From Davos – 3


On 29th, the 3rd day at Davos, I spent the morning in private meeting with a few VIPs. In the afternoon, I participated as a ‘Discussion Leaders’  in ‘Prepared for a Pandemic?’- a full two hour session with specialists on pandemics, academics, business enterprises, and insurance companies.  It was a highly informative session with discussions covering wide range; lessons from H1V1 since last spring, role of government, arrangements/preparedness of the companies, risks to be considered, insurance, financial loss, employees and their family, impacts on economy etc., etc.  I was impressed to know that the width of some business leaders thinking and also making effort to prepare themselves to the expected risks.  It is such learning and knowledge sharings that makes this sort of discussions with the leaders of diverse sectors enjoyable and meaningful.

I came across Mr. Bill Gates and had an opportunity to talk with him for a minute on several things such as our encounter in Jakarta in 2008.  In the evening at the main hall, I went to watch ‘Business Leadership’, ans‘The US Economic Outlook’ hosted by Charlie Rose, with Lawrence Summers, Director of the White House’s National Economic Council for President Obama.  Charlie Rose, was wonderful in his soft ways of raising good focused questions in a very good timing and Summers’ response was also very persuasive and powerful. Please see them for yourself on the web.

In the evening, I stopped by at the reception of Harvard University and exchanged a few words with President Drew Gilpin Faust (President Faust is female – I suppose you know? ) I understand that she will be visiting Japan this March.  Since Minister Sengoku and three other Ministers were scheduled to arrive after midnight, Dr. Heizo Takenaka, Mr. Yoichi Funabashi of Asahi Newspaper, myself, with several others, had an opportunity to get together at a Chinese restaurant and talk about the new Administration, an opportunity we haven’t have had among ourselves for some time.  When I returned to the hotel, I came across Dr. Yunus of Grameen Bank at the lobby –just like we did last year.  I talked about the group of Japanese students who went to Bangladesh (Ref.1, 2, 3) (Ref.2 and 3 are in Japanese) this January and last year. They also had an opportunity to see Dr. Yunus several times at Bangladesh.  This year, Professor Seichiro Yonekura (Ref.1 in Japanese) of Hitotsubashi University, a leading expert on innovation, accompanied them to Bangladesh.  Dr. Yonekura is a wonderful role model as mentor/teacher and I admire his activities as Innovator (=Entrepreneur, Change Agent or ‘a nail that sticks out’) ; the way he supports young people, and make things happen.

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Photo 1-3: ‘Toward an East Asia Community?’ Panel.

Next morning on the 30th, I checked out from the hotel to be at ‘Toward an East Asia Community?’  where Minister of Trade, Economy and Industry (METI), Mr. Naoshima were among the panelists.  The panel was moderated by Dr. Kishore Mahbubani (Ref.1), Dean of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore.  I was seated at the front raw with my friends, Hiroshi Tasaka-san and President Ninami-san of Lawson (Photo).

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Photo 4: From left, Mr. Ninami, Dr. Tasaka, and myself

Then, after listening to the former half of ‘Global Economic Outlook’ in which Minister Sengoku participated as a panelist, I left the venue and headed to Zurich airport to catch my return flight.  Please see this session on the web.  A well known columnist of Financial Times, Mr. Martin Wolf moderated the panel in his keen and insightful style.  In the afternoon, NHK hosted ‘The Great Shift East in the Global Agenda’ moderated by Ms. Aiko Doden, with Vice Minister Furukawa as a panelist.  Report on web  is available, and also TV broadcasts are scheduled on February 6 (Sat), and 13 (Sat) in Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan.

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Photo 5: With Dr. Takenaka

From Zurich, I returned to Narita via Paris.  I was able to sleep only a bit during the flight, thus  a bit tired.  Somehow a feeling of concern about the future of Japan made me awake.  This theme appears repeatedly in my web-site, and I hear that‘Japan in Transition’ in the afternoon of 30th wrapped up the session in a comment like my view.

The web-site of Davos meeting is apparently quite packed with good information.  Please enjoy according to your interest.  Tons of information, backgrounds, interpretations, and thoughts are introduced and I am sure that they will open up your minds to the world.