I was newly appointed as chairman of Japan Biochar Association (JBA) in April, 2016 succeeding the first chairman, Dr. Makoto Ogawa who had contributed tremendously to growth of JBA since its foundation in 2006.
JBA has been contributing to biochar community not only by holding our annual meetings and Asia Pacific Biochar Conference (APBC) in 2011, but also by playing an important role in other APBC and international conferences organized by the International Biochar Initiative (IBI). JBA has also actively participated in social events such as the Carbon Storage Agriculture Program of Japanese government. As a result, Professor Akira Shibata, Director of Secretariat of JBA, has received Environmental Minister Award in Low Carbon Cup.
In the meantime, JBA has created a number of research partners from United States of America, The United Kingdom, Germany, and South Korea, some of which have created national biochar research institutions. We also have been cooperating with some developing countries including Cambodia, Vietnam, and Philippines, and inviting a number of research partners to Japan through Sakura Science program.
Although we have been proudly promoting biochar research around the world, we feel that our leading roles have been faded in recent years. For example, US Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS) has initiated a large-scale biochar research program, and achieved reliable results especially in areas of biochar adsorption and soil remediation process.
On the other hand, regarding environmental issues in general, the 4/1000 Initiative proposed in 2015 Paris Agreement (see http://4p1000.org/understand) promotes goals with exact same intentions as our own goals, which aim storing the carbon in farmland as a form of carbide and trying to contribute to alleviate climate change. In Japan, some government agencies including Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries have incorporated biochar application into their policies, however general public do not yet fully understand meaning of our activities, leaving us very frustrated. I think it is necessary for us to promote our activities further not only in Japan but also around the world utilizing our accumulated knowledge and network in this timely occasion when the biochar research is attracting global attention.
However, it is unavoidable facts that participants in our activities are getting old, out activities lack new ideas, and researches are struggling with obtaining new research funds. I feel urged to break this vicious cycle.
I think that the only way to overcome these situations is through deepening our cooperation with peoples in different fields, and making our utmost efforts.
As JBA, we will share our ideas together and make recommendations to society. We will also extend the use of biochar and conduct environmental conservation activities. We would appreciate for everyone’s cooperation with us.
Dr. Yoshiyuki Shinogi, Faculty of Agriculture, Kyushu University
JBA board member
President: Yoshiyuki Shinogi
Vice president: Yasuyuki Okimori
Secretary general: Akira Shibata
Regular board:(Syuuji Yoshizawa, Mitsuru Oosaki, Hidehiko Kanegae, Yoshiaki Umezawa, Yoshiki Inoue, Tsuyoshi Hirowaka, Tadashi Kimura, Munehiko Iwaya, Shinjiro Sato, Toshiki Tsubota)