Period: 3 - 6 August 2003. Country: Laos
  Purpose of the Visit
  On-Site Education and Arrangements for Joint Research at the Vientiane Field Station, Laos
  IWATA Akihisa  (ASAFAS: Division of Southeast Asian Area Studies)
  Record of Activities
  8/3 (Sun)
  • Left Kansai International Airport, arrived at Bangkok Airport.
      8/4 (Mon)
  • Left Bangkok Airport, arrived at Vientiane Airport.
  • Visited the Faculty of Forestry, National University of Laos (NUL). With the dean of the Faculty of Forestry, and the staff responsible for 21st Century COE, Iwata and Takeda made arrangements for such matters as the field station, joint research, and the workshop that is scheduled to be held this year.
      8/5 (Tue)
  • Visited the Faculty of Agriculture, NUL. With the associate dean of the Faculty, counterparts, and Mr Etsuo Mushiake, a visiting researcher at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, made arrangements for such matters as the field station, joint research, and the workshop that is scheduled to be held this year.
  • Also at the Faculty of Agriculture, carried out an inspection of the current state of activities of the Department of Fisheries.
  • Went with Mr Mushiake to investigate the Nabong area in the Namgum River system, which is one of the candidate sites for joint research work.
  • Visited the Faculty of Forestry, NUL. In the 21COE Office within the Faculty, gave on-site research guidance to graduate students.
      8/6 (Wed)
  • Returned to Japan by way of Vientiane, Bangkok Airport, and Kansai International Airport.


      Outcome and Progress Report
     (1) On-Site Education
              At the time when I visited Vientiane, there were five people conducting research at the 21st Century COE office: From ASAFAS, there were the graduate students Mr. Yasuyuki Kosaka (Year of enrollment: 2000, research theme: forest succession) and Ms. Miki Matsuura (Year of enrollment: 2002, research theme: forest management), and the visiting researcher Mr. Fumikazu Ubukata (research theme: forest management); from Faculty of Agriculture of Kyoto University, Mr. Isao Hirota (research theme: slash-and-burn forest clearance); and from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Mr. Takashi Masuno (research theme: slash-and-burn forest clearance). As well as hearing about the progress of the research of each of these individuals, I held a seminar on the research plans in Laos of Mr. Masuno. A lively debate ensued among the four professors present (Shigeo Kobayashi, Shinya Takeda and myself [all of ASAFAS], and Tomoya Akimichi of Research Institute for Humanity and Nature ), Mr. Anoulom Vilayphone, a graduate student of ASAFAS and a lecturer on the staff of the Faculty of Forestry, NUL, and Mr. Mushiake.
              Furthermore, with regard to the fact that Mr. Mushiake, a visiting researcher of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, has been giving supervision to two students of the Faculty of Agriculture, NUL in connection with their graduate dissertations, we confirmed the contents and progress made with each dissertation, and gave advice.
     (2) Joint Research
              Views were exchanged with Mr Thongly Xayachack, associate dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at NUL. Since I am responsible for the Vientiane Field Station in the Faculty of Agriculture, NUL, and in consideration of the specialty of myself, it was mutually agreed that Mr. Oudom Phonekhampeng, a specialist on fisheries and the associate dean of the Faculty should become a faculty member of the 21st Century COE program. On the basis of the present joint research subsidized by the Toyota Foundation, of which I have been the representative, and as regards the fields of ecological resources and their use, and changes in the form of management and rural development, putting together the wishes of Laos and Japan, it was confirmed that future joint research projects should be restructured. Moreover it was recognized that since a memorandum of understanding (MOU) has already been signed between NUL and Kyoto University, there is no need for an MOU for future joint research projects between the Faculty of Agriculture, NUL and ASAFAS. It was also confirmed that depending on the nature of the research projects, joint research might also be possible with other faculties and with LARReC (Living Aquatic Resources Research Center, attached to Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Laos).
              As regards the contents of the joint research projects in the Faculty of Forestry, NUL, reference should be made to Takeda's report.
     (3) Individual research
              The people of Laos greatly depend on fish for their intake of protein. In the use of aquatic resources in Laos, a feature not present in other countries is that frogs are regarded as important as well as fish. In the Department of Fisheries, the Faculty of Agriculture, NUL, aquaculture is a popular research theme. On this occasion, and with particular regard to frog culture in Laos, I interviewed one of the counterparts at the NUL, Faculty of Agriculture, Mr. Xethysai, on the developments of frog culture in Laos, and on the contents of research in the Department of Fisheries of the Faculty of Agriculture. While at the Department, I also investigated the frog culture facilities. To make the body larger more quickly, indigenous Laotian breeds are mated with Thai breeds, and are also crossed with North American bullfrogs. Through this visit, I was able to obtain a good understanding of the picture regarding the production of the species for breeding.
     (4) Administration of the field station
              The possibility was examined of setting up an appropriate field station in the vicinity of Savannakhet, which is designated as a research area for joint research work at present subsidized by the Toyota Foundation.


      Future Tasks
                It is necessary to go forward with the discussions on the workshop that is scheduled to be held within this year.


    Research on frog culture is being carried out at the Department of Fisheries, Faculty of Agriculture, NUL.   The Namgum River, a candidate site for joint research with the NUL.
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