Four Days in Toronto; ACP, University of Toronto, and So On


I arrived at Toronto on April 21st.  It is my 3rd visit since last May and October.  This time it is for the annual meeting of American College of Physicians (ACP).  Although I am the Governer of ACP Japan Chapter (Ref.1) , I had to be excused these several years because of my tight schedule and I am very thankful that Dr. Ueno, the Vice Governor who attended there in my place.  I came back to this meeting after some time, but it turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to see lots of old friends and new leaders.  Such encounters are truly nice and heartwarming.

Although Japan Chapter is the only Chapter of ACP outside the Americas our activities are being observed and known by the organization including the head office.   In fact, we were awarded honors for two consecutive years this year.  I think this is very much the result of the hard works of committees on activities of women physicians, professionalism  (in Japanese), and young physicians who lead the clinical educational projects in an effort to increase the number of memberships of residents and students.

This year, 7 new fellows (FACP) were welcomed, Dr. Kobayashi, the new governor elect of Japan Chapter, was appointed to Master (MACP), and Dr. Teramoto, Chair of the Board of Regents of Japanese Society of Internal Medicine, was awarded Honorary Fellow.  I had a great time participating in the ceremony and sharing time with these people.  By a sheer coincidence, I was able to meet also with a few young Japanese physicians who ‘jumped out’ from Japanese ‘Ikyoku system (hierarchical system of physicians organized by the head professor)’ and currently working actively in the United States.  A poster by a resident at Kameda Medical Center was chosen for the poster session.  These activities were awarded also.  Dr. Ohara who supervised this resident doctor also participated.  I was delighted to see all these things happening.

Programs included many topics related to practice, education, residency training in relation with the challenges that clinical practice face today, and each participant was very hotly involved in every session.  In the opening, Dr. James Orbinski working for Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontiers)   delivered a wonderful special lecture ‘Equity and Global Health’ which moved the hearts of everyone who listened.

Finding a short free time between various committees, receptions, programs, I managed to visit University of Toronto to have a brief conversation with the President, Dr. David Naylor.  It’s been a year since I talked with him last time.  (Since my appointment was at 5pm on Friday, the last of the week, we enjoyed a lively conversation over a small drink.)  Also, I  met senior faculty of the Munk School of Global Affairs to discuss collaborative projects with GRIPS, been to MARS to talk about the progress of our new Global Health Project with Dr. Peter Singer (I am involved in this, too. We expect to have official press interview on May 23rd), to Gairdner Foundation to seeDr. John Dirks (Ref.1).

As I talked with these people, I touched on the topic of Asahi Newspaper’s (Shinbun)  ‘Globe’ special feature on ‘Canada’ which I have written about in my last posting.  It is such a waste, ‘Mottainai’, not to have this wonderful special feature of Asahi Shinbun translated into English.

All through my four days’ stay at this charming city of Toronto, the weather was wonderful.  I went to the CN Tower, too.  Please enjoy the views from the top of the tower.

Canada: From Asahi ‘Globe’


The Asahi Shinbun has been issuing 8 pages special features twice a month for several years now.  Its contents, topics are quite unique, and I enjoy reading them very much.

As the title shows, each issue analyzes ‘The Globe and Japan’ from different perspectives and from a very large point of view.  They are truly nice special issues.  I imagine that this idea came from the Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Funabashi because it reflects what he has been in various global stages..
What makes this even more impressive is that all articles are available for reading‘On-line’ (in Japanese) After they are printed on the newspapers they will post full articles within several days.

The new April 21st issue focused on ‘Canada’.   I was also interviewed perhaps because I have broad connections with faculties and students of Canadian universities (Ref.1) (Please search by keyword of ‘Canada’ for more columns in this web site).

This feature begins like this; ‘Japan and Canada both has a risk of being overlooked because of the super-powers beside them.  How to cope with this circumstance is our challenge for the 21st century….   In meetings of Japanese and Canadian university faculties such topic was raised…..’  Please read for yourself and find out how it continues.  Canada has a population of about 10% of the U.S.A, and so do Japan which is 10% of China.  The article is of quite interest in discussing how Canada manages to collaborate with the Giant neighbor, U.S.A on one hand and keep one’s identity on the other hand.

Canada is one of my favorite countries, too.  To put it in one sentence, I might describe Canada as ‘a country that inherited the good things of Great Britain and put away with the social classes of the British society.’  ‘The good things of Great Britain’ would be; that with a bit of socialism, its functioning democratic system, quality higher education, has a number of wonderful universities.  Regarding the health care system of Canada which is run as a core public sector as Michael Moore shows in his film, the quality of care is high, co-payments are low for the patients, and is trusted from the people.  The quality of physicians and faculties are also superb.

Canada was the country least affected by the financial crisis in 2008.  The banks stayed outside sub-primes.

I came to Toronto yesterday.  At dinner, I heard that even in Calgary, a city of 1.3 million, large proportion of local residents has habit of not locking the entrance door of their homes.  A good old life style still remains.  This episode is introduced in the film of Michael Moore, too.

I have one request to the Asahi Shinbun.  Why not have such wonderful features translated in English, on its ‘On-line’ version at least?  It is very ‘mottainai (wasting good things)’ to limit the readers to Japanese only.

Feelings of the New Fresh Air; Some of My Experiences


April is the beginning of new academic/fiscal year and since the month started I have had several opportunities to notice moves here and there for creating new society.

One of them was an invitation to a gathering on ‘Innovation to Change the Society’ in a broad sense, to listen to the story ofKahena-san and Leanne Grillo-san of Reos Partners, who, through a moving experience of participating the processes of ending Apartheid of South Africa during their young age, are working to promote dialogue between opposing parties.  As you may somehow feel from their web site, their talk was about a very important basic stance that they acquired through experience of a very difficult situation of working with many groups of different stakeholders.

There were about 10 or so people invited.  Half of them were women and none of them had ‘single track career’.  The remaining men also had a variety of careers including those at overseas, rather than ‘single track career’, working actively making positive changes to this society.  There were only a few men on ‘single track career’ but they were joining in social activities outside from their regular job duties.  This event was organized by SoL (Society for Organizational Learning) Japan branch.

It was a very nice meeting. I could feel the will to make positive changes in society or the flattening world through actions of each Japanese individual where change has been very difficult for various reasons that people use as excuses.  I was fascinated to see these wonderful people.

Another was the annual meeting  (in Japanese) of ACP (American College of Physicians) Japan Chapter (Ref.1, 2). I felt that this meeting is growing steadily and nicely involving more young people as active participants discussing issues such as women doctors, ‘professionalism’, skill ups of case presentation.  This year again we welcomed several American physicians including Dr. Gremillion as well as Japanese physicians who have been back from residency training in USA, which apparently demonstrated the power and contribution to young physicians and medical students.  I joined nijikai (post-party party) and sanjikai (post-post-party party) and was delighted to see many highly motivated young physicians and students and residents motivated with high spirits.  Thanks to you all!

Also, I was able to spend a short time at ‘Nexus’ – a meeting hosted by International Society of Nephrology ? to see, after some time, many old and new friends from all over the world.

It would be wonderful for the future of Japan if young people could connect to the broad world while they are young, nurture their talents/potentials so as to be able to consider careers in international as well as in our country.

It was a truly encouraging and happy experience to see many young Japanese at many different places making various efforts to find new values for the new flattening world and sense/witness the growth of the new generation.

‘Let Us Take Leave of Absence From School -3: ‘Todai Students Won’t Go Abroad to Study’


Starting from April, I have written two columns in a row stressing the importance of ‘Taking Leave of Absence From School’(Ref.1), and how expectation has changed for higher education that is responsible for nurturing future human assets to address the issues of the new global age.

For example, if you wanted to spread your business to the world it would not be easy even to approach to the right place if you do not have personal contacts especially in the emerging new economic sphere of new developing countries.

It is during their high school or university years when youth cultivate their personal contacts.  ‘Boarding schools’ or undergraduate years in England and the U.S. are also included in this time range.  Since Graduate University career are the places where people in the similar field gather and compete, horizontal connections are weaker than undergraduate schools but I understand that number of Japanese students going overseas for graduate school education are also decreasing in recent years…

In the coming global age, ‘horizontal connections’ will expand to become world wide networks that are beyond fields or country borders.  Because of this recognition, many leading universities abroad are trying to increase the number of undergraduate students going abroad for study or experience, as well as encouraging mutual exchange to educate the youth of the world, the future leaders.

The globalization of the world is speeding up, and therefore human networks of next generation, future partners, structured upon ‘personal credit/trust’ ‘beyond profession or organization’ will naturally become a very valuable asset for each and every youth and each nation.
Growth in global world depends on the activities of enterprises that recognize its strengths and weaknesses, applying ‘customer comes first’ policy beyond borders.  Especially in a hierarchical society like Japan where ‘Miuchi Shakai (organization where people have a strong sense of belonging)’of men based on systems such as ‘single track career’, ‘lifetime employment’, or ‘seniority based promotion’, it would be difficult for anyone to express different views, and therefore many things do not run smoothly in times of change or crisis as today’s world  This exactly is the weakness that is found throughout many Japanese mega companies or organizations.  In addition, in most cases workers, particulary executives levels. are all Japanese (and mostly male) and this makes the problem even worse.  People may talk about diversity or difference, but the actual status quo is what I have described above.

Just recently I have written about ‘Toyota Problems; Are They Unique to Toyota?’ where I pointed out these same elements of weakness as possible backgrounds.

By the way, while I assume that the University of Tokyo (called as ‘Todai’), as the top university of Japan, is expected to play a role as the driving force for change, Ms Atsuko Tsuji, an editorial writer of the Asahi Shinbun whose comments are always right at the point, posted a column sharing this same view (full text, summary) with me  on April 19th, a week after the welcoming ceremony of the newcomers of the University of Tokyo.

It goes like this.

“●Todai Students Won’t Go Abroad for Study ? ‘Window’ From Editorial Writers’ Office – <Atsuko Tsuji>

●‘Japanese youth do not seek to go abroad’.  People said so for many years.  This tendency seems especially true for the students at the University of Tokyo.

●According to the data of Todai, the proportion of students who have experienced studying abroad is 4.6% in science major and 4.1% in humanities major.  Other universities’ average, on the other hand, is 8.1% and 14% respectively, the difference is more prominent in humanities majors.

●President Junichi Hamada commented that ‘It is partly because the students are too packed with their courses’, but it is also true that more than 70% of them admit that they do not have ‘ability to communicate in foreign languages’.  This reality must be quite a headache for Todai that lists ‘Internationalization’ as one of their top priorities.

●Mr. Benjamin Tobacman studied at Todai for one and a half year after graduating Harvard University.  He also points out that ‘More Todai students should go abroad for study’ but reason for his saying so is not just numbers.

●Tobacman published a book ‘Culture Shock; Harvard vs Todai’ (In Japanese.  Original title; Culture Shock; Harvard VS Todai.  Published by Daigaku Kyouiku Shuppan) in which he compares the education of these two universities based on his own experience.  He says that at Harvard, professors teach students to think by themselves by asking them questions, but at Todai, professors teach students by giving them answers.  This is no way to nurture students that are capable of thinking by themselves.

●Todai, of course, have professors who welcome questions from the students but most of them know the value of discussions between professors and students on equal basis because they themselves have studied abroad.  If more Todai students go to universities abroad, come back to Todai and teach, then students will be given more chances to think by themselves and therefore have higher motivation for studying.

● Perhaps this problem is not just about students or Todai.”

I hear that President Hamada is keen in promoting international exchange between undergraduate students.  Let’s expect Action!

Some time ago, I invited Mr. Tobacman to see me at my office just after he has published his book.  He told me that he was planning to go to China.  I wonder where he is now-still in China?

‘Science, Technologies and Innovation for Development’ of the World Bank and Japan; A Chance for Win-win Collaboration But….


On April 16th, I left Kyoto ‘ISN Nexus’ early in the morning to join the 10am meeting on ‘Science, Technologies and Innovation for Development’ with Mr. Al Watkins and his colleagues of the World Bank at the World Bank Tokyo Office.

I have been involved in this World Bank project since January 2008 which connected us to other ‘places’ such as  TICAD4 in Yokohama,  Toyako G8 Summit, and G8 Science Advisors’ Conferences (Ref.1,2),  moving us forward to ‘vertical and horizontal’ domains..

I have been to Washington DC to give speeches at the World Bank twice since January 2008 (April, 2009 (Ref.1)  andDecember 2009) and participated also in the discussions and workshops.

Details of these 3 meetings can be seen also at the web site ‘Science, Technology, and Innovation’ of the World Bank.

January, 2008 (Presentation)

April, 2009 (Meeting)

December, 2009 (Forum)

As you can see, the web site of the World Bank is getting better also.

In the meanwhile, Japanese science and technology policies are developing nicely, too.  ‘Building bridge of Japan-Africa’ under the ‘Science and Technology Diplomacy’ policy is one example of such efforts.  I think this is very good since the world is changing fast, too.

Bilateral supports (ODA) and supports through multi-national organizations such as the World Bank face a big challenge in adjustments and collaboration – how they adjust and cooperate with each other.

One of the goals of this year’s meeting was to find ways to match the policies of the World Bank and the government of Japan through such process.   I think our meeting was quite worthwhile, but challenging, and Mr. Iwase, Vice-Minister for Policy Coordination (he also participated in the World Bank Forum last December), Mr. Goto of JICA, and many delegates from ministries in charge were present.  You might be interested to know that the ODA policies of Japan are being highly evaluated by the World Bank.  It is truly something very wonderful.  I think we should let people in Japan as well as the world know more about goods things Japanese government does..

It is a well known fact, on the other hand, that Japanese staffs in World Bank are too few in comparison to the proportion of funds Japan contributes to the World Bank.  However, I heard that about 400 Japanese people applied recently to the 4 or 5 posts offered for Japan.  It is a good trend.  I would like to see more Japanese people participating actively not only in such opportunities but in general; at ‘outside’ of Japanese establishments and at various ‘International Organizations’.  It is not only for their own careers’ sake for many Japanese, but also for the sake of the future of Japan.

This world is huge and broad.  Countless opportunities and future friends and partners are waiting for you to work together.

Concerns of People who ‘See Japan from Outside’;‘GCMP’ of Active Youths who ‘Go Outside’


I had a breakfast in the morning of April 13th with Professor Emeritus of Princeton Hisashi Kobayashi of Princeton (I assume you have read about him in my past posting as elsewhere) and Dr. Masako Egawa, newly appointed board member of the University of Tokyo, a Harvard Business School alumna, who had been working to help build relationships with Japan and the HBS.

It was a day after the entrance ceremony of the University of Tokyo ? Professor Kobayashi came to Tokyo to give a speech (in Japanese) at the welcome ceremony of the graduate school.

Professor Kobayashi shares the same deep concerns with me ? the unbelievably insular mind set of Japanese university students in this global age.  I strongly advise everyone, especially to university faculties and students, to read his message which I have linked above

Dr. Egawa is also thinking the same and trying very hard to help do something about it although, as you may imagine, like other things, it is not at all easy.

In the afternoon, I received a visit from Saisho-kun of Waseda University  whom I have written about in this web site several times in the past.   A year ago, he took a leave of absence, went to Bangladesh, worked actively in‘GCMP’ setting up various projects, and recently has come as far as to obtain support from Dr. Yunus of the Grameen Bank.  It is amazing how much a student can grow.  I could see how good plans, business models they can develop through their own real experiences are so very important and valuable for young men and women to find what they can do to help others, leading to find what they want to do and to be.  Everybody is full of enthusiasm.  Mr. Saisho returned to Japan to extend his leave of absence for another 6 months from Waseda University since one year has passed already.  His mind is full of even more ideas, too.

Miyoshi-kun who was taking care of administrative works in Japan will now also take leave of absence and depart for Bangladesh.  I am looking forward to seeing more growth and expansion of their projects.  GCMP launched a few program last year.  One of their projects was 'to take some 20 Japanese undergraduate students to Bangladesh' for 3 weeks last summer to live and work there.  I understand that quite many of them are going overseas for the first time.  I was told that they changed a lot after the experience.  Already a few of them have actually gone to South America, India, etc. and are planning to start projects while they work there. This February, GCMP took about 10 students for 10 days to Bangladesh.  To my surprise, that Professor Seichiro Yonekura of the Hitotsubashi University, one of authorities of Innovation, accompanied this group and while all students lost their weight, he alone gained weight.  Good for him!

To make changes to the challenges of the world today, such ACT of going to the field abroad, acquiring the sense of the local site is so crucially important.

‘Let Us Take Leave of Absence from School’ -2: Interview with the President of Japan Foundation


Every now and then I write in this web-site that to have broad first hand experience, to find ‘what you want to do’, NOT ‘what organization/company you want to work for’ is very important in your life.  This same notion is clearly expressed in books such as ‘Insider’s Observation of the Failing of ‘Pay for Performance’ Policy by Fujitsu (original title: Naibu kara Mita Fujitsu Seikasyugi no Hohkai, in Japanese)’ and ‘Why do youth quit in 3 years?  Seniority-Based Promotion Ruins the Future of Japan (original title: Wakamono wa Naze 3nen de Yamerunoka? Nenkojyoretsu ga Ubau Nihon no Mirai, in Japanese)’ by Shigeyuki Jo, or ‘A Company Will Rot from the Head (original title: Kaisya wa Atama kara Kusaru in Japanese)’ by Kazuhiko Toyama.  For details, please check at ‘Amazon’.

Come to think of it, to most Japanese, men especially, forming their career on one single career path has been a common value.  We are in a society of seniority-based promotion, the ‘Tate Shakai (Hierarchical Society)’.  Since 1960s until 1990, Japanese economy continued to grow even though its velocity slowed down. Thus. social structure was built in accordance with this economic growth pattern.  For example, huge amount of ‘retirement lunmp-sum payment’, no sliding sideways (like moving from Mitsubishi Bank to Mizuho Bank…), etc.  People’s thinking adapted to this pattern, too.  This is prominent especially in Japanese men.

As I have written in my previous posting on ‘My lecture at Keio University SFC’, recently I am sending out messages by the key-word ‘Let us Take Leave of Absence from School’ for one year.  I am talking about this to many people including the government officials at the Ministry of Education.  I wish that universities get more actively involved in such programs.  What needs to be done is not to come up with reasons for why something cannot be done, but to think hard how it can be done and take action.

This was the topic of my conversation (in Japanese) with President Kazuo Ogura of Japan Foundation, too.  I have linked the interview.  What is your reaction to our message?

This similar message strongly appears in the article by Anne-Marie Slaughter, Director of Policy Planning of the U.S. Department of State, written two years ago when she was the Dean at Princeton University (I have mentioned this in my column) as well as in her recent lecture in February.

My speech at the World Bank also includes the same message.

‘Let Us Take Leave of Absence from School’ -1: My Message to the Freshman of Keio University SFC


Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus (SFC) organized a series of events to welcome 1,000 freshmen and on April 6th, I was invited to deliver a special lecture for this new class which is a great honor.  After having a brief conversation with Professor Jun Murai (Ref.1) (Dean, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies) and Professor Jiro Kokuryo (Ref.1) (Dean, Faculty of Policy Management), I talked for about 80 minutes at the θ Hall (I was told that the lecture was relay broadcasted at a separate room for people who were unable to be seated at the Hall.) 

SFC is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  On April 4th they had a number of events (in Japanese) with alumni and faculty to commemorate its history.  I am very close to several alumni through my work.  Each and all one them are out of ‘Japanese common sense’ and has global careers….  And what makes it unique about SFC is that being ‘out-of-box’ does not seem so strange. I had an opportunity to hear about their future plans as well.

Their home page introduces the history of SFC, how it is like today, its campus, etc. and I am sure you can easily imagine how nice this university is.

I understand that about 18% of the newcomers are from overseas and a high percentage (about 40 to 50%) of the Japanese students have experience of having lived abroad.   The students are encouraged to study abroad while they are enrolled at SFC and they are also planning to make it possible for students to graduate by finishing all courses in English starting from next year.

My lecture will be uploaded in their web site, too.  In the latter half of my lecture, I showed in my back a series of views that were relevant to the content of my talk.  

By the way, I am making it a rule for these couple of years not to use power point slides at lectures (with 2 or 3 exceptions).  Why?  Well, it depends on what you are talking about, but to begin with, policy makers don’t use slides.  Have you ever seen President Obama or former Prime Minister Koizumi giving speech using slides?  I assume not.  So this is why.  The point is how you communicate the core message effectively.  After all, I am not presenting the outcomes of my research, so that is most important for me.

In my speech, I focused on the globalization of the world and the challenges that Japan face today along with background information such as Japan in 1992, the year most of the newcomers were born, and the overview of the changes of the world during these years.  This is the theme that repeatedly appears in various ways under different titles in my web site. 

Especially, most of the (Japanese) men used to be caught in the common thinking that ‘a Single Track’ career is authentic.  Women, on the other hand, were free to take ‘multiple tracks’ because the single track system did not benefit them ? they cannot go higher, especially in the latter part of career.  So, in recent 20 years, i.e. since about the time when these new students were born, we saw many women who succeeded in making most of their own ‘personal talents’ at overseas.  Men have more difficulty in spreading horizontally because their thinking and actions tend to go inside even they felt (or maybe they don’t feel so….) that something is wrong about their ‘Single Track’ career in our ‘Tate shakai (Hierarchical society)’.  

An Encouragement of Learning (Gakumon no Susume)’ (1876) by Yukichi Fukuzawa, the founder of Keio University was apparently the standard in modern Japan after the Meiji Restoration (Meiji Ishin).  Today in this global age, however, I don’t think it necessary for undergraduates to graduate in 4 years.  Take 5 years, and spend total 1 year (could be divided) doing social activities, studying abroad, getting involved in activities at overseas, living in various countries, travelling.  Go ‘Out’, feel and sense from ‘Outside’ and look at your ‘self’, see and learn the many aspects of the world, feel the difference, and hence see and feel Japan from ‘Outside’.  Through such experience students will make friends, relationships at multiple layers of the society, internationally.  Through such experience they will acquire sensibility to feel ‘difference, diversity’ that exists in this world. It is such sensibility, ability, human networks that enables youth to find their mission, their value to address to this global world.  It is for this reason that I propose “Taking Leave of Absence from School in College or Undergraduate”.  

To begin with, I don’t see much promising future in any enterprise that seeks to ‘informally hire students at their 3rd year of undergraduate school.’  Judging from global standard, Japanese society that gives higher evaluation to such universities and companies is very exceptional.  I honestly want people at ‘higher ranks’ in the Japanese society to wake up.  It’s about time.

In the end of my speech, I introduced just a part of‘my favorite 14 minutes speech’, by Steve Jobs, the icon of IT who brought about drastic changes to the world through invention and production of Mcintosh, iTune, iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc., which was delivered at the commencement of Stanford. I then I wrapped up my speech.

After the lecture, I had a wonderful time talking with many, many students who gathered around me.

I also received many powerful messages responding to my 3 tweets in twitter which I have sent out during my rail travel from home to the campus.  This was a nice surprise, too.

Welcoming the President of University; KUSTAR and OIST


On Sunday, the next day of the MIT D-Lab which I have reported in my previous posting, I was on a plane again, now heading to Abu Dhabi for the KUSTAR Board Meeting.  KUSTAR is, as I have written repeatedly, a highly ambitious project which aims to become the center of higher education of science and technology of United Arab Emirates and the Region.  Human resource development  was one of the important requirements   in the competition of nuclear power plants of the Emirates, won by Korea, the issue which I have commented on several times in January in this web site.

At this Board meeting we had a very important agenda of selecting the President of this University, so we spent 5 hours with just 2 or 3 short breaks.  Tow of four candidates came to the meeting for interview; to express their visions, and discussion with the Borad.  Every candidate was wonderful and highly qualified.  I expect that the decision will be reached shortly.

Abu Dhabi is making a steady move towards nuclear energy.   They are trying to secure good human resource with  collaboration with IAEA.  I would like to see more Japanese come and work in various ways at Abu Dhabi on this project.  It was good to have had an opportunity to see several key people in this regard.  A meeting of IAEA on development of human resource took place just a couple of days ago where several Japanese participated.

Then, two days after I returned Japan, I flew to Okinawa to attend the Board of Directors’ meeting of OIST.  Here again, the big issue was selection of the President.  OIST is basically planned as a new type of ‘private university’ that is expected to run with the support of the Japanese government.  However, the process has been so difficult in doing anything because there are no precedents to follow.  Apparently, although the Board openly speaks about ‘University and Institution of the Global World’, in reality, even universities of Japan are still yet in the state of ‘intellectually closed country’, ‘Cartels of the Mind’

With rapidly growing Asia and the world moving forward to globalization, it seems obvious that the value and competitiveness of higher education system of Japan is wearing down: ‘nails that stick out’, youths who goes beyond old framework are being hammered down.  Business, policy makers, governments, universities, none of these sectors will be able to change under current circumstance.

During these 10 days I have been at A*STAR board meeting in Singapore, introduced the D-Lab of MIT in Tokyo, joined in the board meetings at Universities of  Abu Dhabi and Japan (Okinawa) to discuss issues of universities and scientific research.  Based on these experiences, I feel more concerned about the lack of speed and strong leadership quite clear when ‘Japan is viewed from outside’.