December 31, 2003



Keywords: Newsletter 

JFS Newsletter No.16 (December 2003)

As announced in earlier issues of this newsletter, one of the world's largest showcases of environmental products and services, the Fifth Eco Products Exhibition, was held Dec.11 to 13 at the Tokyo Big Sight (Ariake, Tokyo).

Various players in the environmental arena, including corporations and NGOs, local governments, educational institutions, and students (from elementary school kids to college students) gathered from across the country, exhibited their activities and products, and networked with each other through workshops on such topics as green purchasing, environmental business and education.

Our report on the previous year's exhibition is available at

This year, more than 400 corporations and NGOs participated and exhibited a wide range of products and services, including consumer goods, fuel cells, and industrial materials. During the three days, a total of 114,000 people of all ages visited the exhibition.

Seeing this as a precious opportunity, JFS participated in the exhibition by setting up its booth in the NGO area (where NGOs get free space) and also by supporting foreign visitors at the exhibition's main information booth. Furthermore, with its mission as a communication platform, JFS held an English Guided Tour for visitors needing language assistance, as well as a "First Year Anniversary Tour and Symposium on Sustainable Japan."

The English Guided Tour was joined by 17 participants from a number of countries, including Australia, Germany, Israel, the Philippines, Sweden and the United States. The tour was divided into two teams, which visited the booths of JR East (passenger railway,, Toppan Printing (printing/multimedia,, Grace (staffing/human resource development,, Development Bank of Japan (financial services,, TEPCO (energy,, Ricoh (office equipment,, and Seiko Epson (information and electronic products, Tour participants were briefed on the host's activities, and then given the chance for questions and discussion.

Below are a few of the comments from participants that agreed to let us report their names and comments.

Ms. Monika Fimpel (from Germany)
"I very much appreciate the effort of conducting the tour. Eco Products 2003 is very interesting and helpful. I was particularly interested in Development Bank of Japan, and Ricoh. I would like to have smaller companies included--maybe one of good, clothing, cooperative business. Better earphones would be great."

Ms. Margareta Groth (government official from Sweden)
"JR is very interesting! Also interesting--Seiko Epson."

Mr. Daniel Beck (businessperson from Israel)
"I would prefer to go to smaller companies rather than the big ones. The big companies are only doing so for promotion reasons and the small companies are more real. I would like to see the Eco-products exhibition involving third-world countries."

Mr. Nicholas Charpentier (student from Australia)
"The tour showed a good mix of private and government companies. Also good mix of corporations and private solutions. I was particularly interested in Ricoh, and I did not know that zero emissions was possible in manufacture. It sets a very good precedent."

Business person (from USA)
"The exhibitions were very interesting and informative. I was particularly interested in JR, Toppan, TEPCO, and Ricoh"

Excerpts end here.

JFS held the one-year anniversary tour and symposium, titled "Toward Sustainable Japan," on the last day of the exhibition. The tour was conducted based on four "themes" that are helping Japan to move toward sustainability, including "design," "slow life," "sense-ware," and "social-ware." Pioneer in each field, including Tsutomu Ijima (designer), Prof. Shinichi Tsuji (anthropologist), Manabu Akaike (journalist), and Prof. Shinichi Takemura (anthropologist), acted as tour conductors, visiting three to five booths with 10 participants each, to initiate a discussion on what is taking place in each field. The tour conductors joined the symposium in the afternoon to report on each tour and discuss the next steps and visions of a sustainable Japan. The report of this symposium will be available soon on the JFS website.