Activity Report

Activity Report of Open Application Course vol.38

Teaching Malaysian University Students Food Science - a Step towards Sustainable Society -

Report from the Japan-Malaysia Association

From November 12 to November 21, 2017, Japan-Malaysia Association invited ten students and one teacher of the Resource Science and Technology Faculty, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), and organized a training program for them.


In front of the Statue of William Smith Clark near Hokkaido University From the 1990s, our association has been engaged in rehabilitation of degraded tropical rainforest using dipterocarp trees that are native to the area in Apeng, Sarawak, Malaysia. The activities have been conducted in cooperation with the Forest Department Sarawak, the Sarawak Government, and the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), together with the native population of the area.

The Apeng area used to be covered with tropical rain forests, which were later cleared, after which a secondary forest grew naturally and was designated as forest preserve, but people are continually engaging in illegal deforestation to cultivate Elaeis guineensis. To address the problem and create a sustainable regional community in the area, there is a need for environmental education and enlightenment activities to ensure that the local residents understand and have sufficient knowledge of the environmental conservation and start behaving in a more responsible way.

Informed by the above, we decided to organize a course that would give information on such issues that have not been addressed locally yet as production of food firmly grounded on scientific knowledge, risk and safety management in food processing, and consideration that needs to be paid to environmental issues due to globalization of food circulation.

The objective of the course was to teach the following five main points and encourage the participants to apply for admission to Japanese universities.

  • (1) Food chemistry - a study of various aspects of food including its components and taste from the point of view of chemical science
  • (2) Food technology - a study of practical knowledge and technologies related to food manufacturing
  • (3) Food safety - a study of various kinds of knowledge on safety of food
  • (4) Food functions - a study of functions of food products and health from the point of view of bioscience
  • (5) University education/research and measures conducted by the private sector in Japan regarding sustainable forestry management

The participants of the course learned through visits, etc. about the education, research, and the environment for studying abroad regarding food science and forestry management implemented by Hokkaido Univ., the Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Utsunomiya University, and the University of Tokyo, about the food-related measures conducted by public administration, research conducted by the Hokkaido Food Processing Research Center, visited the food production plant of the Maruha Nichiro Corporation, thus fostering a better understanding of food safety management.

After the course, the Japanese students, students from Malaysia, people related to the university and the Japan-Malaysia Association were invited to participate in the final briefing and attend the closing ceremony.

Below are the comments the students wrote in the questionnaire survey conducted after the course.

- The highly advanced culture, science, and technology of Japan were truly astonishing. I would like to use the experience I gained during the course to contribute to the development of Malaysia.

- Thanks to the course I took this time, I am now feeling a strong desire to pursue research. Seeing students from Malaysia studying in Japan, I got very interested in possibilities for me to follow their example.

- I saw with my own eyes that those pursuing research of science and technology at Japanese universities do it not for their self-satisfaction, but rather focus on how they can use their knowledge to contribute to the society. This course taught me that when studying, one should always think about the society, the environment, and one's country - as well as mankind in general.

- During my visit to the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), I was deeply impressed by the various measures that are being done there to get children interested in science, and I felt how important such endeavors are.

- I feel that the SAKURA Exchange Program in Science is a highly meaningful initiative, and I hope that it will continue for many years to come.

image2 Enjoying Mongolian mutton barbecue
image3 During a visit to a laboratory (Hokkaido Univ.)

image4 During a visit to a laboratory (Hokkaido Food Processing Research Center)
image5 Food processing factory of the Maruha Nichiro Corporation

image6 Obihiro Forest Park (Obihiro)
image7 Enjoying a Shinkansen ride and station lunch

image8 Listening to presentations on education, research, and programs for foreign students (the Univ. of Tokyo)
image9 Campus tour (the Univ. of Tokyo)

image10 Briefing (in metropolitan area of Tokyo)