Today is January 28th, a slight snowfall, but pleasantly refreshing. At 7:30 in the morning I moved to the other end of the town of Davos to have conversation over breakfast with about 30 or so of Japanese participants. I was happy to hear that 70 or so Japanese participants are expected this year.
By the way, reports ‘From Davos’ are posted on the website of Professor Yoko Ishikura (linked in my blogroll) also, so I recommend that you visit there. Dr. Ishikura is one of the few Japanese who are highly valued as effective moderator/facilitator in Davos Meetings. Her hard work and philosophy is clear in her blog, and I feel there is much to learn from her.
By 9 am, I returned back again to the other end of Davos to participate in the session ‘Asian Brainstorming’. The rather small room was fully packed with people, a large proportion of them were from outside Asia. Interests in Asia are pretty high these days. I think that one of the characteristics of Asia is variety: variety in ethnics, nationals, cultures, economies, religions and others. However, the variety of religions in Asia is not the same as the difference we see in ‘three major religious sectors in one and the same God; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam’ that continue to be one of the major causes of conflicts in our world. It is no surprise that Asia is attracting attentions from people when we think of its functions as the center of world economic growth especially after the recent global financial crisis. The discussion in this session was very active whici I enjoyed very much.
After this Asia session, I went to the main venue for some more sessions. Dr. Fareed Zakaria (Ref.1, 2) (Photo 1) whom I have introduced to you in my past posting, appears as moderator in several sessions, especially political ones.
Mr Bill Clinton, the former President of the United States (Photo2) is UN special envoy to Haiti. He is working hard to support Haiti after the recent earthquake and delivered special appeal for help. I learned much from his speech and panelists, various backgrounds of Haiti and its current situation. Did you know that Haiti has a potential of high economic growth and therefore is a good investment target? I think such point of view is also important especially in crafting the ways for support of private sector.
Photo: Mr. Clinton speaking on support to Haiti
In the afternoon, I attended ‘Brainstorming’ of ‘Governors of Global Chemical Enterprises (in Japanese)’, a closed session. I had an honor of being invited to join this session for 4 consecutive years, and have learned much from this experience, especially the thinking of executives of global enterprises. Presence of Japan is strong in this sector as well. This year, the regular member of this meeting, Chairman Yonekura of Sumitomo Chemical, was absent since he had to leave for Japan after just one day of stay in Davos due to his recent appointment to the next leader of Keidanren. However, Chairman Kobayashi of Mitsubishi Chemical participates every year, and President Sakakibara of Toray Industries was here two years ago. My long time friend Sir David King of the United Kingdom, and China’s leader, Mr. Siwei were also present as invited guests. This year, Dr. Brian Baird, member of the House of Representatives of the United States, joined and made valued comments on policy making process, which was very thought provoking. After the Brainstorming, I had an opportunity to talk with him person to person for about 20 minutes, which was a great pleasure. He is a very good man.
By then, I have had traveled from one end of Davos to another end of Davos a few times times today.
I spent the remaining time of the day attending sessions at the main venue. Those events are reported at the web site of WEF so please visit and enjoy.
The photo isPresident Lee of Korea （I have written total of 6 reports: 5 on UAE Nuclear Power Plant and 1 on visit to India on my web site in January. He is moving very actively as the leader of his nation), who will be hosting the G20 this year. His speech in Hangul delivered a clear message that was well received.
Special Addresses by the First Vice-Premier of China Li Kequiang, Prime Minister Harper of Canada, host of the G8 this year (though he focused mainly on G20…), and a Panel with the head of 6 countries hosted by Fareed Zakaria etc; each and every one of them was superb. In the last session, the first question from the audience was raised by Mr Bill Gates.
After these sessions followed ‘Japan Night’ (Photo) which has now become an annual event. The host of this year was JETRO. We had a very enjoyable time with quite a number of guests. I understand that over 70 participants gathered from Japan this year, unheard of in the past. Korea and China seems to have sent more participants, though…..