In the week of Nov 12, I had an opportunity to give speeches everyday in the week. On 13th (Tuesday), I was at the Future Innovation Forum. On 14th (Wednesday), I was at the Sir Martin Wood Certfication cermony in the British embassy and I gave a speech about the lifestyle related diseases on the 15th (Thursday).
The Sendai city is in collaboration with Finland. On the 16th (Friday), a symposium was conducted by both the hosts with a theme "The Aged Society." There seem to be several issues regarding it. The Finnish Ambassador to Japan, the Sendai city mayor Mr. Katsuhiko Umehara (he was at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry before becoming a mayor) also addressed the symposium. One of the deputy mayors (2 out of 3 are females), Emiko Iwasaki (She is a doctor who is seems to have been to Africa. The mayor had recruited her which is amazing), myself and a person from Finland gave a keynote speech. In Japan we have major problems of declining birthrate and also delayed social progress of women. But nothing has been done about it. The women activity in Japan is in stark contrast to Finland.
In the afternoon, I headed to Tokyo for the speech "Scienctific technology and the nation" on the 50th anniversary of Asahi newspaper science department. I participated in the panel after the key speech "Out of the frying pan into the fire" given by Mr. Takashi Tachibana.
I was back to Sendai the next day. There was an invitation from Dr. Noriko Osumi at the Tohoku University meeting "The 6th Gender equality symposium" and a male delivered a keynote speech for the first time. The panel consisted of eminent people. According to Mr. Tateo Arimoto ( JST, Japan science and technology agency), the Education Ministry seems to have complained when the first President of Tohoku Universty, Dr. Sawayanagi Masatarou enrolled females for the first time in the University, which was unheard before.
Tohoku University has a support program for female researchers called the Science Angels. There was again a presentation and award ceremony of "5th Sawayanagi Award (Tohoku University Gender Equality Promotion Award)" and the 3rd award winner gave a presentation. All of you have done a wonderful work. I am very happy. Congratulations. I have presented the image of the Tohoku University at that time. Please have a look at it.
Photo1: Award winners of the Sawayanagi award
Both the Human Development Index and the Gender Development Index are as high as entering the Top 10 (UNDP etc.) of the world. The Gender Empowerment Index of Japan is ranked 43rd in the 75 countries of UNDP. It stands at the 91st of 128 countries in the recent World Economic Forum. It is a pity not to nurture the talents of women.