What our students had to say

The PAHSA Nagasaki Short Study Program took place from 9-19 February 2015 at Japan's Nagasaki University. The title of the program was "Human Security and Global Health: Lessons from Nagasaki, Japan. 

Students were offered a unique opportunity to learn comprehensively about some of the critical issues that affect peace and human security in Nagasaki and its neighboring areas. There was a special focus on health and human well-being against diseases, disaster, and environmental issues. The number of participants on the program was 12 in total; two students from each of the six consortium partner universities in Southeast Asia.

This is the story of the program as told by PAHSA students from Southeast Asia universities


The field trip to Nagasaki  Peace Park


Today is the first day of the PAHSA Short Program at Nagasaki University and it was an early start. We are staying at the New Urakami hotel in Nagasaki and we all assembled early in reception, including newcomers that I hadn't met and we headed for breakfast after swift introductions.

As most of us are from Southeast Asia, a Japanese-style breakfast was a new experience for us, but of course, it was delicious. Another new experience was the temperature in Nagasaki, tropical Southeast Asia is really much warmer. It was certainly chilly on the short walk to the university that we had to make before the program kicked off. To start the program, things began with the general orientation, the opening remarks and then the first lecture.

After we were settled lectures started. The main seminars and events of the day took place in a comfortable lecture theater at Nagasaki University. Lecturers from Japan, Korea and Thailand spoke on the theme of the day, Human Security and Global Health. The breath of knowledge from the international presenters was fascinating, all of the students were taking notes furiously.

During the lunch break we headed to a modern cafeteria on the ground floor of the university, and (again) we had really good food. We tried 'soba', a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat, and some of us marveled how Japanese rice is so different to the rice back home.

After lunch and a quick photo session in front of Nagasaki University, we then headed back to the seminar hall where things became much more focused. During the afternoon session we talked about our main theme, the issue that particular interested us in the field of Peace and Human Security. That was followed by a round table discussion. For many of us, this kind of learning was a new experience; it was highly participative but still the lecturers were there guiding it. This was very different form the more passive style that is normal as a class participant. Once we were offered this kind of freedom, many of the students became very engaged in the round-table discussion.

"It had been an amazing day, we learned so much"

When the academic side of things finished, Nagasaki students and lectures treated us to a welcome dinner. There was lots of delicious food and none of us could hold back once we saw SUSHI!

Finally, almost 12 hours after leaving the hotel early that morning, we returned exhausted guided by Yoko, the PAHSA coordinator. Walking back, many of us finally had time to reflect. It had been an amazing day, we learned so much as the foundation was put down for the rest of the program. Tomorrow will be the first field rip and we're all looking forward to that. It is no exaggeration to say we can’t wait for the next day to come.


Introductions on the first morning of day one


Day two of the PAHSA Short Program in Peace and Human Security at Nagasaki University began with an emotionally evocative tour of the Nagasaki Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum. While touring the Park, we not only learned of the destructive power of the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, but also of the history of conflict and cooperation surrounding this tragic event.

With the epicenter of the nuclear blast located in the center of the park, it was a surreal experience to compare the pictures of the destructive power of this event with the present day setting of beautiful gardens and landscapes. Additionally, the structures that survived this nuclear blast provided tangible evidence for us to develop a deeper appreciation of the destructive power of this event.

Following the outdoor portion of the Peace Park, we toured the Atomic Bomb Museum. This museum proved to be rich in artifacts and documentation from the atomic bomb blast of 9 August 1945. We found many objects that would have been inconceivable had we not seen them with our own eyes - the exterior of a building with a silhouette of a human figure cast by the immense heat of the nuclear blast; glass which had been melted into a twisted ball and also contained human bone fragments; a picture of a 10-year-old boy with his dead infant brother slung across his back as he carried him to be cremated. Even as passive observers of these objects, these images will remain etched in our memories and hearts - the physical, mental, and emotional pain experienced by the actual victim of this disaster is beyond our imagination.

"The effects of the nuclear attack were irreconcilable: Things cannot be unseen, and family members cannot be reinserted into the lives that others have led since their deaths"

The tour of the Peace Park and Atomic Museum culminated with the personal testimony from a living survivor of the nuclear blast - Mr. Yoshiro Yamawaki.

At the time of the blast, Mr. Yamawaki was 11 years old, his mother and younger siblings had fled the city while his father and older brother remained to work in the local factories in support of the war effort. Following the nuclear explosion, Mr. Yamawaki and his brothers tried to locate their father, but found him dead. After the traumatic experience of trying to cremate their father by themselves, the three boys had to say goodbye to their father with the last visual memory of his partially incinerated body etched in their minds.

At the time of the blast, Mr. Yamawaki was 11 years old, his mother and younger siblings had fled the city while his father and older brother remained to work in the local factories in support of the war effort. Following the nuclear explosion, Mr. Yamawaki and his brothers tried to locate their father, but found him dead. After the traumatic experience of trying to cremate their father by themselves, the three boys had to say goodbye to their father with the last visual memory of his partially incinerated body etched in their minds.

In the years that followed, Mr. Yamawaki and his brothers continued to deal with the long-term health effects of the radiation fallout from the blast. Throughout his testimony it was clear that the emotional effects of the nuclear attack were irreconcilable - things cannot be unseen, and family members cannot be reinserted into the lives that they have led since their deaths. Though Mr. Yamawaki experienced great loss and suffering, he is an inspirational example of turning tragedy into triumph - former Japanese PM KAN named him Special Commentator for a World Without Nuclear Weapons and he has shared his powerful story with thousands of people.

Following the excursion in the Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum, the PAHSA students attended a lecture by Prof. Hiromichi Umebayashi on the Denuclearization of East Asia. This technical lecture covered the physics of nuclear weapons, and the history of many international political issues surrounding the development and attempted reduction of nuclear weapons. Prof. Howe also offered fresh insight into several ways that nuclear disarmament can be achieved, namely in reference to the current North Korean effort to gain long-range nuclear warhead deliver capability.

The day was concluded with a roundtable discussion between Prof. Matsuyama, Prof. Howe, Dr. Patcharanarumol and the PAHSA students. During this session, many of the students offered very personal experiences that were relevant to today's topics. This exchange proved to be very stimulating and helped to solidify new concepts and perspectives for all individuals.

"With today being such an impactful and emotionally evocative day, we are all eager to begin tomorrows exploration"


Today is the third day of PAHSA Short Program in Peace and Human Security at Nagasaki University and we spent most of the day on a field trip, although later in the day we regrouped at the university and discussed the day's events. It was a precious time to learn more about Japanese culture and Nagasaki's fascinating history.

First, we went to Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture. When touring the Museum, we not only got to known the historical connections between China and Nagasaki, but also learned more about the influences from Europe's trade and Christianity in Nagasaki, a port city. It is a spot that brought modernization from abroad to Japan. It made me realize how Nagasaki became open for foreigners, both for trade and to share in the religions of Buddhism and Christianity. Besides this, Nagasaki also has another key influencer, China, and particularly Chinese culture; this is still seen today alongside the Western cultural influences. Indeed, even though we now live in a globalized world, earlier influences can still be distinctly felt here. This is apparent with the thriving Chinatown and the well-kept Christian churches.

After we visited the museum, we then separated into two groups. Group A went to Japanese temple while Group B visited the Western church. I was in Group A. It was fantastic to see a Japanese temple that was combined in its construction with the Chinese style. From the decoration of temple, I could feel the culture fusion between China and Japan. Moreover, I tasted traditional Japanese tea and we tried our hand at making it. When the meaning of the tea bowl was explained to us, we were impressed by the enriched meaning of the tea ceremony and the significance of tea in Japan.

The next stop was to Dejima museum. We learned here about a Fan-shaped artificial island that connected Japan with the world, it was constructed in 1636, and for more than 200 years during Japan’s period of isolation, Dejima acted as the only window open to overseas trade. There were many westerners that lived and traded here. We leaned that despite the perception that Japan was cut off, in this way, Japan was open to trade in this limited way.

After our field trip, we had a round table discussion. Today’s topic was about the foreigners’ community in Nagasaki and the relationship between Japan, China, and Korea.

Assoc. Prof Satoh also explained the reasons why some Japanese still pay respect at the Yasukuni shrine. We got to known more about Japanese beliefs and traditions. It was also good to discus the thriving Chinese community in Nagasaki. Chinatown in Nagasaki is the best witness to the good relations at the people-to-people level in the local community

Chinatown in Nagasaki is the best witness to the good relations at the people-to-people level in the local community

Despite the difficulties that are reported in the Japan/China relationship, there are good relations at the people-to-people level in the local community, the Chinese New Year Festival and Lantern Festival in Nagasaki are also good examples here. Given what we’ve seen today, I feel positive that the connection between Japan and China could tighten in a positive manner if the two country’s peoples had the opportunity to get known each other better. This I suppose is also the thinking behind the PAHSA Program. Knowing and understanding one another builds bridges, and bridges are key components for Peace and Human Security.

We’re all looking forward to the rest of the program!


Nagasaki is seen decorated with Chinese lanterns


Today is the fourth day of the PAHSA Short Term Program in Peace and Human Security at Nagasaki University. It was a full day of lectures focusing on health care and gender issues as important components of human security. Everyone was looking forward to learn the various contexts and strategies on improving the human security through health care program and gender sensitive approaches vis-à-vis the experience of Japanese community.

The first lecture was an overview of Japan's health system, which was delivered by Dr. Rie Fujita. The presentation was very informative. The baseline of the lecture gave us a view of the Japanese population and their changing demographic trends, specifically about the two generational peaks, then the decline of fertility, and the rapid aging of the Japanese population. We also learned that the Japan's healthcare system was gradually shaped by the pro-active initiatives to the challenges of acute infections, chronic infections and maternal and child healthcare, post-war acute infections, lifestyle and environmental-occupational diseases, and population decline and aging. As a result, Japan’s life expectancy is one of the highest in the world --- a proof of an efficient and equitable healthcare system.

Nonetheless, some tricky issues were also presented such as the huge decline of children born and the increasing medical cost for the elderly. The latter is pro-actively addressed through the promotion of preventive medicine, healthy diet and lifestyle, re-structuring the employment pattern for the elderly and supplementary tax. While the issue of declining population is sought to be solved by creating more employment opportunities for the young people so that they will be encouraged to stay together and make families. The sharing after the lecture was also enriching and gave us an understanding that health is an essential element of human security, hence, socio-cultural, economic, and political dimensions of every society form a synergetic role to be able to provide a reliable health care program.

The second lecture about maternity and child health on Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture was delivered to us by Dr. Kazuyo Oishi. In a narrative manner, she eloquently told us the stories of mothers and midwives while comparing the two cases of Goto and Oshima Islands. The cases enlightened us about how geographical distance, social background, and access to resources influence the maternal and child health practices of certain communities.

"Every individual has entitlement to freedom from fear, freedom from want, and freedom to live in dignity"

The last lecture for the day was about gender and human security, it was given by Dr. Miho Omi. Every individual has entitlement to freedom from fear, freedom from want, and freedom to live in dignity. It was stressed in the lecture that these principles of human security must always be upheld beyond the physical and socially determined characteristics of persons.

However, the lecture also confirmed to us a sociological fact — that certain social structures create vulnerabilities, hence, we must learn to be understanding and compassionate to addressing the needs of vulnerable groups. In explaining this issue, the case of women in evacuation centers after natural disasters was tackled. All of us in the class were able to connect because we came from countries that experienced disasters and we observed how women were put in unsafe and vulnerable situations due to lack of gender sensitive leadership and policies. Thus, this awareness inspired us to be more supportive and active in educating others and to live a life that has more room for acceptance and caring even to those who challenge our definitions.

After the enriching lectures, we went for a very long walk and enjoyed a cable car ride to the top of Mt. Inasa. Yes, it was very cold and tiring, but there couldn’t be a better way to end a day but to see the elegance of modern Nagasaki.

"After the Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis following the tsunami in 2011, the Japanese government had to face with many dire issues"


Today was the fifth day of the PAHSA Short Program on Peace and Human Security at Nagasaki University. The mains lectures were about radiation health effects and countermeasures by Nagasaki University's Dr. Noboru Takamura, and the decision process for Japan's health and medical policy by Dr. Hideyuki Kobayashi (from the Ministry of Environment).

The topics were very interesting for developing countries because we could learn many points that might need to be addressed as our countries develop.

The first topic looked at radiation health effects and countermeasures. Some examples we looked at were the radiation from the atomic bombing and the disasters at the Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear power plants. Although nuclear power has many benefits it can also bring risks too. It is well known that radiation could cause cancer and other diseases.

After the Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis following the tsunami in 2011, the Japanese government had to face with many dire issues. It dealt with some of these problems quite well, perhaps others less so. A positive example was the way that the Japanese government communicated with its people in times of crisis, and also in the way evacuations took place. This is the kind of experience that is good to share.

The second topic of the day was to look at health and medical policy in Japan. There was an awful lot of ground to cover here, especially when the historical context of the lecture was considered, for example, after World War II until now. The Japanese pay tax for social security and the extensive medical care system, yet there are still issues with financial constraints, the expectation of patients, the cost involved in the development of new medical equipment, the validity of health policy base on neo-liberal principles, and the dilemma of administrative regulation and decentralization. Every one of these problem has to be faced in practice.

Ending the lecture session, we learned about the Minamata Disease, this was because we're going to visit a Minamata site in tomorrow.

And finally to round off the day we looked at the topic of marriage and the changing attitudes of Japanese women in a more informal discussion. There has been a shift in attitudes in Japan and fewer women are marrying and taking the traditional role of housewives. But although women’s attitudes have changed, the same cannot always be said for men and some still see the traditional role of wives as homemakers and caregivers. Coming from Southeast Asia, many of us on the program could say similar issues are encountered in out home countries. It was an interesting discussion.

Overall, the fifth day of the program was a very good day. We’re all looking forward to tomorrow’s field trip.


An early start for the field trip on day six


Today is the sixth day of the PASHSA Short Term Program on Peace and Human Security at Nagasaki University. The day started with a long coach journey, almost five hours in to travel from Nagasaki for the Minamata Field Trip. (It was also Valentine's Day … the day of love.) We would have the opportunity to spend this special day finding out about the story of the Minamata Disease as well as praying for those who fell victims to it.

Ms. Aiko NISHI was our guide for the day and provided us with information guidelines as well as the story of the Minamata Disease, including the cause and effect. The disease was caused by contaminated fish which was caused by a factory discharge (the Chisso factory) and it had a massive effect on human health and included fatalities.

Through the experience of the story of the disease, we could see that to overcome a problem such as this, many actions and efforts are needed from individual citizens and as well as the authorities. In addition, time is also needed to bring about a resolution. It is also important that the voice of the victims should not be forgotten. Even though Japan did quite well in controlling and solving this problem, issues remain. The question of compensation for the victims is still unanswered as there are still issues in identifying those harmed.

"With a disaster such as this, the voice of the victims should not be forgotten"

The Minamata case is also a good lesson for developing countries to learn from so as to avoid similar pitfalls in times of disaster. We have to balance between economic gains and the environment, and this is especially true when people's lives and long-term health are affected.

Over the day, everyone seemed totally focused on the field trip. The story of how the patients suffered is a tragic one and there was much to learn. But after a long day and a 6am start, we were happy to arrive back at the hotel. But the best part was that waiting for everyone was a small bag of chocolate from the hotel as a gift for Valentine’s Day. Thank you very much!

And finally, and on a more somber note, may the victims’ souls of the Minamata disease victims rest in peace.

14 FEBRUARY 2015

A perfect end to day six
"LOVE. Minamata taught us the value of


Day 6 is day LOVE

LOVE. Today is hearts day, Valentine's Day. As people all over the globe commemorate their loved ones, the Nagasaki PAHSA students were all-geared up, ready to visit Minamata—to discover history, to unravel pandora's box and to share our LOVE.

LOVE. Minamata taught us the value of HEALTH and ENVIRONMENT.

Settled is the fact that methyl mercury from the Chisso company was dumped into large bodies of water and infected sea creatures, a primary source of food for the locals, and caused the Dancing Cat Disease or the globally identified MINAMATA DISEASE. To understand what transpired, to see where it all came from not just in the history books and journals, first-hand experience is LOVE.

LOVE. It all started when the government opens its doors to big companies, to induce tax, the life-blood of every government; to give jobs to the locals, and providing them with sustenance. Kumamoto prefectural government gave Chisso Company a very good deal, a deal too good to be ignored. Thus, the latter constructed their company in the area. When things were going well, revenue for a company pours-in big time, and the locals were silent because there were jobs and food was on their tables—it was LOVE.

LOVE. Nature has its own way to raise the flag over humanity’s unrestrained behavior.

As the company strove for profits and continued to dump chemical waste into major water pathways, death came to the fish and other organisms; the source of the local’s food was tainted. Ordinary people, the consumers of the sea, became the primary recipients of the disease. Then things became shaky and doomed, it was LOVE.

LOVE. Deaths after deaths. This seemed to be the cycle at the time, but this incident brought mortal awareness to people, especially to politicians. They learned the dangers of seeking short cuts to welfare and economic gains and prosperity at any cost. For what is good when the body is dead. For there’s no government when there’s no people. Health is wealth. Health is LOVE.

LOVE. We only have one home, one environment, and one Earth to live and care for. There is an uncountable number of other planets in the universe, but we only have one EARTH. Nature knows when it needs to retaliate. Why wait for another tragedy to occur? Why wait other deaths to be tallied? Why not stop abusing the environment? Why not co-exist with nature peacefully?

The answer is LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.


The memorial monument located in the Seaside Park Eco Park of Minamata


Today was a day devoted to learning and sharing with the people of Minamata at the Open Research Center for Minamata Studies. During the long and difficult history of the Minamata Disease, there have been many people involved in recovering from this tragedy. Part of this recovery process involved the dedication of local and external volunteers who combine their capabilities to create solutions for the wide range of problems caused by Chisso Corporation's methylmercury pollution.

The first lecture was given by Professor Masanori Hanada, entitled "60 Years of Minamata Disease Experience: What are the Lessons?" Prof. Hanada clarified that the Open Research Center for Minamata Studies utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to resolving current issues that have arisen from the Minamata crisis – they do not limit their activities to the disease itself. Prof. Hanada then explained several important aspects of the Minamata Disease history, ranging from national level politics to the experiences of the local populations.

One of the most important lessons of this Minamata situation was that quick governmental and corporate action to reduce toxicity exposure could have prevented the vast majority of Minamata disease cases. Professor Shigeharu Nakachi followed with his presentation on "Mercury Treaty and Problems of Minamata." In this presentation he discussed the current U.N. treaty being considered on the restriction and elimination of mercury in most industrial processes. He also explained the health and ecological background on the Minamata disease.

Initially in 1932 when acetaldehyde production began, the government and Chisso could have claimed ignorance of the harmful effects of methylmercury toxicity. This plausible deniability evaporated quickly within the first few years of the start of Chisso's toxic dumping. Local fishermen and academic sources provided sufficient information to educate all parties on the dangers of methylmercury.

Unfortunately, the Minamata catastrophe occurred mostly because the national government was primarily concerned about increasing economic productivity and reducing the trade deficit while the private entrepreneurs were eager to capitalize on the growing demand for acetaldehyde derivative chemical products. In 1951, Chisso modified that oxidization process for creating acetaldehyde, which in turn greatly increased the dumping of methylmercury waste into the local water systems. After decades of government and corporate cover-ups, in 1956 the first two officially recognized cases of Minamata disease was documented for two young girls. From this point, the number of methylmercury toxicity cases increased exponentially, but the Chisso corporation and the Japanese local and national government put forth great effort to undermine the claims of these victims. This was a direct result of the dominance that Chisso held in the local and national level politics. It was not until several decades later that the central government and Chisso corporation started to compensate and provide support systems for the victims in a meaningful manner, albeit this was somewhat reluctantly.

Many people still claim to be Minamata sufferers but have not been able to receive the official government certification as a Minamata patient. Currently there are just under 2,800 certified Minamata patients, while over 65,000 people have applied for certification. This is a widespread problem that will continue for several more decades.

"One of the most important lessons of this Minamata situation was that quick governmental and corporate action could have prevented the vast majority of Minamata disease cases"

Following the formal presentations, a local resident provided their personal testimony as an officially certified Minamata patient. As a Minamata sufferer and patient since the age of 15, the speaker was able to relate their long experience of dealing with the physical, mental, and emotional impact of this serious impairment. Though they experienced many hardships in life, great fortitude could be admired in maintaining a positive attitude. The first lesson they wanted to impart on us was that the vast majority of Minamata disease cases could have been avoided if the government and Chisso Corporation would have at least informed the public of the dangerous presence of mercury in the local water systems. Secondly, they wanted each of the Nagasaki Program participants to take the lessons learned from the Minamata experience back to our home countries to ensure that such devastation does not occur again.

The day was concluded with a roundtable discussion about today’s topics. Each participant was eager to relate their experiences from their home country. This offered everyone a chance to learn of the many challenges that each of our countries face while trying to balance necessary economic development with ensuring human security.


Kumamoto Castle is considered one of the three premier castles in Japan


Today is the last day in Kumamoto and it's time to return to Nagasaki.

This morning we all woke refreshed after a great sleep in a traditional village. Rising early to the sound of a flowing waterfall, and simultaneously seeing the winter forest next to the window, Feb 16, 2015, had an unforgettable start to the day.

After breakfast and taking a group photo, the Nagasaki bus pulled out of the traditional village at 9:00 am. Two and half hours passed before we arrived at Kumamoto city; there we had yet another delicious lunch.

Having been told that Kumamoto is famous for its large and ancient castle, we were all eager to see it. There was no official guide available, but the information handouts offered some general background about the ancient construction. This history of the castle is long, dating back to the late 14th century. Throughout the decades that traversed many periods and governors, the castle greatly expanded its size, towers, and gates. One remarkable event took place in the 1960s when the castle was reconstructed in concrete. A further major reconstruction took place from 1998 to 2008. Yet despite the reconstructions, several ancillary wooden buildings remain of the original castle and Kumamoto Castle is considered one of the three premier castles in Japan. It is truly spectacularly impressive in its stature.

The castle visit ended at 2:30 pm, and after that we headed back to the bus to continue our journey. I'm sure, like others on the program, I had time to reflect on this wonderful field trip on this long return coach journey. Finally we pulled in at Nagasaki at 6pm and felt ready to rest and prepare for the final days of the program.


Today is the eighth day of the PAHSA Short Term Program on Peace and Security at Nagasaki University and it's different experience. We were given the opportunity to experience historical domains that are part of Japan's rich culture.

A feel of a rural village in Japan ...

After a relaxing sleep in a traditional Japanese guest house and using the Japanese bed, known as the shikifuton, we started our morning with a simple honored breakfast but indeed a superb one. While eating, students shared their experience of using the Japanese style of public baths, known as onsen. As almost all of the participants were first-time travelers to Japan, the onsen was new to them and the experience was worth sharing and something to remember given the etiquette and customary behavior attached to the practice of bathing.

After breakfast we were given the chance to walk around and see the neighborhood, feel the morning breeze, and witness the very simple and modest living in a rural village in Japan, away from the pressure and worries of modern city living. At 9am, we left the village to visit Kumamoto Castle.

A visit to the City of Kumamoto and the Kumamoto Castle…

Kumamoto Castle is located in the City of Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu. As we entered Kumamoto City, were able to witness the highly urbanized city. There were modern and tall buildings, many department stores, restaurants and bars, and busy streets with luxury cars on the roads. Kumamoto Castle is located at the centre of Kumamoto City and it is quite remarkable how they were able to reconstruct and maintain the structure in the middle of a modern and highly urbanized city.

"Looking around, we could still see the modest living in rural villages with its customs and traditions still alive and being practiced by the local people"

Upon seeing the Castle from afar, excitement builds as it is said to be one of the premiere castles in Japan. Setting foot through its main gate, eagerness to see what is inside escalates among visitors. The excitement was worth it. With its large castle grounds and a variety of buildings, we were surprised by its impressive stone walls and moats, its extraordinary underground passage that leads to the palace building, and the extravagant room in the Honmaru Goten Palace building. While many sections of the buildings are modern reconstructions, these reconstructed parts are of high quality and some are totally extraordinary. Inside the Castle, a visitor will enjoy the experience of looking though some of the windows of Japanese history.

Respecting the History and Preserving the traditions in Modern Japan…
Today’s visit to these places was very enriching and helped us to see the contrasts of living in Japan… the life in a rural village against a life in a modern and highly urbanized society.

While as outsiders we may see today’s Japan as a developed, progressive, and an advanced country, looking around we could still see simple and modest living in rural villages with its customs and traditions still alive and being practiced by the local people. The effort to reconstruct Kumamoto Castle in respect of the past and the history of Japan could not have been an easy task. It must have required great resources, imagination, and the support from government and the people of Japan to make it happen.

Respecting, cherishing and preserving the beauty of Japan’s history and culture is a gift. It is a gift for the present generation, but also for the future children of Japan and the world to see.


A nursing home for sufferers of the atomic bomb in Nagasaki


Today we had the last lecture and field trip of this program. In the morning, we found out about community-based care for the elderly in Japan. The speaker was Ms. Kiyomi Jinno who has decades of experience in taking care of the elderly. The lecture was both fun and inspiring. Students simulated the movement of senior people with special gear and tasted their food.

"This experience of the special gear made us realize the physical pain and inconvenience in life brought about by growing old"

Personally I was deeply touched as I was able to visualize how my parents would be feeling through this activity. Besides the hands-on activity, the speaker introduced different types of care available for the elderly and their families. I was impressed by the well-developed care system in Japan and the professionalism of the caregivers.

In the afternoon, we visited a nursing home for sufferers of the atomic bomb in Nagasaki. Seeing the faces of the sufferers who are already in their old age made me think about the pain and damage they have endured. It was consoling to know that they are well taken care of in the nursing home. They gave us adorable hand-made gifts which I hung on my bag immediately. The painful past and peaceful present of the sufferers illustrate the importance of peace. I would like wish them good health and longevity.

The study program is approaching its end. I have had wonderful time with my fellow students. The lectures and visits have been informative and discussions inspiring. Many many thanks to all from the organizing universities who have spent their precious time accompanying us everywhere. This program will definitely be a memorable experience for me. I Just wish the it could be longer.


A nursing home for sufferers of the atomic bomb in Nagasaki


The last day arrived at the PAHSA Short Program in Nagasaki. All of us gave presentations and talked about what we learnt during the program. Yet the thoughts we'll take away are transformed in different ways. Perhaps that's a reflection of our diverse backgrounds.

Without doubt we learnt many things, not only those that were taught in the classrooms and on field trips, but also the untaught things, the feelings, moods and perceptions that are found at a foreign university.

Human Security and Global Health were the main focus of the program. But it didn’t stop there; culture, history, the economy and social concerns, all were touched upon to varying degrees. Absolutely everyone became engaged in these issues and we all plan to follow up on some of these when we return to our home universities. Of course there are different ideas how we may do that, and it was fun discussing these with the group. After that, all that was left was the last bento boxes, they were there waiting for to be eaten by the group for the last time.

"The certificate presentation took place as the day wound on. Although it was only a piece of paper, it carried with it the seal of Nagasaki University and will be a continual reminder of the importance of the issues that were covered on the program"

It'll be sad to leave Nagasaki, the staff and professors of the university, and my new friends. Although two weeks is a relatively short time, so much has been learnt and there have been so many shared experiences.

Meeting new people, acknowledging new cultures, eating different foods, and learning new things have all been enlightening. But more than that, there were events on the program that moved us at a deeper level; the visit to the nursing home for atomic bomb survivors and the peace park, both were incredibly humbling.

Of course we’d all like to stay longer but time is up.

The Dean of Nagasaki University 's Graduate School of International Health Development, Professor Kazuhiko Moji, awards the PAHSA Short Program Completion Certificate to Ms. Revalyani.

I think I speak for all of us when I say we're really grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the program. There are so many thanks we should offer; the hospitality has been so amazing. We'd especially like to thank Osaka and Nagasaki Universities, JASSO, and all of the other people far too numerous to mention who arranged and organized the program.

To wrap up, I can only echo what we the PAHSA students feel … the program was truly edifying, and we hope to keep in touch and meet again someday.

Thank you very much for everything, and thank you very much for all Nagasaki has shared.

Domo Arigatou Gozaimashita.

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"Absolutely everyone was inspired by the program. And we all plan to follow up on some of these when we return to our home universities."