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Interviews with Vegetarian/Vegan Activists
July 2008

Interview with Executive Director of Japan Vegetarian Society 
Continuing our series of email interviews with leaders of IVU member societies, here is an interview with Mr Takehiko Takada, executive director of the Japan Vegetarian Society. If you would like to suggest someone (including yourself) to be interviewed, please send the person’s name and email address to george@vegetarian-society.org

What made you decide to become a vegetarian? When did that happen? How old were you at the time?

I became vegetarian 8 years ago, when I was 55. Since my friend was the president of Japan Vegetarian Society (JPVS), Dr Mitsuru Kakimoto, I participated in their meetings, lectures, etc, and got interested in the vegetarian lifestyle.

You are executive director of JVPS, a member society of IVU. How long have you been a leader of this organisation?

I have been a board member of JPVS since 5 years ago. Last year, I became executive director.

What made you decide to become active in promoting vegetarianism?

I have been working for the global environmental protection activities. I realized it was important to promote vegetarianism proactively in order to protect nature.

What is it that sustains your desire to be active?

The philosophy of the environmental organization that I’m involved with is “Our Ambition as Caring Citizens Is to Pass a Cleaner Planet to the Next Generations.” This is the driving force for me.

What is an obstacle that you face in remaining active in promoting vegetarianism? How do you overcome this obstacle?

In Japan, the people are still not familiar with vegetarianism. I think it is important to gain understanding gradually by providing information, never pushing too hard.

What is one of your organisation’s accomplishments that makes you especially proud?

We enhanced our website contents to spread knowledge on vegetarianism. We promote online enrolment of individual members, a restaurant approval system, and vegetarian labelling scheme such as the one done by Veg Soc UK: www.seedlingshowcase.org.uk/ . . . 197

How do you try to maintain good relations and enthusiasm amongst your organisation’s members?

We communicate with the members through various activities we organize, like lectures and workshops, dinner parties, small gatherings called Mini-Vegie, and our annual event called Vegetarian Week. Also, we publish two kinds of newsletters called Vegetarian Journal and Vegie Letter.

What is one way that your organisation cooperates with other veg organisations?

When we have events, we cooperate with animal rights and environment organizations.

Do you have any fundraising tips for other organisations?

In the past, our financial resource for the organizational operation was only the annual membership fee of the individual members, which is 3,000 yen. Now, we promote the approval system (recommendation mark on vegetarian products, annual fee is 200,000 yen per products – 1 Euro = about 163 Yen) and the restaurant approval system (20,000 yen/year) to raise funds.

How does your organisation reach out to people who are trying to become veg or who are newly veg?

We provide information through our website, and we give advice through our mailing list of the members.