Over a five-day period from June 27 to July 1, a party of three Japanese welding specialist – Takashi Miyata, president of the Japan Welding Engineering Society (JWES), Hirosada Irie, former chairman of the JWES’s International Activity Committee, and Masaharu Sato, a JWES Supervising Manager – visited Indonesia. During their stay, they observed a WES training course for welding coordination personnel that was in progress at the Politeknik Negeri Jakarta (PNJ), which is affiliated with the University of Indonesia. They also visited the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering of the university, engaged in informal talks with Japanese government officials at the Japanese Embassy, and visited the Jakarta offices of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to report on overseas developments of the JWES and its activities in Indonesia.

The aim of the recent visit was to observe the results and current status of certification activities for welding coordination personnel that was implemented as part of a current JICA project, as well as to visit organizations affiliated with Japan, and to exchange opinions on ways to support improving the level of welding technology in Indonesia.

The background to the visit goes back to the Japan-Indonesia Economic Partnership Agreement (JI-EPA), concluded between the governments of the two countries in 2007. This agreement included a commitment to cooperate on support for the improvement of welding technology. On investigating the matter of welding-related technical cooperation, the Japanese government sought advice from the JWES welding technology, equipment, and materials. In November of the same year, the JWES worked out an agreement with its Indonesian counterpart, the Indonesian Welding Society (IWS), which defined the respective roles of the two societies in the introduction of a certification system for welding coordination personnel in Indonesia. Initially in 2007, the JWES became involved with Indonesia in two ways. It acted directly on the basis of the memorandum of understanding with the IWS (focusing on exchange), and it provided technical advice to the Japanese government. However, since the Indonesian’s desire to introduce a personnel certification system as soon as possible matched the Japanese government’s desire for concrete action and results from the JI-EPA, the JWES was contracted by the Japanese government to execute a basic survey in Indonesia to explore the best approaches to technical cooperation. As part of this survey project, it was decided to go ahead with the introduction of a certification system for welding coordination personnel within the framework of the JI-EPA (within the ODA budget).

In March 2008, the JWES began its certification activities in Indonesia by sending a delegation to implements its first welding coordination personnel training course/examination in the country, and to conduct a survey of existing welding personnel training courses/examinations and education and training institute in Indonesia. Then, in fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2009, JWES received further contracts from the Japanese government to conduct basic surveys in Indonesia, and continued to work on training and certification of welding coordination personnel and the establishment of a certification system.

Since the Japanese government initiatives were implemented strictly as survey projects to examine approaches to technical cooperation, the implementation of this technical cooperation project was taken over by JICA from 2011.

As increasing numbers of course were held in Indonesia, it became possible to appoint local teachers to conduct training course. This development enabled JWES to implement multiple training courses/examinations simultaneously in different cities.

However, technical cooperation with Indonesia based on the JI-EPA is defined within a comprehensive framework as an initiative of the Manufacturing Industrial Development Centre (MIDEC), with welding technology falling under “interdisciplinary cooperation on fundamental technology and its promotion” within MIDEC. This MIDEC initiative was to be in effect for five years after the termination on the JI-EPA agreement. This year is the fifth year of MIDEC’s five-year term.

Thus, JWES president Miyata and the others visited the Japanese Embassy and JICA’s Jakarta offices for discussions aimed at assessing the results and status of certification system initiatives in Indonesia, and to examine future approaches to cooperation.

On June 28, they observed the 10th training course that was in progress at PNJ at the University of Indonesia (Depok campus). This training course was held as part of a welding technology improvement project by JICA. Hiroyuki Nakashima and Hideaki Harasawa, both technical advisers from JWES, were conducting a class for senior welding engineer (SWE) certification, as JICA experts.

At the Depok campus, there was also a class for associate welding engineer (AWE) certification that was conducted by local teachers, while training courses for AWE and welding engineer (WE) certification were held simultaneously in Serang in Banten province as well.

The party of three also paid a visit to the Department of Metallurgy and Material Engineering, where they spoke with Bambang Suharno, the chairman of the department, and Winarto, a professor. They also toured the new “welding center” that the university is developing. At the time of their visit, the center building was still under construction.

As the authorized testing body (ATB) of Indonesian’s authorized national body (ANB), the department is currently preparing to launch a course for the International Institute of Welding (IIW) qualification of international welding engineers (IWE). The department is also proceeding to establish an exchange partnership with the Joining and Welding Research Institute, Osaka University.

Masaharu Sato, the JWES Supervising Manager, had the following to say about the recent visit. “Through the activities of JICA’s five-year technical cooperation project, the WES certification system for welding coordination personnel has progressed and spread considerably in Indonesia. Already, some 300 engineers have earned certification, and more than 500 people have joined training courses. Now that we are seeing solid results, we hope to see a cooperation system built on a new framework with revised targets in the following year or so.”

Sato added, “If this same certification system for welding coordination personnel were adopted as a common system for all of Southeast Asia, it would be possible to find welding professionals with the same level of training and certification in any country in the region. This would be a great benefit, both a local and Japanese companies.” Hopefully, a new cooperation scheme can be set up between the two countries after the current on expires.