National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) -4: The Report to be Sold at Bookstore


We have submitted our NAIIC report to the Chairpersons of both houses of Diet, and also uploaded it on our website simultaneously.

However, because of its huge volume, I have a feeling that having the content read and understood by broad population would be quite difficult, if not unrealistic.

But now, I have a good news for you.

NAIIC report will be published as a book (in Japanese) from Tokuma Shoten.

The book will be sold at many bookstores from September 11th, a year and a half from the Accident.  They are also available on-line from Amazon, etc.  The price is 1680 yen including tax.  Reference documents including commission meeting reports are attached as CD-Rom.

I urge and ask you to read this report by all means – the contents based on what has actually happened, and think about what you can do to support our “7 Recommendations to Legislators” which we offered as the outcomes of our investigations.

This is our another step forward.


National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) -3: To Nihonmatsu


On 28th, I was in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima.  Here, the people of Namie town and its local government office has evacuated.  Nihonmatsu is also a city where NAIIC held one of its town meetings.

I have a special reason to visit this town.  In our NAIIC report, I mentioned a book  “Japan at the Edge of Major Crisis” original title: 『日本の禍機』(in Japanese) by Kanichi Asakawa, a historian born in Nihonmatsu, Professor of Yale University, the first Japanese to become Professor of any university in US, in my message  (in Japanese, page 5, 6).  Several people responded to this, and one of them, Mr. Anzai, the Chairman of Seven Bank, who was also originally from Nihonmatsu, set up this lecture.

Mr. Uda, Chief Operation Officer (COO) at NAIIC, also happens to come from an old Samurai family in the Nihonmatsu han (“han” is a feudal domain which existed until the Meiji Restoration).  Nihonmatsu han had a very hard experience at the Boshin civil war.

Arriving early enough to Nihonmatsu, Mr. Anzai, Uda, Mori, the public relations officer at NAIIC, and myself went to the city office to pay respect to Mr. Miho, the mayor of Nihonmatsu, listened to his story and exchanged views.  We also went to the area where Mr. Anzai’s home used to be, the ruin of the Nihonmatsu castle, house where poet Chieko Takamura, was born, and the remain of the parents’ house of Kanichi Asakawa. 

The lecture of Mr. Uda and myself started from 7pm at the city hall (the same hall where we had one of the NAIIC town meetings). Quite a number of people arrived by buses (the city office arranged for many buses well in advance to avoid expected traffic jam).  The huge hall which accommodates 1,200 people was packed with people, many standing at sides or rear.  Those who were unable to get into the hall were guided to separate rooms to see the lecture on screen.  Mayor Miho and Chairman Anzai each gave a welcome speech for about 10 minutes, then Mr. Uda and myself delivered our lectures.  The audience was very attentive, we had lots of Q&As, the gathering went on for about 2 hours in quite an enthusiastic mood.

After the lectures, we had a short drive to Azumakan, at Dake hotspring, owned by Mr. Uda’s relative, for late dinner.  Talking about the lectures or the mysterious connections with Nihonmatsu each of us have, was fascinating.  It was truly a nice full day.

I was told on the next day that this lecture was uploaded on the web.  Please check here.

Isn’t it great that we live in such an “open” age?


To Okinawa ? Supporting the Exchange of the Youths of Asia


The next morning after returning from Fukushima, I took a flight to Okinawa.

It was to participate in the final day of “Asian Youth Developing Program in Okinawa (AYDPO) ” (“Asian Youth Exchange Program in Okinawa(AYEPO)” has changed its name in 2011). As I have reported to you in my past postings (Ref.1, 2) young people from Asia aged from 14 to 16 gather in Okinawa to spend 3 weeks together.

Since I have been supporting this program from the time of its planning, I have been to Okinawa almost every year for this event. This year I participated in the final day. From such event lots of young people with wonderful future networks will emerge. Participants and university student tutors from the past programs are connected via Facebook, and at every time of this year, they share their memories which they cherish as the most enjoyable time together. Since many of them have already started their careers in a variety of fields, it would be interesting to see what will happen. The network has grown to become a circle of more than 400 people as of this year.

Their presentations on the final day, and also the process of its preparation is a moving experience each year. Please watch and enjoy. “Water issues” are brought up annually for some time now.

After the presentations, I delivered a Closing Lecture “Uncertain Times Ahead; New leadership”. My point overlapped with my keynote lecture which I have touched upon in my previous posting “Harvard-Liberal Arts Without Borders”. Please click here to view my presentation on the web. (It starts from 1:31:51)

Lots of people who supported the event joined with the young participants at the reception that followed and had a wonderful time together.

I would very much like to see more events such as this expand.

According to the weather forecast a big typhoon is expected to hit Okinawa by tomorrow, so I took an evening flight back to Tokyo.


HLAB2012- Education of Tomorrow


Harvard College in Japan; Liberal Arts Without Borders is a program for Japanese high school students organized  mainly by undergraduate students of Harvard University and several Japanese Universities.  It had its 1st event last summer.

Since it was shortly after the “3.11” that this program was held for the first time last year, there were a number of restrictions and inconveniences to overcome, but still, more than 20 students participated from Harvard, and the event in the end turned out to become a wonderful experience for the 80 or so Japanese high school students, giving them great Impacts, thanks to the efforts of the undergraduate students from both U.S. and Japan.   The event was also covered by several Japanese medias.

I was greatly pleased with their success because I was advising and supporting them from the start. (Ref.1

Perhaps last year’s success helped in many ways, because the program of this year, the 2nd event, was able to obtain a great support from a large number of people.  I would like to call your attention to the fact that about 80 Harvard students applied, and among the chosen 23 students, 6 were from last year’s participants.  So, I became confident that this program is a success.

On top of this, there were 350 applications from the high school students this year.  I was so happy to hear this.  I imagine that the students in charge had to work very hard in planning the program, not to mention the selection of 80 participants from the 350 applicants.

This year’s program lasted for 10 days and the students stayed at the same accommodation.

On the first day I delivered an Opening Keynote Lecture; “Uncertain Times Ahead: Why Liberal Arts Now?”.   It was a pity that other than this, I was only able to participate in a part of the afternoon sessions of the next day and about 10 minutes at the reception.  I had to be excused from the rest of the remaining week because of other responsibilities including a visit to Fukushima and Okinawa.

It is my firm belief that such  “Peer Mentoring” out of boarders among the people of same generation, as seen in this H-LAB, will become an important core of education in the future. 

Voluntary activities of young people are encouraging in many ways and I am very pleased to see such movements.  I cannot help wanting to support them wholeheartedly.

Thank you so much to all of you who have given support to the students.


National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) -2


Today, August 23rd, is approximately 6 weeks after submission of the report of the NAIIC, and I, as the “former chairman of the committee”, am continuing my journey to see the heads of the 12 towns and villages ruined by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.  The purpose of my visit is to express my sympathy, as well as to thank them for their cooperation to our investigation.  Everywhere I go, I see the heads and feel the people going through tremendous hardships and difficulties.

This trip is the last of my series of visits to Fukushima.  I left Tokyo with two of our staffs, joined Ms. Hachisuka, the (former) committee member, at Koriyama station, and climbed into her car which she drove for about an hour to Kawauchi village where we had an appointment with Mr. Endo, the head of the village.

Then, we drove for another 2 hours, headed to Aizu-wakamatsu, where the temporary office of Okuma town is placed.  We got off from the highway for lunch of Udon noodle, the local speciality, then continued our travel via the local road, viewing the beautiful Inawashiro lake to our left, and also the fields of Soba (buckwheat) flowers.

Before going to the Okuma town we had a brief stop at the temporary housings where Ms. Hachisuka also lives, and then went on to see Mr. Watanabe, the head.  It was a very, very, hot day but the temporary office had no air conditioners, so the staffs were working busily in the lukewarm rooms with only some breezes coming from the fans that were placed here and there.  We had a chance to take several snap shots together.

The quake and tsunami destroyed instantly the whole infrastructure and basis of the living of the people and there are yet no future prospects available whatsoever for them.  I witnessed the tremendous challenges the head and staffs of the towns and villages are facing which filled me with deep sympathy and sorrows which words cannot describe.

I honestly wish that our report will serve as any assistance in turning this circumstance to a better direction as fast as possible. 

Immediately after arriving at Tokyo station, I headed for a session on NAIIC on the web  (in Japanese) produced by the Asahi Weekly magazine.  I think we had a series of good and meaningful interactions and it lasted for about 70 minutes.  Please take a look and think about it.

Now that I have completed my series of visits to all heads of the 12 cities, towns, and villages of Fukushima hit by the 3.11 disaster, I somewhat feel relieved. 

Report from the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission -1


As you know, I have been refraining from posting my views on this blog or sending out message via twitter since the beginning of this year.

It is because I was assigned as the Chairman of the National Diet of Japan
Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC
) launched on December 8th last year, as I have explained in my postings of January 1st , 2nd , and 3rd. I did not wish to evoke any unnecessary misunderstandings by expressing my private views on blogs or twitter, regardless of the relevance (to the commission) of the topics I choose.

NAIIC submitted the report to both the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the House of Councilors on July 5th, approximately 6 months after the launch of the Committee. My appointment at the Chairman officially ended on the day after the completion and submission of the report.

You will find media coverage in various forms by searching on the web by the key word “NAIIC”. I made comments in several television broadcasts and other media in the evening of the very day we submitted the report, and also in the next morning. Now that this frenzy is soothing down a bit, I think it is time for us to start making steady efforts in sharing this report with all the committee members of the Diet and the citizens of Japan, in various settings and places.

How the Diet reads and responds to our recommendations is surveyed and reported in many ways by the media, and we all know that their reactions are inevitably affected by the political climate which is very turbulent these days. At any rate, I do not hesitate to say that we, as a committee, did our very best to fulfill our responsibilities, in a given very limited timeframe, starting from the setting up of our team from zero.

The report is constructed from “7 recommendations” to the Diet of Japan. It is quite important that we share this “7 recommendations” with the people of Japan, and ask them to support the members of the Diet they choose in taking actions. Doing so is one of the processes of empowering the functions of legislative body under the trias politica principle of democracy.

I have written my rough idea in an article; “Common Sense and Responsibilities of Democratic Nation: What Did the Kokkai Jikocyo Aim At?” (in Japanese under the title; "Minsyusyugi Kokka no Jyoshiki to Sekinin: Kokkai Jikocyo wa Nani wo Mezashitaknoka") which I contributed to the "Sekai" magazine published from Iwanami Shoten.

Recently, I spend my time visiting the heads of the towns and villages of Fukushima, of which the residents evacuated because of the nuclear power plant accident. It is shocking to learn how much difficulties the people are facing every day.