The New Champions, From Tianjin


The second New Champions conference was held in Tianjin.  It’s a new annual meeting organized by the World Economic Forum, known as the Davos conference.  It started last year in Dalian.  The event mainly brings together young leaders of new emerging companies in the world.  I was very pleased that many young entrepreneurs from Japan were taking part.  Out of the nearly 1,500 participants from around the world, about 60 were from Japan.

At 6 am on September 26th, I boarded a shinkansen bullet train to Nagoya.  There’s a direct flight to Tianjin from Nagoya International Airport.  How convenient, I made it to the conference in time for 2 pm, at the risk management workshop moderated by INSEAD’s Dr. Soumitra Dutta.  Apparently a high-speed train service between Beijing and Tianjin started ahead of the Olympics last month, but flying directly to Tianjin seems to be a more reliable and quicker way.

The venue of the international conference is of excellent quality.  China’s vibrancy is similar to the atmosphere in Japan 40 years ago.  Hosting the Tokyo Olympics back then inspired the construction of new infrastructure like the shinkansen bullet train and the Tomei expressway.  Of course, the speed and scale of building are of a different magnitude in today’s world of globalization.

Many of the Japanese participants were also at last year’s conference.  Mr. John Ehara from Unison Capital hosted a "Japan Sushi Dinner."  It was a smash hit.  Japanese-cuisine really has a worldwide appeal.  A dinner like this is a company’s intangible asset because people will surely talk to friends about the experience.  Word of mouth will eventually spread around the world and boost the company’s credibility, resulting in new opportunities.  Mr. Ehara remained very low-key throughout the event.  I’m very grateful for his efforts.  It became such a wonderful gift to our country too.


Photo1  Dr. Dutta from INSEAD(middle), Dr. Probst of WEF


Photo2  Yokohama Mayor Nakada

In the afternoon of September 27th, I served as a member of a panel session.  It was quite an interesting experience.  Because I naturally tend to speak fast, I always consciously try to slow down.  But this time I found myself talking even faster than usual.  That’s because each panelist was given only 2 to 3 minutes for an introductory comment.  We also needed to end the session on time since Premier Wen Jiabao was to make his appearance afterwards.  It was a difficult task to highlight my differences with other panelists and make sure that the audience understood the key points.  I need more practice.

Premier Wen Jiabao flew in to Tianjin directly from New York where he was attending the UN general assembly.  He delivered a powerful speech and answered questions very well.  He provided clear answers on some difficult questions involving the earthquake, food safety, and environmental problems.

A gala dinner was held in the evening.  I was a little disappointed that the music and dancing was mostly Western, and not Chinese.


Photo3, 4  images from the gala dinner


Crans Montana, Swiss


Crans Montana is a beautiful small town in a valley two hours drive from Geneva.  Here, I came on September 10th, from London to participate World Knowledge Dialogue.  This was its second, the first was in 2006 in the same town as you see in my earlier (sorry, but only in Japanese, but many pictures), and indeed, my third time to Swiss this year, Davos in January, and St. Gallen in May.

The meeting was for four days and this time I was honored to meet with Prof. Edward O Wilson of Harvard University, one of the most respected scholars of our time, who wrote many epoch-making, sometime controversial books such as ‘Sociobiology’, ‘On Human Nature’, ‘The Ants’ with the latter two received the Pulitzer award.  He is a cheerful and admirable person and we share a good time together over his thoughts including ‘fairy fly’.  By the way, you could see his lectures at Harvard on the web, too.

It was very good that quite a number from Japan including Prof. Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, participated and our contributions were thought significant.

The details of the program can be seen thru its websites for 2006 (I appear at a panel) and for 2008.  And you see many pictures and if you find me, let me know.

This year, I appeared in Day 1 at the Opening with Dame Julia Higgins (we know each other well since her days as Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society), and as Chair of the entire Day 4, thus you could see my commentaries and interactions through the webcasts.  In particular, the Day 4 is tough, the number of participants are less, everyone getting tired, some have to leave before the end, etc, thus I tried to make the entire session more interesting but casual.  I thought it went well and stayed on time and in fact ended 9 minutes earlier than the schedule.  Enjoy the website and webcasts.

I really enjoyed the conference itself and meeting with many interesting people, old and new friends.  Nonetheless, the format required as we discussed, certain strategic goals, participatory processes, and some outreach deliverables and actions.

There is a great champion golf course here and the Omega European Masters was played one week earlier.  I managed to play a round of 18 holes starting 7am finishing 10am.  I enjoyed it very, very much.

In the afternoon of Day 4, we moved to Geneva, visited some historical sites.  One was University of Geneva campus where John Calvin founded in 1559; he was the one who converted the city to Catholic to Protestant community in mid-16th century, and we wondered in front of a large Reformation Wall of Calvin and other three (see at ‘Reformed Geneva’ at

This visit gave me quite a moving feeling since in the Opening speech I mentioned on ‘Incunabula’ and commented Internet is the incunabula of today, that is to lead an unexpected consequence which may change the world. In fact, I said to the audience, because of incunabula of printed Bibles since Gutenberg of mid-15th century to year 1501, the religious revolution ensued almost 100 years later.  This message has been my recurring theme of some of my keynote speeches of ‘flattening and connected world’ as you may see in my blogs (refer 1 , 2 , 3 ) and elsewhere.

By a mere co-incidence, I was just standing there in front of such a consequence of major magnitude by John Calvin.

To London, for the GLOBE planning committee


2 weeks ago, I received a FAX from Mr. Morley, the Minister of Environment of Mr. Blair’s regime, whom I have introduced before.  He wanted me to participate in the planning meeting of GLOBE, to be held in London on September 8.

I therefore reached London on the 8th morning via Paris, went to the hotel, changed in just 30 minutes and left for the meeting.  I was a bit late and joined the conference at 10:20.  The meeting was held in the Thatcher Room of Portcullis House, House of Commons which is a part of British parliament.  After the announcement of resignation by the Prime Minister, the representative of Japan and Member of the House, Mr. Yoshio Yatsu decided not to participate in the meeting.

Img_1333Photo 1  Photograph of participants, Mr. Morley, Member of the house in white shirt (in the center), to his right Mr. Gardiner, Member of the house. Some participants returned to their countries in the half way.


Photo 2  The venue of meeting, a new building immediate right to Big Ben (It is not seen here)


Photo 3  Mr. Tokumaru from the Ministry of the Environment

It is necessary to investigate the policies as well as approach to the "Land utilization, Forest conservation, Biodiversity, Ecosystem" which is actually very difficult.  As Mr. Barry Gardiner, a member of the House of Great Britain, was in-charge and delivered a speech in the beginning followed by a series of serious discussions by about 15 participants.  I think it will be a significant step if we find out the way to focus the policy from domestic to global. It may take a while, but it is very good if such discussions go ahead in a meaningful form in years to come. It is a global and very important subject but does not move forward easily.


Photo 4  At  the reception, Mr. Gardiner, Member of the House, Mr. Nishigahiro, Minister to Great Britain.

The reception was organized at "The Goring Hotel", a small but sophisticated hotel which is common in London.

After staying for 24 hours in London, next morning, I am leaving for Swiss.  I will send next column from there.

Again from “Asian Youth Exchange Program”, High Motivation and Power of Japanese Women


Recently, I have talked about "L’Oreal and women in science", and "Asian Youth Exchange Program", which started in Okinawa.

In the column of "L’Oreal and women in science", I wrote how Japanese women players came out demonstratively different than Japanese men in the sports activities such as softball, baseball, soccer, Judo and wrestling in Beijing Olympics.

"Asian Youth Exchange program" is an excellent policy planned and newly started by the Former Prime Minister Mr. Abe and cabinet minister Ms. Takaichi as part of "Innovation 25" policy which I was also involved.  It would be nice if it expands and gets carried over nationwide.  The funds for this program do not necessarily have to be the public funds but can be collected through different schemes such as tax systems.  I hope that the schools, local communities and enterprises will make spontaneous contributions and participate actively.  That is  what I call "Society Innovation" and "Talent Innovation".

By the way, you can see various photos at  Have fun! Thanks to Mr. Ivannanto, an international student from Indonesia who had participated from Asia Pacific University, for creating this site.

As I was searching the data of this "Asian Youth Exchange Program", I realized that out of the 30 participants from overseas, there were 15 men participants and 15 women participants.  Of the 45 persons who participated from Japan, there were 30 women and 15 men.  Oh!, I thought, and when I inquired about the number of applications to the secretariat, the number of applications from women was overwhelmingly more and as a result the female participants were having higher competitive rate. The points related to the qualification, considering the competency to some extent, are written on the application form but still the motivations towards the participation is fairly different.  Isn’t it?  Why is it so?

I am expressing my opinions in this blogs frequently but please think about it.

Creative Capitalism


As you may note, I have been invited this year to a few, but very special occasions to speak on global issues and the fundamental changes underlying such social movements toward ‘One Inclusive Society’ (Reference 1 , 2 , 3 ).

One of a major focus In these speeches is changing faces of capitalism, thus CSR or ‘corporate social responsibility’ and I quoted Mr. Bill Gates for his phrase ‘Creative Capitalism’.  You may wonder what he means by the words.

In a recent issues of TIME magazine, it features a special interview of Mr. Bill Gates ‘How to Fix Capitalism’ where he discuss his concept of creative capitalism as he sees the status of the world reflecting the past century.  It is a very interesting personal, yet powerful argument for business leaders, consistent I believe with what I tried to convey in my speeches.

I would appreciate your giving some thoughts on such a concept and activity reflecting your business or whatever you do and plan to do.

Mr. Bill Gates will be in Tokyo in November.

Brilliant Female Researchers with Red Roses


As I had introduced before, the well-known cosmetics company, L’Oreal, presides over a program called "For Women in Science" (As this website is very pretty, browse it) in collaboration with the UNESCO and appeals its existence to the world.  This year the program has celebrated its 10th anniversary at Paris in the spring.  The prizewinners until now were invited and Congratulatory meeting was held.

3 years ago, Japan has also launched a program to award young female researchers living in Japan.  I attended the commending ceremony and congratulatory party last year.  Also this year, wonderful people were commended and their family members, teachers and fellow researchers attended the ceremony.  It was a very splendid gathering and I was glad to see it.

4 brilliant people were selected for this year. We shared a cheerful, pleasent time together.

A women’s magazine, Marie Claire, has also participated in this activity and presented red roses (Photo) to all the winners.  I met Dr. Noriko Osumi, whom I worked with 2 days ago in Okinawa and her mother who is also a famous scientist.

Lorealjapan200801Photo Ms. Bando and 4 winners

Ms. Bando, a chief of gender equality bureau of cabinet office, mentioning that percentage of female scientist in Japan is the lowest among OECD countries, encouraged the audience for further effort.  I was responsible to propose a toast and spoke on various topics like, though, Gender Development Index of woman in Japan is within top 10 in the world, Gender Empowerment Index of woman is as low as about 40th in 70 countries in the world.  This difference is due to the male oriented society which is not competency based.  There may be some hint in understanding the basic difference between male and female in Japan, in what we saw of (male) baseball and (female) softball at this year’s Beijing Olympic. In that sense soccer, wrestling and judo, etc. as well. Please think about it.  I think actually here lies the problems of Japanese society.

I would like to express my appreciation to all the winners, family members, fellow researchers, people involved in the selections and all related people for their hard work.

At any rate, we can see a strategy of a world class enterprises when such prizes are awarded.  Each winner, over a period of years, will act as an ambassador of L’Oreal and will fulfill wonderful duty of moving the mind of men and catching the hearts of women in the world and act as advertising tower of the sponsor enterprise.  I think there is no such a splendid and beautiful advertising media as this.  I expect Japanese enterprises to think more strongly about social contribution from this viewpoint.  This is what social responsibility (CSR) of the enterprises is all about.