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Current World Bank sudents of the PPT program share their impressions of their experience at YNU in the messages below.

I remember the morning I learnt I had been awarded a scholarship from the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP). On that day, I was in Nay Pyi Taw on business. I was overjoyed and made phone calls to my parents, director and deputy director, reading the scholarship award letter aloud to them. It was the most exciting morning of my life! It is etched on my memory forever.

I have been working for Myanmar Internal Revenue Department as a tax officer for the last nearly six years. Since my previous academic trainings were mainly in English, my knowledge in policy and taxation were limited in many aspects. Although I am learning by work experience and performing my duties well, I sometimes lose confidence in my ability for my professional career due to lack of academic background in the related field. Therefore, I have a dream of getting an appropriate academic degree in related field for my career development and my department. I believe that going to university again will make me more confident in my professional career. My dream is becoming a reality at Yokohama National University and the National Tax College in Japan.

Starting from the day I got there, I had been greeted by kind and always-ready-to-help professors, staff and my fellow scholars who made me feel welcome in a foreign environment. They were willing to lend a hand in all that I needed. I wish to say dōmo arigatō gozaimasu (どうもありがとうございます) to you all.

I am glad to have the opportunity to say thank you JJ/WBGSP for granting me an opportunity to study both in Yokohama National University and in the National Tax College Practicum. Without the scholarship program, there would be many students such as me unable to pursue the advanced economics and taxation degree they have dreamed of.

Su Hla Phyu
Cohort 20

“I have a strong belief that the toll of success is hard work”

I grew up in a rural area where children would rarely go to a distant area to attend their regular schools which was mostly attributable to the fear of the challenges against barriers of infrastructure. In addition, there was a lack of attention of their parents’ towards schooling due to lack of knowledge about modernization. But currently such hindering factors are reduced significantly thanks to the effort of my government.

I have been working as a general manager for ERCA, Jimma branch since 2014. Prior to my current position I was a vice manager at Zonal Revenues Authority office under Oromia Regional state. I received my BA degree and joined the Revenues Office as a promotion in the early 2010 as a district (local) branch manager under Oromia Regional Revenues Authority. Holding a diploma in 2006, I had earlier served as an officer at the finance and economic development district office for three years. Inevitably, in a position in which I have been placed in the last decades plus years, I have noticed the challenges and the prospects of tax administration. I have always wished to be a public finance policy analyst in order to take some responsibilities and present it to my government so as to fund the socio-economic transition of Ethiopia, which was the ultimate cause of my application to this program.

I was so excited to hear my selection into the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBSGP). Now, I can almost say that the sky is the limit. Because I see myself growing to defend the skill and knowledge gap through upgrading my profession in particular and to adequately understand what is going on in the real world in general.

As I did my undergraduate in economics, this program will help me in deepening my knowledge of the subject matter and the practicum part is also expected to increase my capacities through knowing the contemporary issues for sound formulation of public finance policies, tax policies, developing smart tax administration systems and devising strategies to realize a reliable taxation system in Ethiopia through initiating a revenue-enhancing tax reform that broadens the base and make the laws understandable that communicate changes very well. Thus, going back to my home country, hopefully, I can strive and confront contemporary challenges through contributing my effort to the improvement of economic development of Ethiopia.

I found the MPE staff and professors at YNU and NTC to be very kind, cooperative and supportive. Once again, I would like to humbly extend my deepest gratitude to the government of Japan, the World Bank, the Yokohama National University (YNU), MPE staff, NTC, NTA and my Organization (ERCA) for the opportunity of lifetime to pursue the Master's Degree of Public Policy and Taxation in Japan.

Demelash Kebede Gejea
Cohort 20

Konnichiwa, Nooraini desu. Malaysia kara kimashita. Yokohama kokudai gakusei desu.

I visited Japan for the first time in 2015 for a 10-day holiday, visiting Tokyo, Yokohama and Hakone. I did a homestay with a Japanese host family that was extremely kind and treated me as though we were relatives. Ever since, I have had a strong affection for this country and its people. I could feel the differences between the Japanese and Malaysian cultures and I found this to be extremely fascinating. I realised there is something special in Japanese society that makes me want to stay longer in this country: the kindness and consideration that Japanese people have always had toward people around them. I believe this is a rare social characteristic that can be found only in Japan. The warm- heartedness of the Japanese people captured my heart and made living in Japan become my biggest dream. My experiences in Japan made me want to get to know the country even more.

Luckily, I found out about the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) for Public Policy and Taxation (PPT) through my employer, Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRBM), and decided to apply. After going through the tough application process, I was delighted that my dream would finally come true – coming back to Japan as a foreign student. I am now studying the Master’s Program in Public Policy and Taxation (PPT) and Japanese language at Yokohama National University (YNU) and attending the internship conducted by the National Tax College (NTC) of the National Tax Agency (NTA) of the Japanese Ministry of Finance, which classes are held every Monday at GRIPS Tokyo (Roppongi).

I’m happy to say that I got the scholarship and I really appreciate this JJ/WBGSP for its extraordinary personnel training. This can help Malaysia strengthen their human resources in the area of tax management policy. Thus, I will return to my home country to share my valuable experiences, skills and knowledge to improve taxation practices.

I suppose this is the best opportunity that I should not be missed out in my life. Thus, I would like to extend my highest gratitude to the World Bank, Japan and Malaysia Government, IRBM and YNU for realising my dream. The Sensei, MPE’s Office staff and all my classmates are really helpful. We are one family. They taught me the true experiences of Japanese culture. Karera wa subarashii desu. Arigatou gozaimasu.

Nooraini Mat Ali
Cohort 20

A famous saying goes, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Based on my experiences, working in Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia since 2004 in several divisions such as ICT Department, tax collection, desk audit, tax education, customer service cum public relation officer and recently as a Senior Revenue Executive in Exchange of Information division under the Department of International Taxation, I realized the importance of tax revenues and to have the right policy to a country development and economic growth. Hence, the quote above has aspired me to challenge myself to apply to the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) which offers a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Taxation in Yokohama National University, Japan. As a citizen of a developing country, it has been my dream to get a chance to study abroad in a developed country, particularly Japan. When I received an email from the World Bank that congratulated me as a winner of the scholarship, I was overwhelmed, as this opportunity might happen only once in my lifetime.

In this program, to study in Yokohama National University and attending the practicum in National Tax Agency, Japan at the same time, it is the best combination of education technique, i.e. to learn the economics theory as well as to understand tax administration of Japan. Besides, The Master’s Program Conducted in English (MPE) officers, Professors and Teaching Assistants (TA), are taking care of the students very well. The information, handouts and lectures have been delivered efficiently. They provide useful materials related to economics, prior to student admission in order to give basic ideas on economics for non-economics background students.

I am grateful to have supporting friends of Cohort 20 from other developing countries, such as, Myanmar, Ethiopia and Namibia, who have inspired me to be persevere, determined and dedicated in pursuing our dream. Thus, after earning the degree, I wish to return to my home country with the new knowledge and skills I learned here to contribute to my organization as well as to my countries’ social and economic development.

Once again, my highest appreciation to the World Bank, Yokohama National University and National Tax Agency of Japan for this golden opportunity.

In three words, I would describe living and studying in Japan as peaceful, amazing and fantastic!

Subarashi Nihon! Mata aimashou! Doumo Arigato Gozaimasu!

Noor Dianna Salleh
Cohort 20

Message of appreciation

I am honored and privileged to be one of the 2018 recipients of the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP). Thank you for your generous support and the great opportunity accorded to me to pursue my career at Yokohama National University (YNU).

I have been working for the Ministry of Finance, Namibia in the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) for 5 years as a Senior Taxation Officer. I am a holder of a four-year bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration. I realized the knowledge gap in my professional career, thus I applied for the Master’s Degree program in Public Policy and Taxation to broaden my tax knowledge and skills. I believe in Bruce Lee’s quote “life itself is a teacher and we are in the state of constant learning”.

I have just begun my graduate career as a master’s degree student in Public Policy and Taxation at YNU. My plans at this stage are to complete my studies and return to my home country to apply the enhanced knowledge and skills I'm gaining in Japan. YNU offers one of the finest programs in Japan as well as in the entire world and I consider myself fortunate to be given this golden opportunity to study in a developed country. I am enjoying every moment at YNU; the National Tax Agency tax practicum sessions, field trips and recreational activities such as touring the beautiful scenery of Japan. My apprehension of Japanese language is improving day by day (“Watashi wa nihongo ga dekimasu”).

Japanese people are wonderful, helpful, patient, disciplined, considerate, hardworking and good people to associate with. I highly appreciate the World Bank, Japanese government, YNU, Namibian government, and my family for the support. My educational pursuits would not be possible without generous support from scholarship sponsors such as government of Japan and the World Bank. Thank you for this invaluable opportunity rendered to me.

Doumo arigatō gozaimasu !

Johannes Fudeni Shikwaya
Cohort 20

I was incredibly excited to hear that I had been selected to receive the JJ/WBGSP Public Policy and Taxation scholarship. I have been working at Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority Western Addis Ababa Branch office. Executing my responsibilities as a tax auditor for the last nearly five years, I have gained valuable experience and had excellent opportunities to work with many people from different corners of life. This experience has led me to the desire to remain in this profession to the end.

However, since, my previous academic trainings have been mainly in accounting, my knowledge in Policy and Taxation were limited in many aspects. Millions of thanks to the government of Japan, because now I can proudly say that I have received the assurance of a career that I really want to pursue in my life. This scholarship opportunity rests me in the center of the incomparable knowledge that no one can easily find-Yokohama National University.

Usually people don’t like Monday. But the National Tax College Practicum just not only motivated me to long for Monday, but also made it possible for me to understand the true meaning of being a tax professional. “Japanese?? Oh…these people are simply AMAZING!!” They have given me great love, respect, compassion, and humility that I cannot describe in words. Rather, I will be thankful for ever. "Arigato".

Akalu Kibret Hailu
Cohort 19

Greetings from Bangladesh!

I joined Bangladesh Taxation Service in December 2010 as an Assistant Commissioner of Taxes under The National Board of Revenue (NBR), Ministry of Finance.

Being admitted to Yokohama National University, Japan for the two-year Public Policy and Taxation (PPT) Program, I would prepare myself with the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute to the efforts of the Government of Bangladesh in raising internal revenue and thus improve the tax-GDP ratio of Bangladesh.

Moreover, this ideal program will broaden my horizons through various fieldtrips as well as interacting and exchanging views with Japanese tax officials. It will also help me in expediting my career and excel in my present job.

Therefore, achieving this superlative opportunity of enrolling in this two-year Master of Arts in Economics program, which emphasizes economics along with the integration of a tax practicum, I believe it will equip me with cutting-edge knowledge and skills as well as exposure to contribute to the development of modern tax system and improved tax culture in Bangladesh by the application of knowledge and experiences I would acquire from Japan.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Japanese government and the World Bank for awarding me with this prestigious JJ/WBGSP scholarship. In addition to this, my sincere appreciation is extended to Yokohama National University, the professors and MPE’s Office staff for facilitating this hardworking course with utmost care and making it entirely enjoyable.

Ariful Hoque
Cohort 19

Being granted an opportunity to study is great, but being granted an opportunity to study a program that is tailor-made for your career needs is probably the best thing that can happen once in a lifetime. I can humbly say “Thank you JJ/WBGSP for granting me such an opportunity.” Since I joined the Taxation field about 3 years ago, acquiring as much knowledge as possible has always been my desire. To that effect, I have acquired some but there was nothing compared to the opportunity that JJ/WBGSP has presented to me. The environment in Yokohama and Tokyo is so marvelous and spectacular; it is very conducive to learning.

In the words of Bruce Lee “Knowledge will give you power, but character respect,” I am grateful to be studying my master’s program in Public Policy and Taxation, specifically in Japan, because despite the rich knowledge the faculty of economics at Yokohama National University(YNU) and the National Tax College (NTC) is imparting to me, I am also learning the beautiful Japanese language and culture. My simple definition of the Japanese is that they are a people are mindful of others as they pursue their own goals. This is evidenced from the experience that I have with the professors, faculty members and students just to mention a few. This shows that upon conclusion of the program I will have killed two birds with one stone by gaining power through knowledge and respect through character.

I have been working in the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) for 3 years. I joined the Authority as an investigations officer, then I was transferred to the Large Taxpayers Office. Recently in January, I was transferred to ITAS project which sought to modernize by automating the domestic Taxes business processes. Apart from the Public Policy part that the faculty of economics in YNU is drilling me in, I feel this scholarship was granted at the most opportune time not only for me but my department and Malawi as a whole on the basis that Malawi is in the process of modernizing its Tax system and the NTC is training me on even more modern tax practices thereby enlightening me of MRA’s expectations during and post-modernization.

Once again, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Japanese government, the World Bank, Yokohama National University and National Tax College for this rare opportunity.

Symon Mkandawire
Cohort 19

The opportunity that had been offered by the World Bank in collaboration with the Yokohama National University (YNU) and National Tax Agency in Japan (NTA) to further my study in Master’s Program in Public Policy and Taxation was the biggest achievement that I will never let go of.

Through this program, I believe that I will acquire more knowledge regarding public policy formulation and economics, as well as taxation. This program itself will provide me with the opportunities to explore way to improve public polices and taxation system by giving fundamental knowledge of public policies and taxation, provide experience and practise knowledge in Japan Taxation Administration system and also undertaking comparative studies with developed nations.

Yokohama National University, with its outstanding faculty, colleagues from various countries and tax practicum at the National Tax Agency (NTA) will broaden my understanding of cutting edge practices in public policies and taxation especially in Japan taxation administrative system. I can return to my country to apply what I have learned, analysed, and identified. I would like then to propose how this can be put into practical application taking into consideration the special circumstances of Malaysia, with the goal of supporting the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRBM) move into the right direction and help my organization to address the problem about noncompliance taxpayers and to increase tax revenue.

Safilidin Muhamad Ramli
Cohort 19

I have been working as a Tax Officer under the Inland Revenue Department, Ministry of Finance Nepal for five years. Though my work experience boosted me enough for my professional achievement, I was feeling a gap in an appropriate academic degree in related field which is most essential to strengthen myself, my professional career and ultimately to the tax system of my country. My strong motivation for career development and the gap which I experienced motivated me to apply for Master’s program in Public Policy and Taxation in Yokohama National University Japan.

Right now, I am feeling that I did the best decision of my life for my professional achievement. I found the course is very fruitful and most essential for the tax professional. To get the opportunity to learn about Tax system and other policy related issues in this developed country is really one of the great opportunity for the government employee of developing countries. I found the professors and staff at YNU very helpful and supportive as well as being very creative learning environment at the University.

I am very much thankful to the World Bank and Yokohama National University for selecting me for the course and awarding me the scholarship. I am very much grateful to JJ/WBGSP. After completing this course, I will return to my country. The theoretical knowledge and practical experience achieved from this program will really contribute a lot in my professional career and the tax system of Nepal.

Teeka Upadhyaya
Cohort 19

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