The Third South Africa-Japan University Forum (SAJU) was held during 15 and 16 July 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. The Forum, established in 2007, provides a dedicated and strategic platform for research and development engagement between higher education institutions in the two countries.
Senior leadership and scholars from 21 SA universities and 30 Japanese Universities met to discuss a renewed and strengthened framework towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of Pretoria, the only one of its kind on the African continent, provided strategic direction and support for this seminal event.
SAJU has reconfirmed the following plan of action:
- Establish periodically opportunities such as joint academic seminars to share research interests, achievements and perspectives and to discuss possibilities for collaboration;
- Actively share information on funding programmes to promote academic cooperation and joint projects;
- Establish, share, and implement concrete programmes and projects for academic exchange, human development, and cooperation with society, including the private sector, international organizations, and NGO;
- Provide continuous opportunities for dialogue between South African and Japanese universities; and
- Establish secretariats in South Africa and Japan to serve as nodal points for communication and coordination.
The Forum acknowledges the endorsements by the governments and agencies of South Africa and Japan, who have provided support through the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Higher Education (DHET), Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), National Research Foundation (NRF), Universities South Africa (USAf), South African Technology Network, the Japan Science and Technology Agecy (JST), Japan Association of National Universities (JANU), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The significance of academic cooperation between Japan and Africa, including South Africa, on topics of human development and science and technology has been previously emphasized in the Nairobi Declaration on the occasion of the 6thTokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) held in August 2016. The successful NRF-JSPS agreement has funded 34 programmes during 2007 and 2016, serving as a strong base for continued support. Agreements have been outlined to strategically identify and align a number of additional opportuities in support of this collaboration.
The next Forum meeting will be hosted in South Africa during 2018.