The last keynote speech on the first day was by the US Secretary of State, Ms. Rice. She delivered a clear and firm message about the current role of the US and the responsibility for the US and the world. Then, the political and business leaders from the world, such as Mr. Blair, Mr. Kissinger, Mr. J Dimon(JP Morgan and Chase), Mr. KV Kamath(ICICI Bank, India), Ms. IK Nooyi(CEO of Pepsi Co, she graduated from the famous IIT in India…. Can you imagine this in any Japanese company?!), Mr. DJ O’Reilly(CEO, Chevrons), Mr. Wan Jianzhou(China Mobile Communications Corporation) etc, went up the podium for a Q&A session. Ms. Rice handled this session very nicely. This is indeed world class. Answering to tough questions in front of a big crowd.
This year, there were especially a large number of participants including 20 or more Presidents and Prime Ministers. Even only on the first and second day, Mr. Karzai(Afghanistan), Mr. Musharraf(Pakistan), Mr. Yushchenko(Ukraine), Mr. Simon Perez(Israel), Al Gore and Bill Gates were there.
From Japan, ever since Prime Minister Mori attended in 2001, Prime Minister Fukuda will attend. As a hosting country for TICAD and G8 Summit, the world is watching Japan’s leadership of global agenda. What kind of message will he give to the world? Let’s hope it will be a high toned, powerful speech that reflects as a Prime Minister of the second largest economic power, not something drafted by bureaucrats. Regardless of domestic circumstances, ‘it’s spoken message that counts as politician.’ It is important to strategically communicate to the overseas press.
Needless to say, Ms. Sadako Ogata, President of JICA, is a global figure representing Japan, but also the global minded professors from Hitotsubashi University School of Business Administration, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Yoko Ishikura as well as Heizo Takenaka of Keio University are taking an active role in various panels and acting as session leader. In a brainstorming session called WorkSpace, Prof. Takeuchi showed his amazing ability as moderator by entertaining the participants while pursuing the subject on track. Wow, this is something inimitable.
Photo1 With Mr. Hatoyama and Ambassador Fujisaki at the conference room
At night, there was Japan Sushi Reception jointly hosted by University of Tokyo and Keio University, supported by Teijin Limited and Sojitz Corporation. Many guests from the political, academic and business world attended. I would think this kind of party should be led by the business community. In fact, it’s the World “Economic” Forum.
Photo2 At Japan Reception with Mr. Hasegawa from Takeda Chemical, my friend and famous Indian political scientist, Mr. Challaney, Mr. Sakurai from Japan Association of Corporate Executives or Keizai-Doyu-kai
Photo3 With Ms. Kuniya of NHK, moderator of ‘Today’s Close-Up’
Photo4 With the President of Peking University
Just to list a few of the big names that attended from the political world, Mr. Hidenao Nakagawa, Mr. Koji Omi, Mr. Yukio Hatoyama(to substitute Mr. Ichiro Ozawa, the leader of DPJ who could not make it), Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Mr. Motohisa Furukawa, Ms. Kuniko Inoguchi etc. From the business world we had Presidents, CEO’s and Chairmen from various companies like Mr. Okuda of Toyota Motors, Mr. Yonekura of Sumitomo Chemical, Mr. Sakurai of Ricoh and Japan Association of Corporate Executives, Mr. Nagashima from Teijin, and Mr. Hasegawa from Takeda Chemical, etc. Ambassador Fujisaki, Mr. Kono the G8 Summit Sherpa and Councilor to the Foreign Ministry, Imai-san and Kuniya-san from NHK, Mr. Xu Zhihong, President of Peking University, Dr. Tachi Yamada of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Health Initiative also joined and we discussed about Japan’s contribution. Mr. S Brim, Founder of Google also showed up briefly. Also Dr. Yamanaka from Kyoto University, who is gaining fame by his research in iPS cells, was also there.
Photo5 With Takenaka-san, Dr. Yamada and 2 of Bono’s staff
Photo6 With Dr. Yamada, Prof. Yoko Ishikura and Prof. Anzai, President of Keio University
As Prime Minister Fukuda will participate this year, there is a mixed emotion of expectation and anxiety among us, as to how much he can communicate a high vision and powerful political messages expected of as one of the world’s political leaders.