The Japanese Shinto community's "Rice to Asia Project" culminated this year in the delivery of 7.2 tons of rice to six orphanages in Bangladesh, according to the February 1 issue of the Weekly Jinja Shinpo.
Together with staff of the project's secretariat, four Japanese university students flew to Bangladesh on January 2 to assist in the rice distribution. According to the paper, the rice itself arrived in Chittagong Harbor by container ship on January 1, was not released from customs quarantine until January 13, due to a strike by dock workers.
As part of the ongoing program of aid, the "Rice to Asia" project is promoting economic assistance to rice-growers in Bangladesh; this year, financial aid was given a large-scale agricultural household in the Brahmanbaria district. The director of the farm is described by the paper as a leading agriculturalist who has single-handledly organized a state-approved farming cooperative, and last year was honored as having produced the "nation's greatest area of rice paddies." The funds provided by the Shinto community has been used, the paper stated, to purchase a tractor and irrigation pump.
Other economic support was used to purchase 25 mated pairs of goats to be loaned to landless farmers in the same village area, and to excavate a deep well to provide drinking water in the district of Cox's Bazaar.
Much of the Shinto economic aid has been channeled through Japan's OISCA International organization ((Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement).