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.