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Officials discuss water quality hopes at home, abroad

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Water is a basic need for humans, the environment and the Earth. Governments, engineers and researchers have worked together toward securing water supplies and managing water quality around the world. The International Water Association is one of the biggest international organizations working to achieve such goals.

Tokyo will host the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018 from Sept. 16 to 21. The event is expected to attract 6,000 people from more than 100 countries to discuss technology, public policies and other subjects to achieve sustainable water management practices.

In preparation for the exhibition, The Japan Times held a forum in Tokyo on June 11 to discuss topics that included what to expect, Tokyo’s significance as the host city and what the country can do to help the world.

Hiroaki Furumai, chair of the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018 and a professor at the Research Center for Water Environment Technology at the University of Tokyo’s School of Engineering, participated in the forum. Other participants included Tokyo Metropolitan Government members Satoshi Tamura, deputy director general for technical affairs at the Bureau of Waterworks, and Mamoru Kamiyama, deputy director general for technical affairs at the Bureau of Sewerage. Toshihiro Kubo, representative director and executive vice president of Kubota Corp., also attended.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Bureau of Waterworks and Bureau of Sewerage are partners of the event, while Kubota is the principal sponsor of the event.

The forum moderator was Kyodo News contributing editorial writer Yoshitaka Uchijo.

Below are excerpts of their discussion.

Moderator: What do you expect from the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018 in September that will be held in Japan for the first time? What is the significance of it being held in Japan? Let’s hear from Mr. Furumai, who is the chair of the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018.

Furumai: Let me briefly introduce the IWA. The IWA is a nonprofit international organization, a hub of knowledge for water sectors, connecting water professionals worldwide to find sustainable urban and basin-related water solutions. In August 1999, the International Association on Water Quality and the International Water Services Association merged to become the IWA. It aims to create a platform where people with water-related knowledge network, promote advanced scientific research, come up with innovative technology and promote best practices. The IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018, to be held at Tokyo Big Sight, is held once every other year. It is the most important event for the IWA. The previous one took place in Brisbane, Australia, in 2016.

As the country that saw the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, this year’s event will feature the subtheme, “Science Practice and Policy for Sustainability and Resilience,” along with the main theme of “Shaping our Water Future.” The congress attracts many water professionals from all over the world, who deliver presentations on top-level research results, cutting-edge technologies and concrete examples of such research and technologies that are actually in use. There will also be forums and workshops with various themes, as well as technical sessions for platform and poster presentations. The opening ceremony will feature Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and executives of government ministries related to water. We would like to clarify in this congress how the IWA can make contributions to solving water problems while being involved with various governments and influence policy decisions. We will hold a forum on “Disaster countermeasures and risk management toward building resilient cities.”

Exhibitions are also very important. Top-level international corporations and organizations will have booths where visitors can comprehensively learn about new technologies and real-world examples where these technologies have actually been adopted. By conducting a congress and an exhibition simultaneously, the event will be a place for water professionals to network. We expect 6,000 participants, a number surpassing past events, at this year’s congress and exhibitions from more than 100 countries.

Moderator: Mr. Tamura and Mr. Kamiyama, as representatives of the host city, do you have any comments?

Tamura: I think this is an excellent opportunity to boost Tokyo’s presence in the world. The Tokyo governor serves as the president of the host country committee for the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018, and thus we play a significant role as the representative of the water supply utilities of the host country. Tokyo Waterworks has a 120-year history. We would like to contribute to solving global water problems by sharing the technologies and know-how we have learned during our long history with the world.

Tokyo’s Bureau of Waterworks is planning to present about as many as 70 papers with platform or poster presentations. During the exhibition, about 90 domestic companies and organizations will have booths in the Japan Pavilion where they will showcase top-quality products, infrastructure and cutting-edge technologies.

We would also like to contribute to the enhancement of business in Japan by supporting companies and increasing their business opportunities. Because many attendees will come from Japan and overseas, we would like to make the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018 an opportunity to nurture human resources with an international mindset and create an international network.

Kamiyama: Tokyo’s sewerage system has over a century of history, beginning with the Kanda sewer that started construction in 1884 during the Meiji Era. Tokyo has the advantage of having many workers experience construction, management and maintenance of sewerage systems throughout this long history. I believe it is one of our missions to use such strength to improve the water environment of the world, improve domestic sewerage systems and, consequently, help domestic industries grow.

We have obtained significant technologies and knowledge regarding how to operate Tokyo’s sewerage system to be both stable and support the urban capital’s activities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We would like to present these technologies and knowledge to the world via platform and poster presentations and exhibitions to help countries with various sewerage-related needs solve problems. As the Japan Pavilion has a seminar space for companies to conduct presentations, we would also like to showcase technologies they have developed with us.

Currently, the sewerage industry in Japan is saturated and the market share is shrinking. Therefore, we would like Japanese companies to maintain their technological advantage and take it overseas. We would also like to help utilities related to sewerage in Japan to expand their business overseas. We would like them to acquire new technologies, and pave the way to create a network to enhance water environment.

Moderator: Mr. Kubo, as a representative of the private sector, could you give us concrete examples of the roles the private sector plays?

Kubo: Japan has bid to host the congress several times and we finally got it this time. First, I would like to show gratitude for the efforts of people involved and the host country committee for their preparations. For industries, it is a very significant congress because it collects cutting-edge technologies, know-how and contributes solutions to various problems regarding water. I believe many developing countries will participate, and many of the problems they face are ones that Japan has already experienced and solved.

We would like to show the history and culture of water in Japan to the congress participants, how Japan has come up with new technologies and management methods based on that history and culture, as well as how Japan established a very high-quality water supply and sewerage system. Basically, we would like to share Japan’s experience with the world. I believe that is how we can contribute to the solving of water-related problems in the world. We want to use this year’s congress as an opportunity to reconfirm the excellence of Japan’s water supply and sewerage systems, its technologies and know-how. We would like to hand down the excellence we have the privilege to enjoy to future generations. I hope the congress will be a good opportunity for people involved in water to take action based on long-term, global views and for the water supply and sewerage industries to continue to create new value.

Moderator: We’ve heard a lot about “water problems in the world,” but there are many viewpoints on the issue. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) point out the importance of solving water-related problems in the world, especially in developing countries. I would like to ask, what is IWA’s or Japan’s role in terms of supporting developing countries?

Furumai: The IWA is expected to influence policymaking to solve water-related problems in the world based on science and technology. Goal 6 of the SDGs, declared in 2015, is about clean water and sanitation. Goal 11 is about sustainable cities and communities, which is connected with the congress’ subtheme of “resilience,” as is Goal 13 on climate action.

It’s very important to think about what concrete actions should be taken to secure safe water and sanitation, to respond to disasters and to adapt to climate change, and the IWA will seriously consider that in organizing the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018. In the IWA’s Governing Assembly in 2016, the IWA adopted the resolution concerning “effective contribution from water professionals toward the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 and all water-related targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Japan is making contributions to improve many water-related infrastructures in the world via the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and official development assistance. We would like to contribute to solving the lack of access to safe water and problems on sanitation and wastewater treatment.

A keynote speech at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2016, in Brisbane, Australia.
A keynote speech at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2016, in Brisbane, Australia. | JAPAN WATER WORKS ASSOCIATION

Moderator: In terms of support for developing countries, what examples can the Tokyo Metropolitan Government provide as lessons to the world that Tokyo has learned from more than 100 years of experience?

Tamura: Many developing countries are facing various challenges, such as water shortage and water pollution amid rapid economic and population growth. Tokyo Waterworks has experienced and solved many of these problems throughout its history. Therefore, Tokyo’s know-how will be very helpful, I believe. For example, the water leakage ratio in Tokyo is as little as 3 percent, which is extremely low compared to the global standard. Technologies used to achieve that low ratio can be used in tackling the problems of “non-revenue water.” Non-revenue water, such as water leakage and stolen water, is a big problem in developing countries. I believe the technology that helped achieve Tokyo’s 3 percent ratio of water leakage will be very useful. Non-revenue water causes major harm in the business of managing water supply.

In Yangon, Myanmar, a supervised organization of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is collaborating with private companies engaged in businesses looking for water leakage, replacing and repairing water pipes, setting up water meters and doing other things to help reduce non-revenue water. The non-revenue water ratio is said to be about 70 percent in Yangon. They are trying to reduce the ratio, leading to the realization of 24-hour water supply in the future, and charge residents for water use. This is part of Japan’s ODA activities. We have dispatched experts to Yangon, and invited officials from the city of Yangon for training in Tokyo. Additionally, we have been supporting the reduction of non-revenue water in Hanoi in Vietnam, Labuan in Malaysia and Delhi in India as part of JICA’s activities.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is engaged in these activities overseas, but water utilities in prefectures other than Tokyo are also engaged in similar activities in their strong fields.

Kamiyama: We provide technological support and help construct sewerage facilities in developing countries that have various sewerage-related needs. While providing technological support, we also train local people so that they can manage and maintain the system. We make sure these people master the technology and practices. For example, for a sewerage project in Malaysia, a supervised organization of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government played a central part in making proposals to provide the sewerage system similar to that of Tokyo, including sewerage pipes and wastewater treatment plants. The proposals include the integration of facilities. The proposal noted that Japanese-style sewerage is suitable to Malaysia with its smaller surface area, and then the Malaysian government adopted the proposal. It’s a project to comprehensively design, construct and manage the entire system of pipes, pumps and wastewater treatment plants in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur over six years from 2014 to 2020.

Other than that, we invite local people to Japan for training on analyzing water quality at wastewater treatment plants so that they can operate and manage similar systems in their home countries. We use the JICA Partnership Program to conduct this project.

Moderator: Mr. Kubo, will you give us examples on how corporations are making contributions?

Kubo: The SDGs have very wide viewpoints. Each developing country has different problems; some do not even have drinkable tap water. Some have a water supply system, but do not have a sewerage system. Others have various problems with pollution. Corporations need to provide different types of support suitable to different countries based on their needs and situations. We have set up water purification plants and water pipelines in Bangladesh, Cambodia and many other countries in the past to spread the water supply network throughout the countries. In wastewater treatment, we constructed and support management and maintenance of wastewater treatment plants in an industrial park in Yangon.

Water-related infrastructure includes water supply, sewerage and environmental protection. The way we help developing countries varies greatly depending on the country’s urban life and culture. The most efficient infrastructure that makes economic sense is the one adopting cutting-edge technology obtained by Japan through experience and arranging it in a way that is suitable to each different country. The problem of new technology is that its costs are high, but if you think about sustainability in the long run, the most important thing is for developing countries to adopt the most advanced technology in the world. As to a country that has advanced technology, we are thinking of providing them with cutting-edge technologies from the very beginning. To do so, enhancing economic efficiency is also necessary.

Moderator: From a company’s perspective, what is the difficulty of persuading developing countries to use new technology?

Kubo: The level of Japan’s wastewater treatment technology is advanced. However, some countries do not have same strictness on regulations as Japan and they are all right with normal wastewater treatment standards. Whether a location is quake-prone or not also makes a difference in how to design water pipelines. The technology behind Japan’s quake-resistant pipes is advanced, but other countries may not need this technology. A water supply and sewerage system is something a country has to be serious about establishing, and each country decides the standard of what kind of system will be built. Some countries may not need high-level infrastructure now, but they will in the future. It’s a difficult thing to judge.

One of the reasons Japan is popular among Asian countries is, I think, its nice water environment. Japan’s basic infrastructure is the fact that what Japan is today is the result of the culture that the Japanese environment is beautiful and we value cleanliness. To become such a country, goals of a high standard are necessary and make the country comfortable to live in. I would like many people in the water industry to know that and be aware of the value and necessity of high-level water quality during the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018. More than anything, that is what I expect from the congress.

Moderator: What are some difficulties when supporting developing countries?

Tamura: As you can imagine, money is a big issue. It is difficult to continue projects solely through the funding from developing countries themselves. Using money from JICA and our knowledge makes it possible to conduct such projects. I think various projects progressed in developing countries through the combination of Japan’s funds and the know-how of Japanese companies and other organizations operating water supply systems. It is important to not only use Japanese technology to construct and operate the systems in countries in need of aid, but also train local people to operate properly. Otherwise, those countries would never master Japanese technology.

Furumai: That’s true. It is important for local people to master the technology and knowledge on proper operation of water supply and sewerage systems in each country. Japanese engineers are proud of Japan’s cutting-edge, advanced technology, but we must think about what is needed in each country. It is possible that the prices they currently pay are relatively high, but will become cheaper investments after 10, 20, 40 or 50 years. We need to explain the significant concept of life cycle cost and total cost. Cheap things that easily break in a few years are no good. It is a better investment in the long run to install long-lasting systems with fewer technical troubles, and train local people who use them. Japan should not only sell facilities and products, but also provide opportunities to learn how to use these technologies and contribute to training people. If people cooperate and understand each other, things will likely work out.

Kamiyama: There are indeed many examples of making good things and leaving them alone without proper maintenance. Making facilities and training people to maintain them is, of course, important, but regulations and legal platforms to achieve these things are equally important. Japan’s regulations on sewerage and restrictions on drainage disposal are an excellent legal platform. I also believe creating a legal system for residents and users to follow is essential. Without that, they will not have good infrastructure.

Furumai: People in developing countries are used to the idea of paying for their water supply, but not for wastewater treatment. High-quality sewerage systems have been installed in condominiums that only the rich can afford. In some cases, public sewerage systems have been constructed in developing countries reaching certain levels of wealth. However, it might be necessary to try to conduct more realistic actions to raise awareness of the importance of paying for wastewater treatment that leads to sustaining a better sanitation and water quality.

Kamiyama: And, in raising such awareness, this will deepen the understanding of the necessity of creating laws and regulations.

Moderator: There was talk about total cost, but since wastewater treatment is closely related to health and hygiene, it will affect people’s health, as well as medical expenses. Will there be a session that aims to increase understanding of this during this congress?

Furumai: I think there will be a discussion related to water and health in the SDG workshop by JICA. Regarding total cost, the concept of asset management is essential. Since Japan already has a significantly developed sewerage system, it is important to discuss what we are going to do from here. Japan has been thinking about the next generation, such as how far we should take measures on facilities that are getting older or earthquake resistance. On top of adopting technologies, we need to maintain and make them last a long time, while we also need to consider management and finance that includes figuring out the right time to make investments. Since Japan is doing well in this area, I think this is something other countries could take into consideration at the congress.

Moderator: What was the turning point that caused Japan to build a water supply and sewerage system that ranks as one of the best in the world? During the years of high economic growth, the Sumida River was dirty and there were times when Japan’s sewerage system was not that advanced.

Kamiyama: I believe there are two reasons for this. The first is our limited area. Lots of people live in very confined and dense places where we’ve had to drain many small rivers that used to run through them. So, we needed to carefully think about ways to use our land. The other reason is a characteristic of Japanese people. We have high hygiene standards and we want to drink pleasant-tasting, clean water. We also think rivers shouldn’t be polluted. That is a characteristic of Japanese people. Since the Edo Period, Japanese have been said to be particular about being clean, and I believe clean water and clean rivers are prevalent because Japanese people expected them. The technology was developed to meet the people’s request.

Moderator: Was there a major technological breakthrough?

Kubo: There are various technologies such as water treatment and facility technology. The people I know in the public sector that are involved with water supply and sewerage systems have this mindset that they don’t compromise easily. So, the private sector strove to keep up with the public sector’s uncompromising assertion and worked hard to meet the public sector’s requirement level. Although the private sector tends to prioritize economic rationality, Japan as a whole has focused on functionality, rather than economic rationality. That, I believe, is how Japan achieved a technological breakthrough. During economic growth, there were a lot of people, both public and private, with a strong sense of mission that allowed for Japan to achieve such high standing in the world.

Moderator: How are current water issues in rural and less populated areas?

Furumai: Water issues depend on local situation on a watershed basis. In Japan, water management has been well-managed by the standards of ambient water quality and effluent control established by the national government’s environmental administration. Additionally, water engineers who take great pride in their work have achieved a high level of water supply and sewerage systems. In local areas, water supply and sewerage works are basically run by each local government. As the local government’s management power weakens with the declining population, they have been faced with problems such as decreasing numbers of well-trained experts, not being able to raise prices and update aging facilities. I believe the issue is not a technical one, but one that lacks management capacity. They have to review whether they can firmly secure a management foundation with capable engineers and administration staff.

Moderator: It is said that cooperation between the government, industry and academic institutions went well in Japan, leading to the standardization of water supply and sewerage systems, as seen in urban areas.

Furumai: The water industry sector pursued technological developments to support high standards for the water supply and sewerage system. Local government and entities applied the high-standard systems while reviewing their functionality. Supposing that big cities try to introduce and establish a new and challenging system, universities and research institutions often joined the challenging projects, resulting in new technological developments and innovative technology. Then this system will be easier to adopt in other cities as a good example. As water issues have been recognized as important in Japan, various strategic research projects have been conducted in the field of water circulation and sustainable water usage. The top-down theme attracted many companies and universities in the field, leading to results in membrane and advanced water treatment technologies. Here, I think you can see the uniqueness of Japan’s water supply and sewerage system, where cooperation between government, industry and academia exists.

Kamiyama: The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has a facility called the Sewerage Technical Research & Development Center. We allow universities and private sector companies to use this facility to research and experiment on sewage and sludge. We are also involved in joint research. When we want to develop a new technology to improve situations regarding the sewerage system, we approach companies and ask if they want to work on that technology together with us. To motivate such companies, we basically make it a precondition to install the finished product. If this turns out to be a success, the technology will be used at actual facilities in Tokyo. That is how we approach things at the Bureau of Sewerage.

Moderator: Mr. Kubo, could you share some selling points of Kubota’s technology with us?

Kubo: The Tokyo Metropolitan Government talked about government, industry and academia cooperating together on experiments to put their technology into practical use. We also do the same. For example, we conducted many experiments using earthquake-resistant ductile iron pipes and have them checked when there is an earthquake. As a result, we succeeded in developing ductile iron pipes with very strong quake-resistance. The technology has become well-known for its excellence in quake-resistance throughout the world, and in 2012, a city on the earthquake-prone West Coast of the United States indicated they want to install these pipes. Now, not only small diameter pipes, but also pipes with a diameter of up to 1,800 millimeters are being used.

In the field of sewage, we have a membrane called MBR, or Membrane Bioreactor. Our membrane is ranked No. 1 in the world in terms of installation numbers, with one of the largest sewage treatment facilities in Canton, Ohio, also having recently adopted our membrane. They greatly value the fact that it allows them to build a high-quality treatment facility in a very compact space. These are used in various countries, including those in Europe, the Middle East and China, and all of these technologies were developed in Japan. Although we need to take into account each country’s situation, in the case of developing countries, I think it would be best if they could understand the economic efficiency of these technologies and adopt them.

Moderator: “Sustainability and resilience” have been chosen as part of an important theme for this congress. Mr. Furumai, could you talk about how this was decided?

Furumai: Regarding water management, to some extent we have acquired technology applicable to everyday life. However, disaster technology can only be experienced when a disaster actually occurs. In the case of the Great East Japan Earthquake, we experienced a severe earthquake, giant tsunami and nuclear meltdown. It was an unexpectedly complex disaster. We also have suffered from heavy rain, resulting in fluvial and pluvial flood damage and high turbidity in the water purification process. This allowed us to gain an understanding of how to manage water under difficult circumstances. We chose this as the theme so that we can deliver the importance of risk management to people worldwide based on Japan’s experience. In this congress, it is important to share experiences and lessons. Defining the adequate level of redundancy to prepare for extreme events that rarely happens is a very difficult problem that we all need to think about together. Risks are different in each local area, so there will probably be discussions on how to manage them. The keyword “resilience” appears in Goal 11 of the SDGs, and I hope this congress will bring various viewpoints that can be shared, that will lead to research and technological development.

Tamura: Since we live with the possibility that a major earthquake could hit Tokyo at any time, Tokyo is taking full countermeasures. As for risk, we take proactive prevention measures, meaning that we are making facilities strong. Speedy recovery is also important. For earthquake countermeasures, we need to upgrade to tough earthquake-resistant facilities. We are working on backup measures, such as to double or build a network for important pipelines, since damage on these important pipelines would result in far-reaching consequences. Thus, we are building a system where even if one area is damaged, other areas could cover them and provide backup measures.

In case of a major earthquake, there will be confusion regarding the water supply. Therefore, it is important to carefully carry out an emergency water supply system. That is why we prepared a water supply station in each neighborhood and built a system where we can provide water, together with help from area residents. In case Tokyo is extensively damaged, Tokyo Waterworks will not be able to solely cope with this. We are building a support system nationwide where we can help each other and we conduct drills. When the Kumamoto earthquake occurred, Tokyo rushed to assist, and the same can be said for the Great East Japan Earthquake when we supported the Tohoku region. When the Great Hanshin Earthquake struck, Tokyo and many local governments hurried to help. Since then, we have established a system where all local governments nationwide can cooperate with each other.

Kubo: On the topic of resilience, I think it is important to constantly evolve so we can offer more reliable technology in a more economical way. As a major example, when the Great Hanshin Earthquake occurred in 1995, out of total ductile pipe production, only 8 percent of ductile iron pipes were earthquake-resistant, but today it has grown to 94 percent. Another important thing is usage of the “internet of things.” At Kubota, we are currently developing the KSIS, or the Kubota Smart Infrastructure System. Since various information can be monitored and a quick response is possible, we are incorporating this in the field of monitoring, diagnosis, preventive maintenance and control. These are the areas that we are putting our efforts in today.

Kamiyama: It is very important to ensure residents’ safety and comfortability in their everyday lives by taking measures to enhance quake resistance, reconstruct aged facilities, flood control and so on. Since Tokyo’s underground is tightly structured with underground installation, including water pipes, gas pipes, subway and electricity cables, we are working together with the private sector to develop technology to renew underground sewerage pipes without having to dig up the roads. In the event of manhole uplift after an earthquake, cars will not be able to pass and people will not be able to evacuate. In order to prevent uplift, we install valves on the inner walls of manholes to reduce water pressure, without also digging up the roads. We are working very hard on these countermeasures. Flood control systems are extremely difficult, but since we know where weak places are — dents and other low places where rain water flows down to and stays, we are focusing on these areas for countermeasures. These are also things that I would like to share with foreign countries at this congress.

Moderator: Lastly, is there anything that you would like to emphasize once again?

Furumai: We have aimed for and worked hard to host the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Japan and finally it has become a reality. I believe that the government, various entities and the industry working together as Team Japan — where you can see Japan’s wa, or harmony — won approval. It is of course important to work together with other countries in this congress. However, I also think it is highlighted to further deepen cooperation among the government, industries and academia within Japan and to develop closer ties among water professionals in different areas of expertise through this congress.

Also, I hope that many people who attend this congress will feel that “IWA is an attractive academic society” and become individual members, and many participants from Asian countries consider becoming governing country members. Then we could further deepen our networking within Asia. Today entities and corporations have rolled out in Asia based on the “water business aims global” idea. Such inertia is occurring, where young people who can interact internationally are increasingly joining entities and national government. When they become section chiefs or division managers, they can say that we should work actively with a global perspective. If this happens, I think we can say this congress was a great success.

Tamura: It is self-praise, but Tokyo’s water is really safe and tastes good. When we compare tap water to bottled water, half of the people say that tap water tastes better. Since the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held in two years, we can promote that people can drink tasty tap water in Tokyo during the congress.

Also, since water supply businesses use a lot of electricity, we are working to reduce carbon dioxide. The Bureau of Waterworks consumes 1 percent of Tokyo’s electricity. As our operation requires an enormous amount of energy, we take responsibility to reduce carbon dioxide, be environmentally conscious and use energy-saving devices, solar power generation equipment and small hydraulic generators. We need to address environmental concerns in order for the water supply operation to be sustainable and long-lasting. I would like to also present these items at the congress.

Kubo: I hope this congress will be an opportunity for everyone to reconfirm that Japan will keep aiming for a higher level of technology. Also, I hope that current and future Japan water business technologies will expand toward a global perspective through this congress.

Moderator: Thank you very much for sharing your expertise and opinions today.


Hiroaki Furumai, professor of the Research Center for Water Environment Technology, Graduate School of Engineering, University of Tokyo Born in June 1956, Furumai graduated with a doctoral degree from the University of Tokyo in 1984. Between 1984 and 1997, he was a research associate and associate professor at Tohoku University, Kyushu University and Ibaraki University. He assumed his current position as professor at the University of Tokyo in 1998 and became director of the research center in 2005. He has won numerous awards, including the science award from the Japan Society on Water Environment in 2011.

Hiroaki Furumai, professor of the Research Center for Water Environment Technology, Graduate School of Engineering, University of Tokyo
Born in June 1956, Furumai graduated with a doctoral degree from the University of Tokyo in 1984. Between 1984 and 1997, he was a research associate and associate professor at Tohoku University, Kyushu University and Ibaraki University. He assumed his current position as professor at the University of Tokyo in 1998 and became director of the research center in 2005. He has won numerous awards, including the science award from the Japan Society on Water Environment in 2011.


Satoshi Tamura, deputy director general for technical affairs, Bureau of Waterworks, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Tamura graduated from Hokkaido University and entered the Bureau of Waterworks in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in April 1985. From April 2011 to March 2012 he served as a senior director in Tama Waterworks Reform Promotion Center, and from April 2012 he served as a senior director of the Construction Division, Water Supply Division and Purification Division in the Bureau of Waterworks. He assumed his current position in July 2015.

Satoshi Tamura, deputy director general for technical affairs, Bureau of Waterworks, Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Tamura graduated from Hokkaido University and entered the Bureau of Waterworks in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in April 1985. From April 2011 to March 2012 he served as a senior director in Tama Waterworks Reform Promotion Center, and from April 2012 he served as a senior director of the Construction Division, Water Supply Division and Purification Division in the Bureau of Waterworks. He assumed his current position in July 2015.


Mamoru Kamiyama, deputy director general for technical affairs, Bureau of Sewerage, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Kamiyama graduated from the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Tokyo

Mamoru Kamiyama, deputy director general for technical affairs, Bureau of Sewerage, Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Kamiyama graduated from the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Tokyo’s Waseda University and entered the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of General Affairs in April 1985. From 2013 to 2015, he served as a senior director in the Bureau of Sewerage. In August 2017, he became the deputy director general of the Regional Sewerage Office, Bureau of Sewerage. He assumed his current position as the deputy director general for technical affairs in the Bureau of Sewerage in April.


Toshihiro Kubo, representative director and executive vice president, Kubota Corp. Kubo graduated from Osaka University and joined Kubota Corp. in 1979. In April 2003, he took on the position as research and development general manager in the Ductile Iron Pipe Division. From June 2007, he served as representative director, becoming an executive officer in 2009. The following year, he became general manager of the head office. He assumed his current position as representative director and executive vice president in July 2014, and general manager of the Water and Environmental Infrastructure Domain in January 2017.

Toshihiro Kubo, representative director and executive vice president, Kubota Corp.
Kubo graduated from Osaka University and joined Kubota Corp. in 1979. In April 2003, he took on the position as research and development general manager in the Ductile Iron Pipe Division. From June 2007, he served as representative director, becoming an executive officer in 2009. The following year, he became general manager of the head office. He assumed his current position as representative director and executive vice president in July 2014, and general manager of the Water and Environmental Infrastructure Domain in January 2017.


Yoshitaka Uchijo, contributing editorial writer, Kyodo News Uchijo was born in Tokyo, graduated from Hitotsubashi University and joined Kyodo News in 1977. He worked at the Washington D.C. bureau from 1994 to 2002, later serving as the science division manager and human resources division manager. From 2010 to 2012, Uchijo was president of Kyodo

Yoshitaka Uchijo, contributing editorial writer, Kyodo News
Uchijo was born in Tokyo, graduated from Hitotsubashi University and joined Kyodo News in 1977. He worked at the Washington D.C. bureau from 1994 to 2002, later serving as the science division manager and human resources division manager. From 2010 to 2012, Uchijo was president of Kyodo’s Sendai branch and supervised coverage of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck eastern Japan, mainly the Tohoku region. He assumed his current position in June 2015.

This page has been produced with the support of the Ogasawara Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Engineering, which was founded by late Toshiaki Ogasawara, the former chairman and publisher of The Japan Times.