Alumni: Kenta TANAKA - Tokyo Metropolitan Government (Affiliated with the Bureau of Waterworks)

As an intern with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Makassar Field Office in 2011


(Interned at Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Makassar Field Office [Indonesia] in AY2011 ) 
After graduating from IDEC, I became a public servant with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. I have worked at the Bureau of Waterworks for seven years. I am currently involved in improvements to ensure a stable supply of water during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics  as well as projects to renew water pipe lines in preparation for when disasters may occur.

- Looking back on from your internship until now, what word or phrase would you use to express it?


The phrase that came into my mind was “emerging from a chrysalis.” Recently, in a good way, I feel that I have become freer in the way that I think and act. I think that G.ecbo was the catalyst to discover a new me. I still have some way to go until I can become a proper grown-up though. (Laughs)


- When you do you feel that you are able to make use of your experiences in G.ecbo?


During my G.ecbo internship, I stayed in Indonesia and carried out a survey on the operation and actual business of a mode of transportation peculiar to Indonesia – paratransit (auto-rickshaws, shared taxis, etc.). As I wanted to hear what people on the street had to say, I found a local interpreter and every day we went out into the town and interviewed drivers and passersby. In the course of conducting my research I realized that there was a plan for a monorail to be deployed. I wondered whether the current mode of transportation would become obsolete and after mentioning that I would like to talk to someone in the government about it, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to talk to someone high up in the government (perhaps head of the traffic bureau). I was not exactly sure about the future when I became an intern but as I worked hard at it, I found that there was a circle of people around me who were willing to cooperate and help me.

Already seven years have passed since I started my job but still, all the time I come across new things and issues. At times like that I remember the lesson I learned through my experience in G.ecbo: that if I keep on trying hard enough people will come together around me to cooperate and help me. So I make a point of not holding back but trying my hardest. In my work now, I do not have much to do with things outside of Japan but the safety and technology of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Bureau of Waterworks are top class globally and we are making efforts in providing technical support to countries where the tap water is not yet safe to drink. In the future I would like to be involved in international projects but for the time being I am concentrating on building up my expertise and acquiring technical knowledge.


-What do you feel made a big impression on you and remains with you? What has been developed even further?


First of all, have a try. Before, logic would have come first and often action would not follow. With the challenges I overcame in G.ecbo as the catalyst, I am not so hesitant any more. People tell me that I’m a man of iron will.


-What advice can you share with those who are graduating after you?


If you feel even just the tiniest bit excited about something, then have a try.


(Left) On-site inspection inside a tunnel where a water pipeline is being newly installed. 
(Middle) Making an inspection of a water supply station 
(Right) Hitting it off at a bar. Enjoying a drink together with the German person sitting next to me.