III. A Twenty-Year History of APDA
Mother and child consumed by malnutrition..
Look into the emptiness in those big eyes...
Children born on the street only to die there.
Can we allow this misery on this earth?
Our love for life should be the heart of every discussion on population.
Each person deserves all the love and hope we can give.
Any solution to the population issue must lead to
a personal happiness of the individual concerned.
From the words of the late Takashi Sato,
former Chairman of
APDA and AFPPD
A Twenty-Year History of APDA
(Asian Population and Development Association)
Executive Director/Secretary General of APDA
The latter half of the twentieth century was characterized by "population explosion". At its peak 90 million new lives were added to the teeming population of the world. The world population that stood at 1.65 billion at the beginning of the 20th century grew to 6.06 billion by its end, representing an increase of 3.67 fold.
According to the United Nations Population median estimates, the world population is expected to reach 9.322 billion by 2050, the mid 21st century. Our region of Asia will have 5.422 billion people accounting for 58.2 percent of the total. It is not an exaggeration to say, therefore, that the trend of Asia's population will dictate the future of humankind.
Under an unprecedented population pressure, the earth is plagued with serious environmental destruction, shortage of food and water, runaway unemployment, poverty and prevalence of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Some say that the earth can only feed and support eight to eight and a half billion people. The population that threatens the survival of our planet is an issue that cannot be left to any single country to resolve. Co-existence with the mother earth urgently requires us human beings to bring together the best wisdom available.
APDA was born in 1982 against this backdrop as a small NGO with an ambitious mission to tackle the problem from a global perspective. While the population explosion is showing signs of slowing down, we are continuing to add 77 million people every year.
On the other hand, we observe here in Japan that the total fertility rate (TFR) is declining at an unprecedented rate, plummeting to 1.34 in 2001. Given this alarming scope of aging, caused greatly by the small number of births, the government is hard pressed to alleviate what it sees as a problem of national survival.
It is at this stage that APDA comes of age.
In compiling its twenty-year history. we begin by describing the situation leading to its establishment and the ensuing activities since using mainly the materials available.
I. The story of APDA's birth
The Asian Population and Development Association was established on 1 February 1982 as a licensed organization under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Welfare. On 31 March 1983, the following year, it received an endorsement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Today therefore, it carries out activities as a NGO under the auspices of the three ministries, Ministries of Health and Labour, Foreign Affairs and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. It was given a wider mandate as a good-will public corporation when the Ministry of Finance (current Ministry of Treasury) granted it on 19 August 1983 a license to conduct research and testing programs on its behalf.
In order to contribute to the solution of population problems, APDA sets the following objectives for its activities:
1. To contribute to peace, to improve welfare and achieve social and economic development in Asia through research and survey of population and development issues in Japan and in other Asian countries,
2. To support population and development activities of parliamentarians, functioning as the Tokyo office of Japan Parliamentarians Federation of Population (JPFP) and Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development that were set up to address population issues from legislators' perspective.
3. To address diverse population issues by supporting government contributions to international population agencies such as UNFPA and International Planned Parenthood Federation by maintaining alliances with NGOs around the world.
II. Beijing Conference urgently requested Japan to set up a parent body to support parliamentarian activities
A strong appeal for organizing an Asian group of parliamentarians to resolve population problems in Asia was raised during the Asian Parliamentarians Conference on Population and Development held at the People's Great Hall in Beijing from 27 to 30 October 1981.
Asia's population then was 2.63 billion or, approximately 60% of the world's total. Of the world's top ten populated countries, six were in Asia, the largest country, China with a population of 1.08 billion (22.3%), second largest India with 750 million (15.6%), fifth largest, Indonesia with 154 million people (3.4%), seventh, Japan 118 million (2.6%) , eighth, Bangladesh with 91 million people (2%) and ninth, Pakistan with a population of 89 million (2%).
Population issue that threatens the peace and safety of humankind cannot be resolved without considering the trend in Asia that has 60 % of the world's population. Asia, therefore, must be responsible to lead the world in the fields of population and development.
This shared conviction converged into a strong momentum to establish APDA (Asian group of Parliamentarians).
Elected representatives of the peoples were convinced that the organization should not just be a salon but an action-oriented effective group that formulated and implemented policies. For this to be a reality, they felt there was an urgent need to establish a parent organization.
The Beijing conference was attended by a delegation of twenty-two led by Takeo Fukuda, the former prime minister and chairman of Japan Federation of Parliamentarians for Population. The acting head of the delegation was Takashi Sato, a member of the House of Representatives (Liberal Democratic Party) and the deputy head, Eisaku Sumi, a LDP member of parliament and Mr. Hironori Inoue, a Social-Department party of parliament.
The conference elected Mr. Liao Chengzhi from China as chairman and Takashi Sato as deputy chair.
A total of some two hundred were present from nineteen countries of Asia, international organizations as well as from Latin America,
Participating countries were Bangladesh, China, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Kampuchea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran Iraq, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand and Japan with Brazil as an observer.
The Beijing conference became the driving force in creating the parliamentarian group dedicated to the world's population and development issues and a historic turning point for parliamentarians to contribute to the resolution of the population problems.
It was further suggested that the parent organization for the parliamentarian activities be created in Japan.