Hideyo Noguchi Africa prize and a speech by former Prime Minister Mr. Junichiro Koizumi


In the blog of June 19 (“A few words about the low plublicity of Japan, from Paris”), I have quoted three cases as an actual example but all these three were about the large contribution of Japan in Africa. The contribution of Japan in Africa is not much recognized domestically or internationally as compared to its contribution in Asia. This may be due to geographical conditions. As I have mentioned in the above column, my article “Challenges for Japan’s Scientific Community in the 2008 G8 Summit” appeared in Business Daily Africa, one of the newspapers in Kenya, as “Analysis: G8 Summit will provide a major test for Japanese scientists”, “Comment: Challenges for Japan’s Scientific Community in the 2008 G8 Summit”. It is only at individual level but I want the world to know a little about the contribution made by Japan. World today is On-Line age, isn’t it?

After 8 years, Japan is hosting the next year’s G8 summit (which will be held at Toya Lake in July).  Japan is going to play a leading role, and the fourth meeting of  TICAD(Tokyo International Conference on African Development)(Ref. www.ticad-csf.net/eng/index.htm), a groundbreaking national  undertaking  that was started with the United Nations 15 years ago as a part of  aid to Africa, which is held once in every 5 years, will be held in Yokohama in May. This conference is well recognized by various countries in Africa and the heads of more than 50 countries from Africa will gather in Tokyo for this conference.  However, how many people in the world know about it? Recently, the media is only concentrating on the topic of China reaching to Africa…….

Last year, Prime Minister Koizumi visited Africa.  He had been to Ethiopia and Ghana on this visit. Why Ethiopia and Ghana will be discussed later.  Accra, the capital of Ghana, is the place where Dr. Hideyo Noguchi passed away due to the yellow fever and there is Hideyo Noguchi Memorial Institute.  At this institute, Prime Minister Koizumi has declared the foundation of “Hideyo Noguchi Africa prize” by the government of Japan. This is an international award that acknowledges medical research and medical services that contribute to control the infectious disease in Africa. It will be given to an individual who has contributed in these two fields (It is introduced on Internet TV of the government also). The Awarding ceremony will be held once in every 5 years and we are planning to announce the first prize next year at TICAD. Currently, the selection is in process. As you know, issues like development in Africa, HIV/AIDS, poverty etc. are the serious problems of the world.

The other day, Mr. Koizumi, former prime minister went to the board meeting of "Japan Federation of Economic Organizations" to address the board for the fund-raising of this award. I heard that his speech was excellent. It was a short speech without any note, addressing about 200 business leaders including Chairman Mr. Mitarai. I heard that the atmosphere in that hall has changed dramatically after the speech. Please download and see the file, since the content of the speech is posted with the permission of former prime ministers’ office.

Down load the (PDF) “Introduction by Junichiro Koizumi, Member of Parliament, in standing committee meeting of Japan Federation of Economic Organization" (In Japanese only)

How do you feel about it?  Isn’t it really an excellent speech? I think it was a very lively speech full of wit. I am thinking of translating this speech into English and transmitting it to the media in Africa.
If you think carefully, we can certainly say that the business people got hypnotized by “Koizumi magic”. This means Prime Minister Koizumi is very genius and “out of the box”. Actually, from the historical viewpoint, people who changed the world and the society through science and technology were all ”out of the box” , having imagination beyond the common sense of the people in that era. I have also mentioned this once in front of Prime Minister Mr. Koizumi at the meeting of Council for Science and Technology Policy that was held at his official residence. Everyone started laughing but I was quiet serious.

It is the same opinion as in the blog of June 4 ("St Petersburg, then from Mr. Deguchi to Don Quixote") as well as in the mail magazine of Mr. Deguchi  (in Japanese only)that “Don Quixote" is very important in all-times.