We want to express our sincere gratitude to all concerned and the ZERI members for their continued understanding and support for ZERI Japan activities. The new coronavirus, COVID-19, which occurred in China last December, swept the world in a blink of an eye and changed the world’s appearance.

Until now, globalism or global capitalism led by the United States has been driving the world economy, which activates the economy by the free movement of money, people, goods, and information. Since the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, China’s economic growth has been remarkable while making good use of this system. Besides, China’s annual military budget growth rate exceeds 10%. As for FY2019, China spent about 18 trillion yen, while the US 79 trillion yen and Japan 5.3 trillion yen in Japan. China spends most of its national budget on military power, and it is now competing for hegemony with the United States. With the United States and China as the epicenter, nationalism centered on home countries emerged in each state of the world. Brexit also occurred in the EU. And now, triggered by this COVID-19 situation, many countries in the world have taken advantage of nationalist policies, pushing the global collaboration behind.

The US-led global economy has created a wide disparity between the rich and the poor in the world, creating various contradictions through the operation of the stock market and other capital markets, which are the core of the global economy, justifying the principle “gold produces gold.” Money has no color. But an economic system that emphasizes “return of investment” (maximizing the profit made by capital) is efficient, but rich people collect more money while putting aside the resolutions for deterioration of the environment, global warming, and dissolution of the gap between the rich and the poor. However, now the corona has triggered off the trapped magma of distortion. We are slow at dealing with global warming. The species of living creatures are decreasing at an alarming rate. Marine plastic pollution is occurring on a large scale in a short time. New economic principles and global collaboration are needed to solve these global problems. ZERI Japan will proactively tackle these issues based on the SDGs “no one is left behind”.

Due to COVID-19, unfortunately, the marine plastic pollution prevention campaign planned for March 2020 by the R4W boat to deepen exchanges and problem-solving by visiting nationwide harbors has been postponed. We have scheduled to reorganize this in the second half of 2020.

In this way, I think that 2020 will be a turning point for a review of a new global economic and social system. I want to work with all of you while watching the movements of society with caution. We look forward to your continued support in 2020-21.

President, ZERI Japan

Yusuke Saraya