I would like to write about my impression on this year’s Summer Davos. In short, China, not only because it was the host country, demonstrated great energy, presence, and commitment of government through speeches by Premier Wen Jiabao and the Mayor of Tianjin and so on. The details of this meeting are reported at the website (webcast １, ２ , photos ). Dr. Ishikura also writes many columns in her blog （Sept.12, 15, 16）. These reports are very lively and informative so please take a look.
Many people participated from Japan and I was happy about it. There were many interesting sessions taking places in parallel in more than one venue, personal net workings to do and consultations to attend…so I was quite busy. At the reception on the 2nd day, I enjoyed encounters with many old and new friends.
Photos 1-4: 3 scenes from the receiption, President of the China Daily and his staffs, Prof. Moon of Yonsei University (left end).
At the IdeasLab session Keio University and the University of Tokyo participated. This was also good. Dr. Yoko Ishikura took lead of these sessions. I did not fully listen or discuss in these sessions but Drs. Murai, Natsuno, etc. at Keio University gave a nice exciting presentation on IT field, focusing on Internet and cell phones. Especially, the high-tech cell phone presented by Dr. Natsuno surprised the audience. But why is it that the Japanese people do not try to develop a targeted market for such first class technology? Why don’t we make effort to present it? This issue is discussed also at “Cho (literally meaning ‘surpass’) Galapagos study group” where I participate with Drs. Natsuno and Murai and we are planning to announce policy recommendations shortly. The University of Tokyo gave presentation on sustainable human society, with focus on ecology, particularly ‘water’ problems. This was also a very interesting session led by Dr. Hashimoto, a specialist on photocatalyst and Dr. Oki doing research on global balance of water resource but unfortunately the time was not enough.. Details of these sessions are available on the web (Ref.1 2), so if you have time visit the sites and enjoy.
The World Economic Forum, organizer of Davos meeting also announces “The Global Competitiveness report” every year. Dr. Ishikura participated from Japan to help analyze, evaluate and make reports. For the year of 2009-2010, Japan scored 8th among 133countries (8/133). Not bad – but this does not entitle us to sit back and relax. There are yet so many things that can be done. Lift your spirits high and keep on working. Find out what you are good at or unique, and make it better, utilize it, see the world trend, broaden your horizon and go out to take action.
Nick Gowing, a famous anchor of BBC, hosted the panel on this report .The panelists were vice minister of Vietnam (75/133), minister of trade of Costa Rica 855/133), vice minister of Mauritius (57/133) and Dr. Ishikura. Dr. Ishikura first explained the report and then comments and remarks by each panelists followed, ending with a question from Nik (isn’t it a bit impolite?) to minister of Zimbabwe (132/133) who was in the audience. The minister responded by explaining his thoughts on the issues, plans, and promises to the world and then Nik turned to Ms. Ishikura for a comment. Her comment was good, actually.
Photos 6-9: Panel hosted by Ms. Kuniya (6.7) and Ms. Doden (8,9)
On the last day, we had a heated panel on global economy “Asia’s New Role in Managing the Global Economy” . Ms. Hiroko Kuniya, host of a popular interview program “Today’s Close Up” at NHK, did a good job handling discussions on difficult issues such as the role of IMF with five outstanding panelists. One of the last panels just before the wrap-up session of all panels was “China, Japan and South Korea; Shifting the Power Equation Together?” hosted by Ms. Aiko Doden who is also a reporter of NHK. They must have had only a little time to discuss in advance with the panelists, but they both did very well. I believe the panels will be broadcasted in Japan shortly.
These three Japanese ladies that I introduced to you are very good English speakers, but not just that. They are also wonderful hosts; handling the flow of discussions smoothly by stepping aside, but not missing the chance to draw good comments from the panelists at a good timing, not afraid to challenge them if necessary. It is a hard work, calling for a very different type of skills than the panelists. I guess they learn how to do this by seeing good examples, experiencing, and getting feedbacks. In anything we do, we improve by studying, seeing examples of the world, copying good examples, trying, experiencing, getting feedbacks, and by reviewing.. This kind of skill is what we might call “Tacit Knowing”- an ability that cannot be learned from manuals or user’s guide.
This year many Japanese came to participate and were active but I have an impression that Japanese women’s work as host, taking charge of the flow of panels, was particularly noticeable and therefore shining. In all of the 4 sessions which I wrote about, including IdeasLab, Japanese women served as hosts but the panelists and speakers of the presentations were all men. Were these women even more prominent because of this? It might be so because their role was to cast a spotlight to each of these men, one after another, and they were all in established positions. Am I being a bit prejudiced? Anyway, it is good for Japanese to attract attentions.
Photos 10-11: At dinner together
In the evening of the final day, I had a nice dinner with Ms.Kuniya, Ms. Doden and other Japanese people, about 12 people altogether. (Photo 11). I fully enjoyed this opportunity and appreciated it. By the way, the attendants were half men and half women.