"JICA opened its 99th overseas office in Cuba this January and you are now visiting the website of this very office, JICA Cuba. Thank you for visiting us.
Located just 150 km off the south of the Florida Peninsula, floating in the emerald-green waters of the Caribbean Sea, Cuba is a nation that became famous across the world for the "Cuban Revolution" which saw the victory of the Revolutionary Army led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara 59 years ago. Since then, Cuba has remained resolutely committed to maintaining a socialism regime, never buckling under the pressure of US economic sanctions, and wielding a strong influence over the third world and non-aligned countries in Asia and Africa as the leader of autonomy and independence – this is Cuba. Japanese people will probably associate Cuba with baseball players, cigars, salsa, and 1950s´ classic cars.
That being said, I suspect that few people who realize that Cuba has a history of exchanges with Japan that spans over 400 years, and this year sees the 120th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in Cuba, that Japan was Cuba's largest trade partner in the West (outside the communist bloc) in the 1970s, and that Cuba has already hit quite a few of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which even developed countries are still some way off achieving. Cuba is also known as the only county in the world that has embodied ideas of equality within the socialism principles as seen in its systems of unconditional free education and healthcare, food rationing, and an egalitarian pay.
Over 58 years from its reception of the first participants in training courses in 1960 - the year following the "Cuban Revolution" – to the on-going technical cooperation projects and grant aid initiatives, JICA has been dedicated to cooperating with and contributing to improving lives in Cuba while respecting Cuba's unique planned economy and relentlessly maintaining its partnership with Cuba.
Since the 2000s, JICA has particularly focused its cooperative efforts on the agricultural sector to contribute to Cuba´s national policies, such as increasing food production and food self-sufficiency (specifically regarding rice). JICA also extended its technical cooperation to the environmental sector, as seen in purification of Havana Bay water and initiatives relating to waste treatment in the Municipality of Havana.
The Cuba-Japan summit meeting, which saw Japanese Prime Minister Abe become the first-ever Japanese Prime Minister to visit to Cuba, was held in 2016 to affirm that bilateral relations are to be further strengthened. As part of its efforts to greatly expand economic cooperation and serve development needs in a public-private partnership, JICA has begun cooperation with the health sector on a larger scale to improve diagnostic techniques with high-level medical devices and to reinforce the capacity for the maintenance and management of medical equipment.
In addition, JICA is planning to extend its cooperation and roll out several projects to the energy sector to serve the promotion of renewable energy use and the stable and efficient electricity supply. It is also seeking to assist the transportation sector in the development of important infrastructure, such as roads, ports and harbors, airports, and urban transport.
The launch of the new JICA office in Cuba (structural reinforcement) is a statement of JICA's commitment to implementing effective, efficient, detailed and dynamic projects and cooperation initiatives to make substantial contributions to social and economic development, a goal that this country has always aspired to achieve in its own way. Building on the foundations laid so far, we are ready to take a step forward into the next stage, working hard alongside the people of Cuba.
"Hasta la Victoria siempre!" (Quoted from Che Guevara)"