In the morning of February 16th, our NPO Health Policy Institute (HPI) held the annual “Medical Policy Summit” with our directors, advisors and members. The half-day meeting includes four panels focused on various issues on Japan’s health system.
Based on our 3-year activity at HPI, it may be time to expand our scope to go global, thus this year, we held an international conference in the afternoon, “Global Health Summit: Advancing our promises for TICAD/G8 and Beyond”. The MC was NHK’s Ms. Doden.
Former Prime Minister, Mr. Jun-ichiro Koizumi addressed the key note speech about “Food and Environment”. As may be expected, his speech was vibrant and fully attracted the audience. He talked for exactly 30 minutes without a manuscript or memo. His speech covered from beriberi, change of eating habits, longevity in Japan, the Japanese word “HENJIN” meaning “extraordinary” and not “eccentric, crazy”, his knowledge about Anjin Miura (William Adams) and scurvy, his visit to Miyako Island 2 days ago to see the process of sugar cane being produced into bioethanol and the resistance of the oil industry etc. Half of the participants came from overseas, but it was a wonderful opening.
Photo1 Former Prime Minister Jun-ichiro Koizumi
Ms. Sadako Ogata was traveling to Africa, so she addressed her greetings via video. Then followed a speech from one of the Vice Presidents at The World Bank, Dr. Joy Phumaphi. Panel participants were Mr. Jay Naidoo, Chairman of the Board of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Development Bank of South Africa (whom I met in Davos during this year’s session with Bono), Dr. Tachi Yamada from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation whom I have referred to many times in my blog, Mr.Hiromasa Yonekura, President of Sumitomo Chemical which is globally well known for their outstanding effect of Olyset Net against malaria, Mr. Tadashi Yamamoto, President of Japan Center for International Exchange, known as the pioneer who started a real NPO in Japan and Ms. Akiko Maeda of The World Bank headquarters in Washington DC. With such distinguished members, we had a lot of fruitful discussion. For many of the Japanese audience, Japan’s contribution to Africa may have sounded something new. Mr. Koji Tsuruoka, Director-General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a speech on Japanese government’s view for TICAD, G8 Summit etc. To wrap up the conference, Mr. Yukio Hatoyama, Secretary General of The Democratic Party whose local is Toyako, where the next Summit will be held, addressed a message via video.
Photo3 Dr. Naidoo, Dr. Yamada, Mr.Yonekura from right during panel
Photo4 Ms. Doden, Ms.Maeda, Mr.Yamamoto from left during panel
They are all the global leaders of initiating Global Health. Dr. Naidoo’s 13 year-old daughter, who is a big fan of Japan, accompanied him to Japan for the first time.
The reception was also very successful and I felt the high expectation towards Japan, being the hosting country for the upcoming TICAD and G8 Summit.
The following day, on Sunday February 17th, there was a discussion session with people working for Global Health related NGO in Japan which was hosted by G8 NGO Forum. This also turned out to be very fruitful.
As I repeatedly say, Japan is hosting big events this year; TICAD in May and G8 Summit in July which will attract great deal of attention worldwide. Most probably, it will be the last chance for Japan to host a G8 Summit. In that respect, this conference was held very timely and the output was successful.
For an independent think tank like HPI to hold a conference with the support of The World Bank, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation etc. is a very open policy discussing process that is not necessarily led by the officials. I felt that it was a conference that showed a glimpse of Japan’s direction in the global era.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude for the people who attended this conference. Also, many thanks to the staff that help organize this event!
(photography by Tetsu Kudo)