From World Knowledge Forum, Seoul


Following last year I came to Seoul by the invitation of 9th World Knowledge Forum (From 14th October to 16th October).

The forum started with the address of President Roh Moo-hyun (Photo 1) and the Guest list was very special. I met Mr. Aho from Finland as well, and after hearing his speech I thought that he was a political leader there also. There was a live discussion on Television with New York on the financial crisis and creeping world recession which originated in Wall Street. Richard Branson of Virgin Airline also made stage appearance on Television.

Photo 1:  Address by South Korean President Roh, to right Mr. Ahern, former prime minister of Ireland, Mr. Aho, former president of Finland

Dr. Komiyama, president of Tokyo University also participated. He made a great impression of presence as he talked and appeared in quite a number of occasions. As you know, he is the top of “academia” in Japan. Looking from abroad, I feel that Japan’s presence is low, so we must send out information in every possible ways.

From my point of view, 80s was ‘Japan Bashing’ as it was bubble era, 90s was ‘Japan Passing’ because the bubbles burst, Internet era of 21st century started with ‘Japan Nothing’ and currently it is ‘Japan Missing’. In other words, though Japan is world’s second largest economy, it says too little about what it wants to do, does not express clear opinions even if asked, does not respond to invitations, and even if it did, fails to speak up.

Many people (It is said more than 3.000 people have participated in 3 days) from South Korea had participated but I feel even if such kind of conference is held in Japan very few people will take part in it. Why is it so? Think about it.

I was also introduced to Ms. Shinae Chun, Women’s Bureau Director of US Department of Labor. She went to America after graduating from Korean university. In Chicago she took part in social activities to organize the Asian communities. Having such background probably helped her for being appointed by Washington. Her husband also went to America after completing higher education in Korea. He is a PhD of engineering.

Photo 2:  With Ms. Chun, Women’s Bureau Director of US Department of Labor. On extreme right her husband, third person from the right Ms. Kim (mentioned below) of Appletreetales publications.

Sponsor was Maeil Business News. The evening reception was sponsored by Seoul city on 15th and by Gyeonggi Province on 16th. The mayor and governor of respective cities were present and gave the address. On 15th, a Japanese Pianist popular also by Korean TV dramas, Mr. Yuki Kumamoto, Korean violinist, Ms. Michelle Kim, active in NY Philharmonic, (Early this year, the NY Philharmonic made a historic visit to North Korea. This was supported by a Japanese lady Yoko Nagae Ceschina residing in Italy). Then a fashion show by Mr. Andre Kim on the 16th. They were enchanting.



Photo 3 to 5:  Reception (Mr.Kuramoto is little blur due to the lights from the top. Sorry.)


By the way, Dr. Ishikura and I co-authored a book “Sekaikyu kyaria no tsukurikata (How to make world class career)" and recently the Korean version of the book was published from Appletreetales. I met Ms. Okhee Kim (in the photograph), the president of the publishing company who studied at the University of Sacred Heart, and was interviewed by Ms. Chung of Maeil Business News.


Photo 6:  From right Ms. Kim, Dr. Ishikura, myself (holding the book, looking pretty in pink) and Ms. Chung.

I partcipitated in the following 3 panels.

1. Outlook: India 2009: Another Opportunity or Bubble (Photo 7)

2. Outlook: ASEAN+East Asia 2009: The New Collaborative Model

3. Future Energy

It is great that I always meet new people and see old friends here. Dr. Ishikura who participated last year was on 3 or 4 panels this year. I was in the same panel with Mr. Muhammad Lutfi, chief of Indonesia investment coordinating board (BKPM). Although he is a young person bit less than 40 years, I thought he was very brilliant. I happened to hear his lectures for about 30 minutes somewhere at some other time, but it was very impressive suggesting his talent as a great leader. I say his future is very promising.

Photo 7:  From right Mr. H Jha, one of the VPs of Tata Steel, Mr. D Johnston, Ex-director of bureau of OECD and Dr. D Bangalore from Stanford University.