May 06, 2020

School of Thought: His Excellency Masafumi Ishii, the Ambassador of Japan to Indonesia, is optimistic about the future

Education plays a great role in the economic development of Japan, and with Indonesia’s education sector on the rise, His Excellency Masafumi Ishii, the Ambassador of Japan to Indonesia, is optimistic about the future

Foto: Dok. Tatler Indonesia March Issue 2019

His Excellency Masafumi Ishii, Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia, has held his position since April 2017. Renowned for his social adventures on Instagram, with some pictures gaining more than 11,000 likes, he is a figure revered to by many in Indonesia and around the world.

Prior to securing his role as the ambassador to Indonesia, HE Masafumi was able to visit the country many times in his role as director of the Second Southeast Asia Division at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After all, Japan is one of Indonesia’s largest export markets, attracting direct Japanese investment of more than US$1 billion in 2018.

His Excellency was also present to witness the 60th anniversary of Japanese–Indonesian relations last year; the celebration brought forward the agreement of Project 2045. This is timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence and to boost both countries’ economies to rank among the top five in the world.

Among the many collaborations Indonesia and Japan have worked on in the past, the future of education in both countries certainly is bright. The last five years have seen the number of Indonesian students in Japan double. Hiroshima University has the largest number of memoranda of cooperation with educational institutions in Indonesia.

“We have about 4,700 Indonesian students studying in Japan currently,” says the ambassador, who also believes that the University of Indonesia stands on top in its ranks of universities in the country. Some of the world’s best technicians and engineers have been educated at a Japanese institution at some point of their lives. The ambassador believes that the future of economic development in a country requires them to strengthen the vocational training capacity building of educational institutions, starting from high school. In Japan, students of Colleges of Technology (KOSEN) are trained in technical education, starting at the age of 15, for five years to hone their technical skills and really develop their understanding. Those who wish to make a career out of it then delve into further education and expertise.

“The Japanese and Indonesian governments are currently discussing the possibility of introducing the same system here in Indonesia. I am certain it would be beneficial for the progress of the country,” he says. However, he then goes on to say that even though the system may not work to its full potential here due to many factors such as mindset or lifestyle, Indonesia should be proud of its ever-growing education system, which can be polished in the future.

Even though Japan produces some of the best technicians and engineers, the country is still learning from its mistakes and isn’t running at 100 per cent just yet. HE Masafumi Ishii considers Indonesia to be a growing population filled with the young, unlike Japan’s ageing population, and this means an immense potential for growth.

Source: Harjani, Maina, “School for Thought”, Tatler Indonesia, December Issue, 2019

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