Global Innovation Convention “GIES2007” and the role of organizer, Director and performer


A global convention called Global Innovation Ecosystem held for the first time last September had its second conference on June29 and 30. Visit their site at The first day was at Keidanren Kaikan and the second day was held at National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) where I belong. Ikoma, Arimoto, Ishikura and myself were the organizers and the “Director” that manages the whole event was Prof. Yoko Ishikura of Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, Hitotsubashi University. On the first day, as the chairperson, I reported about “Innovation 25”. I followed the Director’s instruction to “talk slowly in Japanese. Don’t talk too much, it’s the report that you have to present” and did my presentation right on time. My role today was an “actor” and I said that actors are not supposed to change their lines on stage, but there were changes of order and content of the slides until the last 10 minute which was quite tense. Wonderful plan, great stage is created when everyone performs their role properly.  Job well done!

After my speech, from Washington DC, Chairman Deborah Wince-Smith of Council on Competitiveness that published the “Innovate America” (so called “Palmisano Report”) made a powerful keynote speech. Then, representing Science Council of Japan, Mr. Kitazawa made a very nice speech. He spoke in Japanese, but the slides were both in English and Japanese.

After that, Chairman Ellis Rubinstein of New York Academy of Sciences, Mr. Kazuhiko Toyama who served as the COO of Industrial Revitalization Corporation of Japan, Mr.Nakamura from Hitachi, Mr. Bangalore from India (who happened to be quite an interesting person and a lot of friends I have in common), Professor Gu from China were the participants of the panel. Professor Ishikura who acted as the MC facilitated the panel elegantly and it zipped along very well. The whole panel was also done in English. For details, documents of the program etc., please visit "GIES2007".  They plan to disclose it on video, so I hope you will enjoy it.  But when you come to think back, only Mr.Kitazawa and my speech were in Japanese…
To get a grasp of the atmosphere, please visit  Mr.Deguchi’s report (in Japanese) which you must be familiar with by now. As he has just returned from Russia when he wrote this, it seems that he has mistaken that my speech was also in English, and later he corrects it.  Not only he participated directly from Narita after the visit to Russia, but also since my Power Point was in English, he seemed to get it wrong that I was speaking in English. But this proves that his ability to understand English is the same as Japanese, sort of a state of “trance”.   Amazing!
To get a feeling of the conference, I recommend going to Mr. Deguchi’s report (in Japanese) as he is the “professional” in writing.  It is more entertaining, so I’ll leave it all up to him for now.

From Singapore. Participation in World Economic Forum on East Asia


I returned back home after finishing the overseas work in Slovenia and Paris. Then I worked one day in Japan and came to Singapore for participating in Asia-Pacific/East Asia conference, “Davos Forum” (World Economic Forum), which is held annualy in January. The events of the conference can be viewed at Website of World Economic Forum.

Davos meeting is held every year in January at Davos in Switzerland, and recently it is widely known in Japan as well. I have been attending this conference since last 6 years and have written about  the events of the conference. (Year 2007 etc.). Furthermore, besides this conference, they have been deploying various activities worldwide. Refer to

This East Asia conference has been held since past few years and last year it was held in Tokyo, Japan for the first time. I participated in India Economic Summit, conducted in New Delhi, last year  and this time I will be participating in panel called Innovation “Mantra”.

The photographs and video of this panel can be viewed at the following sites.

The participants from Japan were Dr. Heizo Takenaka, Economic counselor, Mr. Khono from ministry of foreign affairs who is going to work as Sherpa for the G8 summit next year, Mr. Hirotaka Takeuchi, whom I have introduced in my blog  6/8, Mr. Tsukamoto from JETRO and Mr. Yokoyama from Social System Design.  They all are my associates, friends, and good debaters. Mr. Wakabayashi, the state minister for the environment,  participated in this meeting also and talked about principles and position of Japan in G8 summit.  This was very good, too.

After returning to Japan,  Mr. Fujisue of Democratic Party promptly wrote about this on his own website.

Whenever opportunity arises, we must report, ask questions, and write relevant details about the topics and queries. Presence of Japan should be improved much, much more. 
I would like to express my recognition and appreciation to all who have participated in the conference for their hard work.

From Paris, Comment on Japan’s weak public relations


I’ve left Slovenia and am now in Paris.  It’s a wonderful city.  My previous visit was in early May, but every time I come here it lifts my spirits.  It is a bit hot though, with temperatures at about 30 degrees Celsius.

My article “Challenges for Japan’s Scientific Community in the 2008 G8 Summit” is now uploaded on the site of the Association of Japanese Institutes of Strategic Studies, or JIIA. (The pdf version is here.)

The article points out how the Japanese government is not very good at public relations, both domestically and internationally, which is working to its big disadvantage. I wonder if it’s a mentality that everything is up to the government that results in weak PR.  No, because Japanese private companies and universities are bad at public relations too.  Basically, the sense of where the responsibility lies seems to be unclear. 

I wanted to show in a small way my sense of responsibility, through my March 13 posting entitled “Jeffrey Sachs and the Millennium Village Project” and one on May 29 called “Nikkei Discussion with President Yonekura of Sumitomo Chemical and Professor Jeffrey Sachs.” I want more people to learn about Japan’s activities and contributions around the world so that they will become more confident.
I understand that “be modest,” “never brag,” or “stay quiet because the truth will eventually be known” are considered Japanese virtues.  But government projects are using taxpayers’ money.  So, the government needs to better communicate its activities to the public, casually on a daily basis and with style.  Well-planned public relations is an indispensable strategy for a nation.  But the big problem is that those in responsible positions lack the sense that they are working with public money.

For a long time, the basic principle of the Japanese government was represented in a saying that goes, “You can make people follow you, but it is difficult to get them to understand the reason.”  One classic example of this mentality may be the recent problems at the Social Insurance Agency.  It really shows how lightly it takes the public.  Enough is enough.  Browsing through government websites also makes me think that the government doesn’t care to get the public to read the information and understand it.  I have always mentioned this to the people in charge of the sites, but they probably don’t have the power change them. Basically, public offices are filled with people that always give reasons why you can’t try something new.
Abraham Lincoln who is considered by many Americans to have been the greatest president of the United States delivered a speech in 1861 that goes, “Government of the People, Government by the People, and Government for the People.”  I feel that this basic principle of democracy has not taken root in Japan even today.   

What do you think?  After giving some thought to what you can do, take action.  Start doing it, even if it’s something small.

From Chronicle


In May, I was interviewed by Britain’s Chronicle newspaper reporter Mr. David McNeill. The article was published in “The Chronicle of Higher Education” of June 1st. The contents are as follows (in italics). Please be patient as the contents are little lengthy., Section: International, Volume 53, Issue 39, Page A37)
●Kiyoshi Kurokawa doesn’t mince words. As the government’s first handpicked science adviser, he wants to completely overhaul Japan’s higher-education system. And he believes he has the passion and ? at a sprightly 70 ? the energy to do it.
●"I stay young because I am so angry," he says in his Tokyo office, overlooking Japan’s parliament building. "I am almost exploding at the way the university system bangs down the nail that sticks up" ? a common Japanese proverb about the pressure to conform. "Our young people are not being allowed to excel."

We should not "bang down the nail that sticks up", i.e. discourage people who excel in talents.

●Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apparently agrees. Last October he asked Mr. Kurokawa, a former University of Tokyo professor of medical science, to advise his cabinet on science issues and to chair the Innovation 25 Strategy Council, a panel of professors and industrialists charged with forecasting Japan’s science and technology needs until 2025.
●A key structural weakness, most agree, is the country’s universities, which struggle to generate cutting-edge research and, with few exceptions, languish far down the list of internationally ranked universities. The council published its draft report in February, and the scramble is on to influence policy.

In this Global era, University reform is urgently needed.

●Unlike the chairman, the report is light on specifics and heavy on rhetoric, particularly about the need for "innovation." But Mr. Kurokawa sees it as a vision statement to inspire change. "Politicians don’t understand detail, so my comments have to be succinct," he says. "I keep my message to the prime minister simple."
●His suggestions include a huge increase in spending on higher education ? currently just 0.5 percent of GDP, compared with 0.9 percent in the United States, according to Japanese government statistics ? and abolishing the inflexible one-day entrance exam that largely determines where one attends college in Japan.

The “National Center Test for University Admissions” has to be stopped. It decides course of many people just by one test. Though the national budget for education is small, trying to pour in more budgets will rather hinder the reform unless we promote a drastic one.

●He wants to force the big universities to teach 20 percent of their courses in English. Just a handful of the most prestigious private universities are even close to this figure. And he wants to send thousands of students on foreign exchange programs.
●For good measure, Mr. Kurokawa would boost the number of foreign undergraduates to 30 percent of enrollment, up from 9 percent now, and appoint more women to senior academic positions. He points out that just one out of the 87 national-university presidents in Japan is female. One of his key reforms when he was president of Japan’s Science Council was increasing the number of women among its 790,000 scientists.

Top universities have to start the reform first. Nothing will happen unless they show examples. Drastic recruitment of women is also necessary.

Influence From Abroad
●Mr. Kurokawa’s educational philosophy was shaped by 15 years spent practicing and teaching in the United States, where he eventually became a professor of medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles. He says he was initially startled by the "flat" social relations of universities there.

●"I was expecting to be told what to do, but I was told by my mentor: ‘You are a kidney specialist, and if you think this is wrong, you say so. We are partners.’ That shocked me," he says.
●It was this experience that led him to diagnose what he calls the "fundamental defect" of university education in Japan: "The system here is so hierarchical."
●He wants to shake up the koza system, under which a senior professor dominates the intellectual life of each academic department and forces junior colleagues to wait years for promotion.

University is a place to bring up future talents.

●"That kills creativity and innovation," he says. "It has to be reformed so we can nurture our talent." Universities could then become the drivers of new technologies and environmental solutions, he believes.
●It is an ambitious program, and, as he is first to recognize, blocking its way is the deep conservatism of Japan’s educational guardians. Education Minister Bunmei Ibuki recently said that the country should "treasure" the fact that it is "fundamentally, one ethos, one culture, one ethnic rulership, one language, one belief system."

It is difficult to nurture creativity in such universities where the system is hierarchical.

●Prime Minister Abe is cut from the same political cloth, but his natural conservatism appears to have been trumped by fear that Japan’s universities are trailing the rest or the world.
●Whether Mr. Kurokawa’s ideas gain traction remains to be seen. If Mr. Abe loses his bid for re-election this summer, then the former professor may no longer have a soapbox to stand on.
●When he is told how difficult it will be to open up Japanese higher education, Mr. Kurokawa says, he always brings up sumo wrestling, a once ultra-traditional sport now increasingly dominated by foreigners and popular abroad.
●"We want to achieve the sumo-ization of universities," he laughs. "That is my goal."

It is the sumo-nization of universities.

●His aggressive ideas have won praise among some of Japan’s more innovative business leaders. But even they say it is hard to change the country. Mr. Kurokawa is not discouraged. "Revolutions sometimes happen slowly," he says.

Reformation is certainly difficult any where, in any field. “Education, Education , Education”- if you really want to change Japan, then "Education" has to be changed. No one would say that current “Education” is good but too many people in the board discuss education with personal sentiment for the good old days. I wonder how well education specialists perceive what is going on in this world of global era, think, speak, and act from a higher perspective? Anxiety is huge when I think about the young generation.

Earlier, I introduced a book on Jiro Shirasu (Japanese edition only. Shirasu is a politician). The author, Yasutoshi Kita, of that book has now published a book on “Fukuzawa Yukichi” (a Japanese author, writer, teacher, translator, entrepreneur and political theorist who founded the Keio University). Jiro Shirasu and Yukichi Fukuzawa are really excellent people considering the historical background of that time. Can we think of any such people nowadays?

G8 Science Advisors’ Conference, from Slovenia


After leaving Okinawa on 14th I arrived to Paris airport on 15th in the morning. I joined Mr. Tsugita of cabinet office who arrived in Paris one day earlier; and we went to Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia.  We got into a car and came to Bled, the place which is 30 minutes away from the airport.  It is a very beautiful place with green landscapes and is somewhat similar to Hakone in Japan.  We checked into the Hotel ‘Vila Bled’ near a lake known as “Lake Bled.”  I hear that President Tito stayed at this hotel in the time when Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia.  This hotel is pretty good.

I think many people remember Slovenia as a place of Yugoslavia strife along with Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia etc.  Fortunately, Slovenian troubles related to the separation from Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ended within a short period of 10 days and with a small sacrifice, it became independent in 1991.  The population is about 2 million.  Population of capital city Ljubljana is 300 thousand out of which 50 thousand are students, so it is the city of young people.  The town is calm and beautiful.

Photos1-4: Scenery of Vila Bled and Lake

I came here to participate in the G8 Science Advisors’ Conference (alias, “Carnegie conference”). This conference was started 15 years ago under the initiative of Carnegie foundation and is held twice every year.  Though the name of Carnegie still remains, now it operates independently.  Originally it was G7 conference but it became G8 as Russia has joined due to the breakup of the Soviet Union. EU is also a part of it.  From England, America, Canada and Japan Science Advisors of government leaders attend this conference; where as from EU the cabinet ministers taking care of scientific policies participate. So from some countries in EU, Ministers of education are attending.

This time, the host is Minister (Commissioner) in charge of science of EU and since Dr. Janez Potocnik from Slovenia is the Commissioner of Science and Technology of EU, this conference is held here. I heard that he has specialized in Economics. He is a young, well-organized and brilliant person. It is no wonder that he is working as the commissioner of EU for 3 years.

Photo5: Dr. John Marburger, Advisor to President Bush and Annette Schavan, Minister of Education of Germany.

Photo6: with Dr. Marburger

Photo7: with Dr. Andrei Fursenko of Russia and Dr. Schavan, Minister of Education

Photo8: Fabio Mussi, Education Minister of Italy (in the center)

Photo9: with Sir King of England

Photo10: with Sir King and staff of Dr.Potocnik

Photo11: with Dr. Potocnik

Photo12: with Dr. Arthur Carty of Canada

(Dr. Valerie Pecresse, newly appointed Minister of Higher education and Science of France have also participated but unfortunately, I could not get an opportunity to take a photograph since she returned on the same day.)

At the G8 summit in Germany (Heilgendamm summit), as was expected, it turned out that the discussion between EU headed by Dr. Merkel, Prime minister of Germany and United states regarding the issue of emission of carbodioxide did not get to agreement (so it seemed and I heard the same observation directly from officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister) and the matter seemed to have settled to current status of common target “50% in the Year 2050” proposed by Prime Minister Abe after the break.  This agreement was appreciated by American and British scientific advisors.  Since the political situation in Japan is too loaded with problems, it seems that the mass media did not cover much about what happened here (I haven’t checked the reports in Japan either since I was at overseas during G8 Summit).

Thanks to my Sherpa who lead the way and Mr. Tsugita from Cabinet Office of Japan who accompanied me.

Next G8 Science Advisors’ Conference will be held in England in December and the one after next will take place in Japan before the G8 Summit (Japan) in April next year.


From Pacific Science Association (PSA), Okinawa


Pacific Science Association(PSA) is an association established in 1920 having 80 years of history.  It is an association involving various scientific fields in the geographically wide area of Pacific.  Congress is held once in 4 years and InterCongress Conference is also held during that period.  It is an assembly including not only the natural science experts but also many from social science.

The Congress was held in Okinawa during 13th June~18th June.  Last time it was in Bangkok and there I was elected as chairman of the next Okinawa congress.  Therefore, I have the background of helping them during these 4 years.  However, it was not possible without the support of various people like President Morita of Ryukyu University, Dean Tsuchiya of the Science department, members of Okinawa university union, and Science Council of Japan, that we finally reached to the point of opening this gathering.  Thanks to their assistance we could also organize a 3 days joint meeting with Asia Science Council which was very good.  This Congress is growing to a fantastic meeting as His Royal Highness Akishino no Miya delivered a lecture and the chairperson of IPCC, Dr. Pachauri who is recently known world wide for his work on the climate change participated in the meeting.  I met Dr. Pachauri at various places and he has been invited for about 3 times in these few years for the meetings related to Science Council of Japan.

Her Royal Highness, Takamado no Miya also participated in the 3 days PSA congress where she addressed an opening ceremony with fluent ‘British English’ (She is a graduate of Cambridge university) (Photo1).  Her Royal Highness is also an honorary president of BirdLife International and has deep knowledge on wide fields. I heard that her Keynote Lecture at the Biodiversity session held on 15th was very impressive. Unfortunately, the lecture was given after I had left Okinawa, so I could not attend it in person.  At reception after the opening ceremony, this openhearted person was surrounded by many participants to talk about vast fields related to nature and life (Photo2).

Psa3_2Photo1: Her Royal Highness, Takamado no Miya addressing an opening ceremony. Dr. Doi, vice chairman of Science Council of Japan at my right.

Psa7Photo2: At reception of opening ceremony. From right, Her Royal Highness, Dr Shigeru Omi, Director of West Pacific Bureau of WHO, myself, Prof. Calestous Juma of Harvard university.

Board meeting of PSA and council meeting was held on 12th.  New directors were decided peacefully and next InterCongress Conference, 2009 was scheduled to be held in March at Tahiti of French Polynesia.  The Minister of Education of French Polynesia was also present at InterCongress Conference (Photo3). I had reunions with many friends and also participated in ‘Science Policy’ panel co-cosponsored by United Nations Institute of Advanced Studies (Photo4).

Vancouverpsaslovenia007Photo3: French Polynesia, Minister of Education and its group. 3rd from left is Minister of education, 1st is Mr. Burke Burnett of PSA Bureau, On my right is Ms. Nancy Lewis, Director of PSA Bureau.

Vancouverpsaslovenia009_2Photo4: Me just before leaving from Okinawa and my friends. From left, Mr. Rao of Science and Technology Department, India, Mr. Hassan, Director of Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), Mr. Zakri, Director of United Nations Institute of Advanced Studies, myself, Prof. Juma of Kennedy School of Harvard university and Dr. Cassim, President of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University.

Regretfully, I left the meeting in between on 14th afternoon and took flight from Okinawa to attend G8 science advisor meeting to be held at Slovenia.

Once again from St. Petersburg- Discussion between Mr. Palmisano, Chairman of the Board, IBM Corporation and Mr. Cho, President of Toyota about innovation


On Tuesday, 5th I went to Hermitage, the long awaited place.  Everything was wonderful and splendid. 300 years ago, Peter I the Great ordered to build a city on this barren land. Huge number of people must have died, as it is a damp area at the mouth of the river. In the winter, it will be cold beyond one’s imagination, so the situation must have been tragically miserable. Information about this place is available through the column which I posted last time and the site of Mr. Deguchi. Speaking of it reminds me the tragic story of Napoleon’s attack on Russia and his defeat.

‘Wonderful’ is the best word to express this Museum. There is a nice view of the porch (Photograph 1) after climbing the main staircase of entrance; it is also good that most of the internal flooring is made of wood. How did the people in those days live and what did they do to earn their living? What was the lifestyle of the people called as common people or the serfs? What was the composition of the population? Most of these exhibits are available on the site of Hermitage.

When you see the site, you can understand the extent of the support of IBM. I think that there are hardly 20 paintings of Davinci, but his very famous 2 paintings “Litta Madonna” and “Benois Madonna” are exhibited in a pair here.

If you see the pictures you will say “Oh! those pictures.”

“Head of Medusa" of Rubens was also on special exhibition. (Taking snap of that picture was not allowed). Matis’ collection was also wonderful. These paintings can be viewed on the website as above.

Like Vatican and Louvre Museum, the banquet hall gives you an idea of the great luxury in those prosperous days.  It was really something.

Let me show you some of the photos (Photographs 1-6). The photographs may be blur, as they are taken with a small camera.

Stpetersburg2014_3Photo1: Porch after climbing the main staircase of entrance of Hermitage

Stpetersburg2010_3Photo2: In the court of Peter 1 the Great

Stpetersburg2009_2Photo3: Banquet hall (1)

Stpetersburg2011_3Photo4: Banquet hall (2)

Stpetersburg2007_2Photo5: Pictures of Generals

Stpetersburg2012_2Photo6: Hall

In the evening, I attended the reception hosted by IBM in the courtyard. After the reception, others went on admiring the beauty of Hermitage in the midnight sun but I returned back. It seems that many of them had returned after midnight.

Stpetersburg2017_2Photo7:  In the Hermitage courtyard, Professor Takeuchi of Hitotsubashi business school (On observer’s right) and Mr. Nagashima, President of Teijin Limited

Stpetersburg2016_2Photo8: In the same courtyard, Mr. Mehta, former Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on left, Mr. Arimoto (on extreme right)

Next day, I attended the Business Leadership Forum of IBM, for which I came here. It was held in the Philpharmonic concert hall in front of Russian Museum that I had introduced in my column of June 4. A welcome speech by Mr. Palmisano, Chairman of the Board, IBM Corporation (he had worked in IBM, Japan during year 1991 to 1993) followed by a speech of Mr. Cho, President of Toyota.  Then, a discussion by those two moderated by Mr. Takeuchi, whom I had introduced to you before. The duration of each speech was about 45 minutes, but the content was so excellent that two and a half hours passed with surprising swiftness before one could know, and all were very pleased. There were about 20 participants from Japan as well. It was a pleasure to see that 2 out of the 3 people on the platform were Japanese which had an impact,  and the contents of speech were filled with knowledge and inspirations.

Especially, the Q and A session of Mr. Cho was excellent. Situation like this, where Japanese played an active role was rare recently, so people who participated must have been encouraged and given energy.  Mr. Takeuchi has presided over very well as if he was like an outstanding entertainer. Mr. Takeuchi was entrusted to host 2 panels in the morning session. Apparently people highly trusted him which is very nice.

Stpetersburg2018_2Photo9: In front of the assembly hall, Mr. Otoshi, Director of IBM Japan and Mr. Arimoto. They were classmates at the university.

People came to participate from various countries and all were great people. To name a few,  Dr. Carlota Perez, Dr. Rosabeth Kantor, and people from Telstra of Australia and ZARA of Spain (both are distinct enterprises) were fantastic. I think hereabouts are posted on IBM’s website. I also heard several instructive phrases all of which are placed in the latest "Innovation 25".

"My confidence became strong assurance”, as Daisuke Matsuzaka put it, best expresses my feeling.  However, the challenge is whether it can be implemented. The problem with Japan is always whether they can carry the plans out.  At least the people who have visited my blogs will understand the reason. Action is vital.  I don’t want to hear any reasons for not being able to implement plans.

At night, there was a reception in Russian Museum of Ethnography (Photograph 10, 11). Next morning I woke up at 3 a.m. I am writing this in the flight to Vancouver via Frankfurt.

Stpetersburg2019_2Photo10: Bird eye view of Assembly hall of Russian Museum of Ethnography

Stpetersburg2020_2Photo11: Mr. Arimoto and Professor Wu Maw-Kuen, Head of Institute of Physics, Taiwan

St. Petersburg, Mr. Deguchi and Don Quixote


This is the first time visiting Russia for me. I have not gotten used to it yet, for the sun did not set nor did it get dark, even at 11pm.

I am here in St. Petersburg to attend "The IBM Business Leadership Forum" a conference hosted by IBM. The chairperson of the event is Samual Palmisano, IBM Chairman and CEO, who chaired the "Innovate America" published in 2006. The event has been held annually for four years. Hirotaka Takeuchi, Dean of the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, Hitotsubashi University appears to be among the regular attendees of this event. He is one of the best panelists in such international conferences from Japan. Expected noted attendees include Fujio Cho, Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation whom I met in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Information of St. Petersburg is available through the website; In brief, St. Petersburg is a city located in the delta of the Neva River flowing to the Baltic Sea. The city was founded by Tsar Peter the Great as a "window to Europe” in early 18th century. As is always the case, the lack of historical recognition does not allow us to fully relish how interesting this historic city is. St. Petersburg was the capital of Russia until the government moved to Moscow due to the Russian Revolution of 1917. The scenery of the city is evocative of great luxury in the 18th to 19th centuries. St. Petersburg is also the birthplace of the Russian revolution of 1917.

How wonderful the scenery is! Beautiful green, large parks, and lots of trees. It is really cold here, though people enjoy it in their own way. I am going to stay here for a few days. I would highly recommend St. Petersburg as a great place to visit.

I stayed at Hotel Astoria, which is located in a very convenient location. Unfortunately, today is June 4th, Monday, and the Hermitage Museum was closed. Instead, I strolled around here for three hours. The city was crowded with a lot of people, especially the young, even though it was Monday. I was wondering why so many people were around on such a weekday. Was it summer vacation? I did not see so many cars but did frequently see old buildings around here. This led me to imagine that economic growth was yet to come.

First of all, I visited the State Russian Museum, which was founded by Nicholas II, the last Russian emperor, at the end of the 19th century. It has the largest collection of Russian traditional arts. Next to the museum, there is a church located on the place where Alexander II was assassinated in 1881.



The highlight is the Winter Palace Hermitage (See photos 3-5), which was built by Empress Elizabeth in the 18th century, daughter of Peter the Great. The Winter Place had served as the winter formal royal residence of Russian Tsars until the Russian Revolution in 1919. The museum is the biggest in terms of area in the world and also one of the world’s four greatest museums (the other three being the Metropolitan, NYC, USA, British Museum, London, UK, and Musee de Louvre, Paris, France). The museum has many European collections, which tells what a superpower Russia was in those days. I have it in mind to visit the Winter Palace sometime tomorrow.



By the way, in some columns here, I have mentioned the website "Digital New Deal" hosted by Shunichi Deguchi, Digital New Deal, DND Director, Visiting Professor Professional Graduate School, Management of Technology, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. In fact, Mr. Deguchi has given valuable support to the cabinet-run project "Innovation 25”, which I chaired. The website includes archives of email newsletters, titled the "DND email newsletters", which Mr. Deguchi delivers. Please check his website. There are several articles on his visit to Russia in the issues: April 25th, May 9th, May 16th and May 23rd. It was just a month ago. It is a really great read. How good his writing is and what a variety of topics he covers! He is an ex-newspaper reporter.

Especially in the May 16th, 2007 issue, he describes St. Petersburg beautifully and vividly. So I’d better stop writing on St. Petersburg. For there is no doubt that Mr. Deguchi is better at putting his own experiences into writing than me.

The issue: May 16, 2007 mentioned Mstislav Rostropovich, a great Russian cellist, who died on April 27th, 2007. Another issue: May 23, 2007 discussed Don Quixote, including the communication between us and his review on a Japanese book "INOBEISYON-NO-SAHOU (How to make innovation)" written by Ikujiro Nonaka, whom I respect. Please check Mr. Deguchi’s writing on Russia. Why Don Quixote? Don Quixote-ship is really important for innovation.

Please let me call it a day with some photos of today’s visit.

Photo 6 : Peter and Paul Fortress across Neva River Neva


Photos 7 and 8 : St. Isaac Cathedral across the Hotel Hotel and Field of Mars in front.


From St. Gallen

I am attending the 37th St. Gallen Symposium at the University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland. This student-run event brings together a group of international participants, including 200 students and 400 prominent international business leaders. Many are from Europe, including Switzerland, and others from across the world. This year the symposium turns thirty seven years old. The event began around the same time when the World Economic Forum, so-called Davos meeting in Davos, Switzerland, was launched, which I have been attending for the last six years.

On May 31, the first day of the event, I attended keynote sessions, including a lecture given by Dr. Seyed Mohammad Khatani, former President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, whom I met at the United Nations University in 2006 and the World Economic Forum, Davos, Netherlands in 2007, and a panel session where I and CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Samuel A. DiPiazza, Jr. gave lectures. The webcast of the session is available through (Click on "Video-streaming.")



Although business was the main topic of the session, I focused on innovative leadership for young people as future leaders. My lecture appeared to be received well, cheered by the students. I also received some compliments: "Excellent" from the moderator of the session Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach as well as a number of attendants even after the session. Afterwards, many students came together and we had a lot of exciting talk far into the night. There were 17 student attendees from Japan. Half of them are currently studying in Japan and from overseas, including Argentina, Singapore, Malaysia, Poland and US. I was so impressed by such outstanding students I met. Here are some photos taken at the session: Photo 3) Left to right, Toyoo Gyohten, President of the Institute for International Monetary Affairs, who have supported the Japanese attendees for fifteen years, and Hiroshi Watanabe, Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, who also attended the last symposium in 2006 as well and Photo 4) with student attendees.



In the evening of the second day of the symposium, I had dinner with some Japanese people supporting the symposium at Gupf, a restaurant in St. Gallen, which is well known for the scenery as well as the wine cellar. Unfortunately, it rained and dense fog covered up to the top of the mountains so we could not enjoy the scenery a lot. Noted attendees include: Toyoo Gyohten, President of the Institute for International Monetary Affairs, Hiroshi Watanabe, Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, both of whom I’ve already introduced above, Hisashi Owada, member of the International Court of Justice, the Haag, Netherlands and his wife Yumiko, Fujio Cho, Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation and his wife, Takaji Kunimatsu, former Commissioner-General of the National Police Agency, Nobuyasu Abe, Ambassador of Japan to Switzerland and his wife, Tomio Tsutsumi, Member of the Board, Mitsubishi Corporation, former Administrative Vice-Minister of the Minister of International Trade and Industry, Yoshinori Imai, Executive Editor, Program Host, NHK Japan Broadcasting Corp. and his wife, Yuji Suzuki, Chairman, Credit Suisse Group and his wife. They play a pivotal role in giving valuable support for the St. Gallen Symposium from the standpoint of Japan.

This place overlooked Lake Constance. The other side across the Lake is in Germany, where annual Lindau Meeting with Nobel Laureates is taken place. I know some of the young researchers attending the meeting, many of who told me that they were so inspired by spending almost a week with the Nobel Laureates and that the atmosphere and attitude toward them was quite different from those in Japan. Last year, the theme of the meeting was chemistry so Prof. Ryoji Noyori, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and Chairman of the Education Rebuilding Council of JAPAN, attended the meeting. This program was kicked off fifty years ago aiming at fostering next generation. That is the way educational platform fostering people should be. We Japanese should believe much more in young people.

I will attend the session again tomorrow on June 2nd then leave for St. Peterburg, Russia, on June 3rd.