Nippon Foundation Current Affairs - 2020

Japan gifts Manipur a Peace Museum built on WWII memories

Japan gifted Manipur, one of India’s north eastern state a Museum of Peace built on the memories of Battle of Imphal, one of the fiercest battles of 2nd World War (WWII). The inauguration of Imphal Peace Museum marked 75th anniversary of Battle of Imphal.

Key Highlights

Location: The Imphal Peace Museum was inaugurated at Red Hill which lies about 20 km southwest of Imphal (Manipur capital).

Funding: The museum is funded by Nippon Foundation, a private, non-profit grant-making organization based in Japan.

Relics: Among the highlights of museum such as diaries and other memorabilia of those who returned to Japan safely, is a framed calligraphy by Shinzo Abe Japan’s Prime Minister, which reads heiwa- meaning peace in Japanese.

Why Red Hill?

About 70,000 Japanese soldiers, alongside those of Indian National Army (INA) of Subhash Chandra Bose, died in battles with British-led Allied forces in areas around Imphal and Kohima from March-June 1944. The last of these battles was fought at Red Hill in Imphal. In 1994 Japanese War Memorial was also built at Red Hill to mark 50th anniversary of battle.

Significance: Imphal Peace Museum symbolises the reconciliation between Japan and Britain and Japan and India. It will serve as a living memory of the tragic war which reinforces the message that history changes and will make the world learn from past which is required for a lasting peaceful world.

What is Battle of Imphal 1944?

Battle of Imphal took place in region around city of Imphal (Manipur’s capital) from March to July 1944. Japanese armies with an attempt to destroy Allied forces at Imphal invaded India, but were driven back into Burma (todays’ Myanmar) with heavy losses.

The Battle of Imphal together with simultaneous Battle of Kohima (also known as Stalingrad of the East) on road by which encircled Allied forces at Imphal were relieved, was the main turning point of 2nd World War’s Burma Campaign.

The Japanese faced the largest defeat up until that time at Kohima and Imphal with many of Japanese deaths resulting from starvation, disease and exhaustion suffered during their retreat.

UN Sasakawa Award 2019: Awarded to Pramod Kumar Mishra

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) conferred ‘Sasakawa Award 2019’ for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) to Pramod Kumar Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister of India.

Key Facts

  • The Sasakawa Awardee was announced at recent Award Ceremony during 6th Session of Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) 2019 held at Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Pramod Kumar Mishra was awarded in recognition of his dedication to improve resilience of communities most exposed to disasters and for his personal commitment to social inclusion, which as per him acts as a critical principle to reduce inequality and enhances safety net of socially and economically marginalized section of society.

About Sasakawa Award

  • It is the most prestigious international award in Disaster Risk Management (DRM) area.
  • It is jointly organized by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the Nippon Foundation.
  • Objective: It recognizes individuals, initiatives and organizations which have contributed towards ensuring inclusive participation in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities for all sections of society.
  • Prize: The Sasakawa Awardee (one or more winners) is given a total grant of US $50,000.
  • Background: In 1986 Mr. Ryoichi Sasakawa, the founding Chairman of Nippon Foundation, established following three prizes –
    • The United Nations (UN) Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction.
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) Sasakawa Health Prize.
    • The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Sasakawa Environment Prize.
  • Sasakawa Award 2019: For this year’s award UNDRR received more than 61 nominations from 31 countries. The theme of 2019 Sasakawa award was- “Building Inclusive and Resilient Societies”.

About GPDRR

  • It is a multi-stakeholder forum to review progress, share knowledge and discuss the latest developments and trends in reducing disaster risk.
  • It was established by the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
  • It a biennial meeting which takes place every two years.
  • It was first held in 2007. Its sixth session took place in Geneva, Switzerland from 13 May to 17 May, 2019.