In Toronto Again!

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Its already the third time that I am visiting Toronto this year. This time, it was to attend a meeting of the World Dementia Council, the first meeting after being re-formed at the 2013 G8 Summit held in the UK.

This date was arranged to follow the week-long Alzheimer’s Association International Conference that was held a few days earlier in the same city.

As soon as I checked in at the hotel, I headed out to the ballpark where the local team the Toronto Blue Jays were taking on the San Diego Padres in an MLB game. The stadium was almost full, meaning that the only seats available were the very steep outfield (500 level) seats. I had to leave the game at the top of the 7th inning. When I opened the morning paper the next day, I found that the game had not only gone to the 12th innings, but that they had overcome a 2 run deficit to post an improbable and dramatic walk-off win. The home crowd must have gone wild! You can relive the game through the following links (link 1, link 2).

Returning to topic, at the first meeting of the new independent World Dementia Council, there were discussions of several recommendations for the agenda, a brief summary and an outlining of the transition process (1).

The WDC was till recently a council created under the purview of the UK government. This was the first meeting as an independent council, yet there was very little discussion about how the new WDC would seek to enact changes that would help distinguish it from its predecessor. There was a general emphasis of discussion about such strategic intent, and I provided my input based around these observations. I think that this repositioning from UK Government to an independent one will be more difficult than imagined, but one that will nevertheless lay the foundation for the identity of this very important group in the years to come.

As one of the nations with the highest levels of population ageing, how will Japan act in the coming years. At the G7 held in Ise-shima in May, A Vision for Global Health was outlined, and section 2-2-2.5 deals addresses the issue of dementia. Similar recognition is required at the G7 Kobe Health Ministers’Meeting. For the ‘dementia tsunami’is something that we can predict with a high degree of certainty.

I met a lot of people here including John Dirks from the Gairdner Foundation, and Peter Singer, CEO of Grand Challenge Canada, and also had the opportunity to meet Consulate General Nakayama at the embassy.

I also mention Dr. John Dirk’s name here to celebrate the fact that the Canada Gairdner Global Health Award ( one that Dr. Satoshi Omura, Nobel Laureate of 2015, received in 2014) that was started in 2009 has been renamed to honour him ahead of his imminent retirement from the Foundation.


Information

I participated in a seminar on “Global Health Security and Response to Public health Emergencies through Better Preparedness” at UK Embassy, on June 29.

https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/building-a-world-better-prepared-to-fight-public-health-emergencies


Information

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I will join in an International Symposium “Bringing Vast Renewables to Global Interconnection” on September 9 at Marunouchi,Tokyo.

More information and registration:
http://www.renewable-ei.org/en/activities/events_20160909.php

 


Various Gatherings and New Friends

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These days, I have had a lot of opportunities to participate in gatherings organised by inspiring women and young people.

The first of these events was one that I had not planned to go to, but I was thankful to be able to attend. It was organised by a group of researchers based in Washington, and headed by enormously successful women like Dr. Sachiko Kuno and Dr. Hiromi Murakami, who is an adjunct fellow at CSIS and also a board member of HGPI.

Last year, I had been able to support this admirable group by participating in the inaugural panel discussiony. The focus of this year’s workshop was on providing young female entrepreneurs. Speakers included Dr. Kuno and Ari Horie, who has proved to be a force to be reckoned with in Silicon Valley. I can tell you that their enthusiasm was infectious, and the program was very lively!

Another event that I attended where talented women were in the spotlight was the annual awards ceremony of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science. As with previous years, it was held on the premises of the French Embassy. Three inspiring young female scientists, Miho Kitamura, Reina Tanaka, and Hiromi Tanji were recognized for their contributions to science (link in Japanese).  All three recipients are from Tokyo University. The reception afterwards was very classy and enjoyable.

Talking of beautiful settings, I attended a small gathering at a stylish café in Daikanyama on Saturday evening, where we had a farewell party for some young students who will be starting at UCLA this fall. And amid all this hectic activity, I still had time for a meeting with a woman who had a daringly ambitious project that at the same time was a very thoughtful  one.

The next meeting I was invited to was not a gathering of young people, but rather a meeting of the Dutch and Japanese Trade Federation (DUJAT) at the Dutch Embassy, where I was able to learn of the latest developments. Unsurprisingly, Brexit was the word on everyone’s lips. I met an old friend of mine, Gaku Yamamoto, with whom I spent my early schooldays. Interestingly, the current Managing Director of DUJAT, Radboud Molijn, first started working in Japan thanks to his connections with Yamamoto Gaku san, a well known actor.

Another memorable get-together was a small dinner gathering to celebrate a close friend’s birthday at a certain place in Tokyo. I almost lost track of time as I fell under the spell of the glorious wines on offer.


Welcoming the Chancellor of UCLA

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More: https://www.facebook.com/tadashi.yokoyama.ucla83?fref=ufi

Every June, the Chancellor of UCLA, Chancellor Block, makes his annual trip to Asia. He has many Japanese ex-post-doctoral fellows who worked with him before he came to UCLA and always looks forward to visiting Japan.

I also visited UCLA two weeks ago.

This year, we took this opportunity to host a UCLA alumni gathering to coincide with the Chancellor’s visit. Over these past couple of years, there have been more young Japanese alumni who have joined. It is heartening to see that in particular, there many who did their undergraduate studies at UCLA.

Each year, there are three students who study at the UCLA Laskin School of Public Policy, but last year there were around ten.

In 2019, UCLA will reach its 100th anniversary and there is a fundraising project underway to commemorate the anniversary. In Japan, there is the “Kashi (Oak) Forest Project” that is taking place between Tokyo and the city of Tsukuba. It is being planned to establish a UCLA Japan Center in one of the spaces. This has been made possible by Masaru Murai.

Around here, there are many research centers and there are many researchers who come from UCLA. This sort of commemorative event does not take place frequently and the Chancellor seemed to be quite happy.

I have been the Chairman of this alumni association for the past six years since 2010 and have been able to pass on the torch to Mr. Tohyama of TMI Associates from this year.

It makes me happy to see that more young members joining, as young people are the future of Japan.