Taking Japan’s Know-How Home to Zaire

By BRIAN COVERT
STAFF WRITER

KYOTO — Japan’s knowledge of tropical weather patterns can be useful to other nations, says an African scholar at Kyoto University, who would like to apply such information to his own country.

Kazadi Sanga-Ngoie, 35, said he intends to “use Japanese know-how and apply it to the African economic system” as soon as he complete his doctorate in meteorology in two years.

“The problems of climatic change in the tropics, especially in Africa, will be my main point,” he said.

Sanga (his family name) said many of Africa’s hunger problems are linked to its weather patterns. Japanese technology such as underground water pumps and “artificial rain” may ease those problems, he said.

Sanga said he plans to act as a meteorological adviser when he returns to his homeland of Zaire, a central African nation seven times larger than Japan.

“I’m just trying to put together different ideologies,” he said, with particular focus on how Africa’s climate fits in with the global weather scheme.

Before coming to Japan six years ago, Sanga was a lecturer at the University of Kinshasa in Zaire. He had obtained a master’s degree in solid-state physics at Kinshasa and was working toward his doctorate in that field when the faculty asked him to change his studies, he said, because of a lack of native Africans in the meteorological field.

In Sanga’s view, it will take international cooperation by all countries, including Japan, to help ease Africa’s burdens.

The key to technological support on the corporate level lies in knowing about Africa, its people and the lifestyle of those people, he said

Sanga observed that Japanese people seem to share many cultural aspects with Africa.

“The Japanese, in general, are closer to African culture than to European culture,” he said. “As Africans, I think we share many things (with Japan) which we don’t with Europe.”

In addition to studying at Kyoto University, Sanga is also the general secretary of the African Friendship Association in Japan. The group has seven branches throughout Japan, with headquarters in Kyoto.

Its goals, he said, include promotion of intra-African ties within the organization and to seek a broader international understanding with other non-African people living in Japan.

“We really want that exchange to be fruitful,” he said. The association hosts meetings, cultural get-togethers and other activities to help Japan’s residents “know about the African, his way of life, his way of thinking and how many countries there are” in Africa.

The club is open to people of African heritage and others who simply have a sincere interest in African affairs, he said.

Sanga speaks four native African languages, as well as Japanese, French and English. He and his wife are living in Kyoto with their two daughters.