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Cleaning activities by Japanese national support Jakarta as its hosts Asian Para Games

Members of the "Jakarta Osoji Club" are seen picking up litter from a street that is made into a pedestrian area on Sundays, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Oct. 7, 2018. (Mainichi/Yuka Narita)

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Volunteer cleaning activities initiated by a Japanese national and others six years ago have been supporting this city as it hosts the third Asian Para Games.

The activities by the volunteer group "Jakarta Osoji (cleaning) Club" have taken root after local residents took over the project. And even an individual linked to the organizing committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics was impressed. "We'd like many people to support (similar activities) in Tokyo."

Fifteen men and women were seen collecting abandoned straws, cups and cigarette butts from a street that leads to Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, the main stadium for the ongoing Asian Para Games, on Sunday, Oct. 7. The road is made into a pedestrians' paradise on Sundays, and the volunteers wore uniforms bearing, "Osoji Club" in English and the slogan, "Littering is embarrassing," in Javanese.

The movement began with Tsuyoshi Ashida, 56, whose father is Indonesian and mother is Japanese and operates a company in Jakarta, in 2012. Ashida decided to improve conditions in the Indonesian capital where people did not hesitate to litter.

Ashida wrote a letter to a local Japanese-language newspaper calling for participants to join him his cleanup activities, and he and other people who agreed with him launched the project. They were later joined by students and other individuals, and now the group is composed entirely of Indonesians who conduct the cleanup a few times a month.

(Japanese original by Yuka Narita, City News Department)

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