve types of traditional Mongolian medicine such as digestive medicines and fever medicines, a medical thermometer, bandages, cotton pads, and adhesive bandages are included in each of the medicine kits. Each box is valued at approximately 10USD. Doctors and nurses deliver these to area households, and later collect payment and replenish supplies. Upon these visits, people also have the opportunity to discuss their medicine or health.

Handbooks with explanations of medicine and instructions on preventive medicine are also available, and the use of first aid and preventive medicine is spreading. The medicine kits are proving to be effective in improving and maintaining the health of Mongolians; districts report up to a 45.2 percent decrease in doctor requests from nomadic households. The Mongolian government noted the success of the program and decided to take control of it as an official government program. This will mark the first time an international cooperation project of the Nippon Foundation will be transferred into a state program. The Mongolian government plans to make deliveries to sixty thousand families within fourteen years, and aims to eventually reach all nomadic citizens (about 170,000 families).

Every year since 2006, Mongolian doctors have been visiting Toyama to study the haichiyaku system. This October, a group of fifteen Mongolians – including doctors who will be delivering medicine kits to nomadic families – visited Toyama. After training at the prefectural government, they visited clients with staff from the Mizuhashi Household Medicine Cooperative, and were able to observe how medicine delivery and payment collection is done. The Mongolian trainees also visited the University of Toyama’s Institute of Natural Medicine, Toyama Health Park, and pharmaceutical companies.

With the success of the haichiyaku system in Mongolia, other countries – Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos – have started or are planning to start implementing similar programs as well.

Source (article and photo): Toyama Just Now