In that YES program five students were awarded. They were students from IIT which is a prestigious university in India. Out of these students, four studied in Japan for 6~8 weeks from the end of May. Mr. Jain participated in the research of robots at Honda, Mr. Goyal did research at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Mr. Tomar did the research for 4 weeks at the Okazaki Laboratory and Tsukuba University respectively, and Mr. Agarwal participated in research at JVC. All of them gathered at GRIPS (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies) to participate in the round table talk before going back to the home country the next day. I have heard that one person did his training in Google as there was some problem for acquiring Japan visa. It is very unfortunate as it is such a trivial thing.
I asked everyone to talk about the awarding ceremony of Honda YES Award, their conversation with Mr. Pachauri, and about their personal experiences in these several weeks in Japan. All four talked about how they enjoyed the study and doing the research in Japan, how everybody helped them very kindly, how they could do the exchange with many young people and how wonderful the teachers were who gave them splendid guidance. Mr. Agarwal stayed with a host family who treated him very well. It seems that everyone had a wonderful experience. During the talk, everyone commented on the differences between India and Japan which they often experienced. Hands-on experiences like these at young age are very important. I am confident that they will all become precious "ambassadors of Japan" with wonderful memories of Japan in their mind. I said so to the students, too.
We had dinner together in the evening. I am thankful to many people including those from Honda Foundation who helped us. International exchange of young people like this is inconspicuous but it is an extremely important activity which would increase the fans of Honda in India as well as the world. It is a delightful thing. I would like to see such type of activities expand more and more. I would be happy if this kind of efforts arise more from civil and/or private sector. Expanding personal relationships from the young age is the basis of making friends internationally and also to nurture the diversified human talents (resource) in this global era. It is most important for the future of Japan.
Furthermore, to encourage youth of Japan to have actual experiences overseas is even more important. Knowledge only is not useful. Activating the bilateral exchange is an important policy through which big effects towards the future of Japan in the global era can be expected. After all, nowadays, there are too many extremely introvert Japanese.