left Bellagio early in the morning of November 1st. The road was jammed because of some strike, and took 3 hours to the airport in Milano. Arrived at Rome where the weather was beautiful, checked in to the hotel at the hilltop of Piazza di Spagna (Spanish square) at noon, did staff meeting over lunch. Then, to the ministry of foreign affairs of Italy. The building of the ministry was said to be originally planned for the headquarters of fascist party, but was not used because of the delay in construction.
Photo 1, 2: At the meeting in the Ministry of foreign affairs of Italy, With Mr. Massolo, the Sherpa.
A discussion for about one hour with Mr. Massolo, the Sherpa of next year’s G8 summit, and other government high officials. The topics were outcomes and significance of “track 2” process in Japan, outcomes of discussions at Bellagio on “track 2”, expectations for Global Health at the coming G8 summit in Italy, etc. I am thankful to all who participated for spending such a long time on this discussion. There was a heavy rainfall in the late afternoon.
Photos 3-7: Scenes from Vatican Museum
Photos 8-11: St Peter’s Basilica, with Mr. Banno and Mr. Tanabe.
It was also raining on Nov.2nd, the next day. In the morning, visited briefly to Vatican Museum (another URL of the Museum). The last time I was here was almost 10 years ago. I noticed that the entrance part was newly built but the collections on exhibition were wonderfully magnificent, as always. I could not help but ponder on many themes such as the complicated history of Europe, politics v.s. religions, wealth and commonalty, power of art, Raphael (another URL), Michelangelo, and so on.
There was little time left by the time I was at Sistine Chapel, but I recalled seeing part of the sketch of this at special exhibition of the works of Michelangelo at the British Museum two years ago. The scale of the work is just overwhelming even to imagine about it. Finally, in the end, I went to St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest in the world. It was also so astonishing. Next time when I have a chance, I would like to see those places more slowly.
Mr. Ando recently arrived to Italy as the newly appointed Ambassador. He was Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary at the time I was Special Advisor to the Cabinet and is very well informed about Toyako G8 summit etc. So our conversation went very smoothly while we took late lunch of seafood, from my part talking about the objectives of this visit, and from his part news and information about Italy. Mr. Tobe, official of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, currently working at the embassy, and Mr. Banno, my staff, also joined in the lunch. I asked Mr. Ando for cooperation and guidance for the next follow up meeting scheduled in February in Rome again.
I took a night flight to Japan. Many difficult problems lie ahead in this global era, on one hand difference in politics in each country, on the other hand economy crises, climate change, food problems, and so on. How do we fill the gap between the difference in politics of nations and global issues? During this trip, I was made to contemplate on many things about politics in Japan and Italy.
In the United States, Hillary Clinton was nominated Secretary of State.