We would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for your continued support.
International Infrastructure Partners was established in February 2006 by Mr. Hiroaki Tamamitsu, former Director General of the Kanto Regional Construction Bureau of the Ministry of Construction and Director of JICA, as International Infrastructure Research Association, mainly composed of people who had experience in technical cooperation with the former Ministry of Construction. In order to expand the scope of our activities, we changed our name to International Infrastructure Partners in November 2013.
We have been working mainly on road and bridge projects in Myanmar due to an airplane accident related to the Bridge Engineering Training Center (1979/7-1985/7) project in Myanmar and our exchange relationship with Myanmar Public Works.
The key activities will include the following.
- Expansion of roads that can be available year-round through simplified road pavement, bridge repair and reinforcement, etc.
- Cooperation in preparation of technical manuals
- Personnel and technical exchange
We will continue to promote such cooperation in the future.
On the other hand, in order to contribute to the friendship, prosperity and peace of mind of the people of Japan and other Asian countries, which is the purpose of our activities, we intend to expand the scope of our cooperation in infrastructure development and management.
We would appreciate your continued support and guidance in the future.
On the cooperation with Myanmar
Two years prior to the establishment of the association in February 2006, Mr. Hiroaki Tamamitsu (deceased), who was the president of the International Association of Construction Engineers at that time, told me, “If you and Hajime Asakura could go to Myanmar and see the situation there, it would be a good opportunity for the NPO to proceed. Mr. Asakura, who was the first expert of JICA’s Burma Bridge Engineering Training Center Project (BETC, 1979-1985), had been in contact with his counterpart, Mr. Hanzo, for 25 years. Mr. Hanzo had just left the field office to become the President of the Public Works Department of the Ministry of Construction. Mr. Hanzo talked about the need for road maintenance in Myanmar and his expectations for Japan, and arranged for vehicles and briefers to visit his offices and sites around the country. On that occasion, we were able to visit for the first time the Tswana Bridge built under the BETC project and the cenotaph at the Japanese Cemetery.
My heart was tightened in front of the cenotaph for the members of the Bridge Engineering and Training Center (BETC) survey team who died at a young age in a plane crash in March 1979. After the meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I held a send-off party for the survey team headed by Mr. Tetsuo Kunihiro and four other members from the Ministry of Construction with my colleagues from the Japan Highway Public Corporation. At the end of the party, I was surprised to hear a handsome member of the delegation play the piano at the piano bar, but I never dreamed that I would have to express my condolences with my boss in front of his family after the accident. Mr. Asakura also had a close relationship with Mr. Kunihiro as they worked in the same laboratory during their time at the Soil Science Research Institute, and there are many colleagues and acquaintances of the victims in our organization.
In 2004, the cooperation between Myanmar and Japan had completely ceased, and although the BETC project had brought great results, I wondered if the sacrifices of these talented engineers would be forgotten and the project would simply die a dog’s death. In a meeting with the Burmese Ministry of Construction as a member of a JICA research team that reported on the economic unfeasibility of the Irrawaddy River bridge construction project in Burma, I asked, “Why don’t we follow the example of the Road Technology Center in Thailand and demand a bridge technology center for small and medium-sized rivers? I also suggested that we follow the example of Thailand’s Road Technology Center and request a bridge technology center for small and medium-sized rivers. I strongly felt that if the technical cooperation with Japan were to disappear, I would not be able to see the deceased in peace.
On the other hand, the long-term experts who participated in the BETC project and organized the Tswana Association continued to interact with Myanmar engineers. Since its establishment, the Association has continued to conduct research and exchange activities in Myanmar every year. Since the establishment of the association, we have continued to conduct field surveys and exchanges with Myanmar every year. Because of this, the Myanmar side has been very responsive to our activities, and we have been able to conduct field surveys and exchange activities smoothly.
We are now at the stage of preparing technical standards for simplified pavement in the Ayeyarwady region under JICA’s Grassroots Project. In this project, we organized a joint technical committee with the cooperation of the Japan Road Association, and are working on the preparation of the technical standards in a joint meeting with the Myanmar side technical committee under the president of the Myanmar Public Works Agency, which has opened the way for cooperation and collaboration with other organizations.
As a certified non-profit organization, the NPO works for the benefit of the people of the world by conducting projects related to infrastructure development and management in cooperation with related stakeholders at home and abroad, with the aim of contributing to the improvement of prosperity and security of the people of Japan and other countries through environmentally friendly and sustainable social and economic development.