Today, the Prime Minister Kan will deliver a speech at 11am. I imagine staff are busy in preparation.
I started the day with the ‘IdeasLab’ of Harvard University. The speakers were Dr David Ellwood of the Kennedy School, Dr Mohsen Mostafavi of the Graduate School of Design, two Deans (the Business School Dean, Dr Nohria was unable to make it), Dr David Bloom, GAC’s Ageing Council Chair, and it was hosted by Annie Koh of Singapore Management University. The theme was ‘Breaking Education’s Boundaries’. It was a very exciting session. I enjoyed making comments, too.
The speech of the PM Kan started at 11:30. However, much of the audience left the venue before the speech since the panel before was ‘The Global Economic Outlook’ hosted by Martin Wolf of the Financial Times. But who can complain?
I thought that the prime minister’s speech was quite good. Starting with the recent disturbance of Egypt, he spoke well, and the way he handled the Q&As was also good. You can view this On-line (both in English and Japanese ). Now, the question is, when, how, and to what extent can the Kan administration carry out their plans as described in the speech. It’s time that the strategies and decisions of the government be tested.
On the other hand, I see quite a few problems on how PM Kan’s speech was reported in Japanese media. I urge you to read and compare how the newspapers reported it. Today, unlike the old days, you are able to see and listen directly to the original speech. This is the power of the internet. How do you evaluate the speech of Mr. Kan or the quality of the reports by the Japanese media?
Immediately after the speech, a lunch meeting was held with Mr. Kan, and hosted by Mr. Carlos Ghosn. I think Mr. Ghosn managed the Q&A’s well, too.
After lunch, there was a panel titled ‘Re-inventing Japan’ (everybody knows that there have been many panels with similar titles and yet nothing has changed…). The Prime Minister opened the event with his message, followed by Minister Kaieda, Dr. Sadako Ogata, Mr. Kojima, Chairman of the Mitsubishi Corporation, Mr. Charles Lake of Aflac. The host was Mr. Kristof, former head of the NY Times Japan office. Since Mr. Kristof was well aware of the problems in Japanese media (such as the one about ‘Kisha club’, the reporters’ club), it seemed there was incompatibility amongst some of the comments in the beginning. Of course we know Mr. Kristof is not responsible for this…..
I enjoyed participating in several sessions, listening to many new ideas, meeting wonderful people, having lively conversation, and making new friends in new fields. You never know what happens in the future. I saw many interesting new developments in the fields such as Design, Arts and technology, the Scientific frontier, etc. in the effort to address global issues.
The evening soiree, ‘Inclusive India!’, presented a show full of actions. The venue was packed with people, so I left rather early.
At any rate, in this Davos meeting, I noticed gaps existing between the roles played by government and industry in their handling of international finance and other issues. Things appear to be calming down at this moment, but in reality, there is a high possibility that some big change could actually occur within several years’ time. The notion of this was not spoken openly, but at a level of very private conversation. I had this sort of conversation with a very famous economic journalist who told me there was a concern that EU may be like Japan, like it was for these 20 years.
Today, there exists a number of situations that could trigger crisis on global scale. Tunisia and Egypt may be just the beginnings.