Schedule – June 2010

Global Health 2010

What’s next for the G20? Investing in health and development

Date: 30 June, 2010

Location: Chatham House, London

  10 St James’s Square London WW1Y4LE UK

    TEL:  +44(0)29 7957 5700   FAX:  +44(0)20 7957 5710

Co-sponsor: Chatham House, CSIS, Health Policy Institute, Japan

*This is a free event to attend but advance registration is essential as spaces are limited.

Register →


    TEL +44(0)20 7957 5753   FAX +44(0)20 7321 2045

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

“Preventive Healthcare Summit: Healthcare as an Investment”

Date: Thursday, June 3, 2010

Time: 14:00-14:15

Venue: “The Grand Ballroom”, 3rd Floor at The Peninsula Tokyo

      1-8-1, Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

* By Invitation Only

‘Nurturing Tough Todai Students’: Lecture Series of The University of Tokyo


Last December, President Hamada of the University of Tokyo sent out a message ‘Let Us Nurture Tough Todai Students’.

As part of this effort, a new lecture series titled ‘The Way of Life in the Global Age ? New Possibilities Suggested by Professionals’ was launched this April mainly for the freshman/woman and sophomore students.  Please refer to the Todai web site for information on lecturers, topics, abstracts, etc.  The list of invited lecturers is pretty impressive.  I felt honored to be invited.

The last lecture for this semester was on June 25th (Mon).  I was assigned for that day.   Early in the morning of this day the World Cup ‘Japan vs Denmark’ game was being played, with the result of Japan defeating Denmark by ‘3-1’, which entitled Japan to go to the final tournament so I was not sure whether students would come because I imagined that they must be sleepy after staying up all night watching the game live on TV.  However, this anxiety proved to be unnecessary.

Students seemed to have enjoyed my lecture.  I talked about the importance of going on journies abroad to discover one’s self, about ‘Let Us Take Leave of Absence From School’ (Ref.1 2),  watching and listening to Steve Jobs’ speech , and thinking of the ‘strength’ and ‘weakness’ of oneself as well as that of Japan.

At the ‘questions and answers’ session, many interesting questions were raised and I enjoyed the time very much.  The eyes of every student were shining.  My wish is that each one of these students  grasp wonderful future in their hands.

I want Japanese youths to see the world in broader perspectives as they live the ‘global age’, thus to spend more time to find out what they really want to do, or want to be.  I would like to encourage them to connect to people around the world, look for their identity, and to find opportunities to be active internationally.  All this, I have been saying repeatedly in my web site also.

Faculties at universities, people in industries, I urge you to give students support and opportunities, in any way possible, to ‘take a leave of absence, if necessary, and go out to see and feel the world’.  Any time spans, styles, programs, are OK.  I think even having students to plan and launch his/her own projects would be a good idea.

Our future lies in the hands of the youth.

Michael Jackson and My Family: A Life in Encino


One year has passed since the sudden death of Michael Jackson (MJ).  It was truly a tragedy.  Michael made his first appearance to show business as the lead vocal of the ‘Jackson Five’ in late 60s of the 20th century.  The group’s first singles, (I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save, I’ll Be There) became #1 hits in a row in a hit chart (Billboard Hot 100).

In the early 80s he released one after another a new style of entertainment putting together vocals, dances, and visuals; such as ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Beat It’, or ‘Thriller’, which brought about drastic changes to the Pop Music.  He was truly an extraordinary genius.  No wonder people call him the ‘King of Pop’.  Michael created ‘new art of the age’ which is a combination of vocal, dance, and visual that is very popular today.  Yet his works are still shining like a star after all these years.

His sudden and unexpected death came precisely when the whole world was waiting with great expectation his last series of live performance ‘This Is It’.  When you look at the movie ‘This Is It’  which was made from rehearsal clips, you can see and feel his talents, personality, the greatness of true professional performance, hard and uncompromising work he went through and demand to his entire team.  You never get tired of seeing no matter how many times you play it.  His performance is just extraordinary and wonderful.  Since this video is a work edited from rehearsal clips unfortunately he was often not singing in his fullest in the video, so it makes you feel sad when you imagine how the live show would have been or how this whole piece of work would have turned out to be when completed.  I myself am also a great fan of MJ.  I own several DVDs, too.

After a year from his death, ‘This Is It’ continues to move people’s hearts with his personality and I hear that his popularity has become higher then ever since his death.  The total sales of DVDs etc. are said to be over 30 million albums, which is worth nearly one billion dollars.  This is so extraordinary.

In the summer of 1977, I returned to UCLA and bought a house in Encino, a town located 15 min. by car going North on Freeway 405 that runs beside UCLA, over the Santa Monica Mountains across Mulholland Drive (a street also well known in films )(Ref.1) and down the mountain slope facing San Fernando Valley.  16465 Refugio Road, Cul de Sac, was the place.  The view, environment, neighbors…..everything was very nice.

Then only after a short while, surprisingly, Michael Jackson (MJ) came to live in our neighborhood. 4641 Havenhurst Avenue.  He was famous already, but speaking in the context of his career as a whole, I think it was the time when he was searching for the next step.  He then moved in 1988 to Neverland, about 200km west of Encino: when he died last year, the house in Encino was the residence of his parents.

It was during that time when we (my family and I) used to see Michael Jackson every once in a while, at a nearby supermarket – Gelson  (a premier supermarket at the intersection of Havenhurst Avenue and Venture Blvd).  He was shopping all by himself, and we used to exchange few words for a few minutes. He was a very shy and charming young man.  MJ was 19 years old then.

Then, I returned to Japan in October, 1983.  MJ was already a big idol, having released ‘Thriller’  in 1982.  In this album, ‘Beat It’, ‘Billie Jean’ were also included.  It was and is a great album!  I recall ‘Thriller’ being played on TV repeatedly in these days.

In 1969, the year we went to US, MJ has been a new idol kid, and in 1983 when I returned to Japan, MJ began his career as King of Pop.  He was without doubt the greatest entertainer connecting the 20th century to the 21st century.

By the way, Google Maps (maps, street views) is an amazingly great tool.  You can find Gelson by tracking about 100m North from MJ’s house along Havenhurst Avenue.  Going south for 400m and you will reach Lanai Road, then go 400m, turn East at Havenhurst Drive, go 300m and enter Balliana Drive, then another 300m to Ballina Canyon Road, go on and on up to the mountains.   After about 200m, turn right to Refugio Road and 5 houses ahead will be the dead end of the street.  Our house was on the right side of Cul de Sac.  You can see the area both by Street Views and Air Views, but see here for a description of my house (in Japanese).  It was during these days when late Mr. Saburo Shiroyama, a great Japanese non-finction writer, visited us and wrote a short article about me  (in Japanese) with some description of the house.

I have written this posting to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson.

Students Passionately Searching for the Ways to Serve the World. Why not Join Them this August?


This is another posting on the‘Global Change Maker Program’ which you may be familiar with by now.  This program was organized mainly by the undergraduate students of Waseda University, with the help of their supporters.  Now at last its first project ‘E Education’ is going to launch jointly with Grameen Bank led by Professor Yunus.

Dear youths and students, why not consider participating in their activities this summer?

Below are the details.  I urge you to raise your hands.  Actually, I have seen participants from the last year and saw how they their eyes were opened to the world and have become motivated and some are already in ACTION.  This is truely a wonderful project.

Their web sites are;
2. etc.

And see the video at ‘YouTube’.

In my web site, see postings of;
June 6th, 2010
April 14th, 2010
June 29th, 2009
December 19th, 2008

This year’s program is from August 18th to 29th.  See below for details.  Join them and go out to see the world!
Dear everyone who expects to become a driving force of the world 10 years from now.
+ Global Change Maker Program +
12 days’ exciting program for you to learn and experience how to change the world
For details/applications ⇒ ⇒ ⇒

New York City; Wonderful Season, Great Discussions, Reunions With Young Physicians


After 14 hours’ flight from Seoul, I arrived at JFK Airport.  The weather looked great from above few clouds but it was also a delight to feel the refreshing dry air as I stepped down the steps from the aircraft.  This is clearly the best season of the year in New York.

I headed to Le Meridian located in the Mid-Town Manhattan , the venue of the President’s Council (Ref.1 ) of the University of Tokyo.  You may remember some of my previous postings on this Council.  It was originally founded by former President Dr. Komiyama, is now succeeded by President Hamada.  Last meeting  was held at the Komaba Campus of Todai, which included an initiatives, two separate seminars by two Council members, Bill Emmott-san and by Victor KK Fung-san.

After checking in to the hotel and taking a short rest, I spent a wonderful afternoon in the fresh leaves and soft breeze walking for about an hour in the Central Park  (Ref.1,2) to MOMA  (it was a pity that the museum was closed because it was Monday), and through the Madison Avenue.

In the evening, a reception was held with the local Todai alumni association joining in (article on this is uploaded in the University archive of June 8th ), and the number of people turned out to be quite large.  I was happy to see several old friends whom I had not seen for a long time and of course was glad to be introduced to many new friends.

On the next day, the President’s Council meeting opened welcoming the members including professors Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol of Thailand, Vartan Gregorian, Rita Colwell, Kari O Raivio, Michael Y Yoshino of Harvard, P Laudichina-san of AT Kearney, Yoshi Yokoyama-san, the former director of McKinsay & Company Inc of Tokyo.

Special guest of this meeting was Dr Rebecca Chopp (Ref.1,2) the President of Swarthmore College.  Main theme was ‘Liberal Arts’ education.  I will write on this further in a separate posting.

In the evening I enjoyed having dinner with young Japanese physicians, some in  medical residency at a medical center in NYC, and their OBs/OGs.  We had nice heated discussions on a variety of topics.  It is my firm belief that to nurture as much as possible those kinds of talents, to encourage more young people to work in broader fields outside of Japan, is so crucially important not only for Japan’s tomorrow but also for Japan to be trusted by other nations of the more and more interconnected world.  To let young people in Japan know about those young (Japanese) people studying and working at overseas, to show them good role models that they can look up to as their short-term future choices, is a very important element in the education of and nurturing young Japanese potentials that are well capable of working in dynamic global world.

Asian Pacific Congress of Nephrology in Seoul


Just recently I have reported to you about having participated briefly in the meeting of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) after a long interval.

I returned from Doha to Japan in the evening of June 1st.  Next day, I headed to the Yagami Campus of Keio University to give a lecture as part of the SONY lecture series on Innovation  organized by Professor Mario Tokoro, President of SONY CSL.  The day after, June 3rd, after taking care of several things I flew to Seoul to join the Asian Pacific Congress of Nephrology (Ref.1) held at COEX.  My first program was to appear in the Opening Plenary as co-chair with Professor Ho Yung LEE, the President of APCN.

I truly enjoyed reunions with lots of colleagues who came to participate from Asia-Pacific and countries like US and EU.  During my appointment as Counselor and later as the President of ISN I used to catch every opportunity to travel abroad, so to see many of the young people; many of them whom I met in those days have been turning into leaders in their country and the world, was a tremendous joy for me.  Speaking of myself, I had the honor of receiving the first ‘Priscila Kincaid-Smith Award’  founded at the last meeting two years ago.  Dr. Kincaid-Smith is a renowned Australia based physician and researcher, especially known for her world class contribution in the advancement of nephrology and was elected the first President of ISN from Asian Pacific (she was also the first female ISN President).  I have had the honor of being in touch with her in many occasions.

The reception hosted by President Lee was held at the annex of Walkerhill Hilton  (the garden of Aston House  (the photos are seen in this web site) which is known to many through a popular Korean TV series ‘Hotelier’ .  I hear that this place was built for the meeting of Heads of North and South Koreas.  At the reception I had a great time talking with many old and new friends.

On 7th, left Seoul from Incheon International Airport  to New York JFK, a 14 hours’ flight.

Japan, UK, US, Korea Cancer Clinical Trials International Symposium ? A Report


In my May 29th posting I have reported that we hosted Japan, UK, US, Korea cancer clinical trials international symposium.

A report on this meeting is now uploaded on the web site of Health Policy Institute 

Every session was excellent, but from Japan’s standpoint, the rapid internationalization and growth of Korean clinical trials in the last few years was impressive and very much worth focusing.  Details are illustrated in the slides (especially the latter half, #7 and after) of Professor Yung-Jue Bang of Seoul University, the 3rd presentation in the plenary session (first presentation was by Dr. Miyata of Ministry of Health, second was Dr. Kondo, Chief Executive of PMDA).  Please note that cancer or oncology is now the largest stream of clinical trials in Korea. 

I think that these rapid changes were possible through the excellent co-operations and leadership among government agencies, universities, health care stakeholders, indurstry etc., strong initiatives in prioritization, good decisions and quick actions for internationalization (introduction of international standard systems).

For Japan, the fastest way would be to participate aggressively in multiple international clinical trials right from the early phases, simultaneously.  Understanding, co-operations, and pressure of patients advocacy and their family would be crucially necessary to make it possible.

The so-called ‘Drug Lag’ is not just a problem of regulatory agency, but equally important factors are the speed of decisions of companies and clinical trials process

Doha, Qatar-3: Education in the Global Age, Concerns About Japan


In this Global age, of fast growing Asia, with expectation of great change ahead, education in Japan has ‘more than enough’ of problems

Since the major work force in academic, political, and industrial arena of Japan today are comprised of those who went through the conventional school system, having  spent the 20 years of Japan ‘bashing→passing →nothing→missing’ time period with people who experienced the golden age of high economic growth of 60s to 90s, I can not but help suspecting they hardly recognize the fundamentals of education reform towards the global age.

In comparison to the population, number of Japanese people having been educated in overseas universities (undergraduate) is too small.  I presume also that there are only but few who got into (overseas) graduate schools through official entrance exams, finished full courses and graduated.  This goes particularly for male students most of whom are likely to have earned MBA under the support of ‘dispatch’ program of ‘institutions’ such as companies or government offices.

True that there were some historical backgrounds uniqe to Japan of education system , but still, Japan among growing Asian countries has exceptionally smaller number of people in comparison to its population who have gone through overseas (US and UK) higher education or who have been at ‘Boarding Schools’ (in US and UK) where ‘elites’ are nurtured.  And yet, the so called ‘leaders’ of Japan preach us ‘the vision for education’ in high pitch.

Of course, top universities of Japan are quite good.  However, even today, the ‘elites’ in Japan (in politics, enterprises, governments ? and I wonder how things are at universities…) do not have good command of spoken English, and to be honest with you, generally speaking their ‘passion’ is weaker than the elites from China or Korea not to speak of their ability to appeal themselves and sending out messages at international arenas.

At Doha we had sessions on ‘Education’, and it was quite clear that every country was very serious about nurturing/educating next generation, thus prepared for the global age.  All were fully aware that the issues they face were different from those in the conventional education of the past.

In this sense, the message on education by Queen Rania of Jordan was wonderfully focused on its essence.  I urge you to listen to her on web (資料1).  She was without doubt one of the most wonderfully influential and committed person in this forum.

May 30 – June 2 columns in the blog of Dr. Yoko Ishikura are also a very good source of additional information to what I have reported in this ‘Doha, Qatar series’ postings.  By all means, I recommend that you visit her site.

Youths Awake; A Project Started By Going Out to the World


PHOTOS: Saisho-kun receiving a ‘Go’ sign from Dr. Yunus, female students of the program.

The youths whom I have been writing about for some time (Ref.1) have at last fully started their activities in Bangladesh.

A report on this also appeared on the recent Asahi Shinbun newspaper .

Students took leave of absence from Waseda university to visit the site, and while trying to appeal their activities in Japan, searched for the ways to solve the problem they focused, made plans, worked, tested, and at last launched the first Japanese social business in the ‘Grameen Bank’ – the ‘E Education Project’ led by Saisho-kun of Waseda University (Ref.1 in Japanese).  His friend at the Waseda University, Miyoshi-kun also took a leave of absence this year to focus on the next project in Bangladesh. 

The goal of this ‘E Education Project’ is;
1. Produce future leaders of Bangladesh from this village.
2. Provide education of the highest quality via ‘E learning’ to passionate students from low income families in the rural villeges, and have them get to University of Dahka, the top university of Bangladesh.

The ‘Story’ of Saisho-kun goes as below;
1. Atsuyoshi Saisho, the 20 years old youngest Grameen Project Coordinator used to be a drop-out student, the lowest in grades at high school.
2. His teacher asked his parents to see him/her at school and told them ‘Atsuyoshi is only good enough to go to the 3rd class University, and will take two years to even succeed that!’  On that day, he enrolled in the Toshin High School, a cram school.
3.  Saisho-kun mastered 3 years’ syllabus in 3 month using the DVD digital lectures, and succeeded in entering Waseda University.
4.  This experience faded as he worked at the ‘Grameen’, but one day he witnessed a serious shortage of teachers at a village primary school.
5.  ‘Isn’t it the Toshin model that this country with shortage of 40,000 teachers need?’
6.  ‘An education model that anyone, anywhere, any time can have access to the lessons of the best teachers’.
7. Saisho-kun presented this vision to Dr. Yunus, the President of the Grameen Bank, and a strong go sign of ‘DO IT!DO IT!GO AHEAD!! ’ came back!
8.  He launched a social business co- operated by the Grameen and Hitotsubashi University Institute of Innovation Research (Professor Seiichiro Yonekura).

The Outline of this Project is;
Make digital contents of lessons by the best teachers at Dhaka, and distribute them to the village children through Grameen networks.

1. Program;
1.1. Contents to prepare for entrance exams of University of Dahka:
Intensive courses by the 3 best teachers in Bangladesh (Bangli, English, Social studies).
1.2. Contents on Leadership:
Leadership Programs by the young Bangladeshi social entrepreneur EJ Ahmed, one of the best students of Professor Hyetts of Harvard University.
1.3. Future Career Development Contents:
Weekly interviews via Skype internet phone service with students of University of Dahka
Class on future careers by the Professors of University of Dahka

2.  Period of Time and Goal;
2.1 Class will start from June 2010.
2.2 Class will continue through November, 2010 the month of entrance exams of University of Dahka (5 months).

3.  Target;
20 (including 7 female) 9th grade students from farm village of Ekhlaspur.

4. Future Visions;
4.1. In 2010, structure one success model.
4.2. From 2011, gradually spread this as social business via the network of 600 branch offices of Grameen existing throughout Bangladesh.
4.3. By 2015, provide education to 6,000 children.
4.4 After succeeding in Bangladesh, expand the model to ‘Asian nations with problem of shortage of teachers.’

5.  Story:
5.1. In farming villages, lack of ‘hope’ is the most serious problem for children.
5.2. ‘Role models’ that children would want to look up to do not exist in their neighborhood.  The goal is to present models that make them want to ‘do a cool job like this’ or understand that ‘such kind of future career exists’.
Saisho-kun wants to;
“Deliver children ‘chances for the future’”
This is his ultimate goal.

What do you say?  Isn’t it wonderful?  They are beaming with enthusiasm.  Let’s support them.  But moreover, please think what each one of you can do.  The world is broad so go out and see for yourself.  The world is waiting for you to join their work.  It is precisely for this purpose that I say ‘Let Us Take Leave of Absence from School’ (Ref.1). 

By the way, when they called for participants of the program more than 20 students applied for available 10 slots and among them were 7 female students (photo above) gathered in this country of Islam.

This is truly a great accomplishment!  People of the village said that it was ‘a revolution’.   I was told that the teacher of the local high school who brought the talented female students to this program said ‘They are the Hidden Treasures of our village.  But there is no way that we can get them to the University of Dahka.  Please save them with E education.’   The class will start in June.

To end this column, please listen to the passion and determination of Miyoshi-kun (in Japanese).  I believe that such desire, strong will of each people, when gathered, becomes the force and drive to make changes in Japan and the world.

Doha, Qatar -2: Global Redesign Summit and Madame Sadako Ogata, President of JICA


The purpose of this visit to Doha is to attend the ‘Global Redesign Summit’.  Programs and other information are posted on the web, but at this meeting all documents and reports abide the ‘Chatham House Rule’, a style that do not disclose the identity of the speakers, and its exceptions are very limited.  Therefore, we need to obtain consent from the host of the conference and the speakers in order to reveal who said what, even in a blog like this.

The intention of the agenda of this Summit as I understand is to pick up issues from the discussions of the past ‘Global Agenda Councils’(Ref.1, 2), focus, have them further discussed at this Summit and carry the results perhaps to the next Davos Meeting in January using them as the basis of discussions at panels and other programs so that some kind of global actions may arise.

As usual, the programs were divided into several themes in which I found one interesting session titled ‘Oceans’, an unusual theme.  ‘Oceans’ has been one of my interest for a while, and since the content looked attractive, I decided to join.

I had an impression that participants were carefully chosen and invited (though many naturally could not come due to other obligations) for this Summit, with members of the ‘Global Agenda Council’ as the core.

Since I have been helping the work of the World Bank on Development (Ref.1) for 2 years as a ‘volunteer’, I joined mainly in the sessions related to ‘Development’.  Committee members presented each point in about 5 minutes to express their views from their own standpoints to set issues for the discussions that followed.  The number of participants was about 50 or at most, 100 in each session, so it was a comfortable size to exchange views and discuss.

In such meetings, you are given opportunities to listen to many experts that make very good points, hear different views, observe the way good discussions are conducted, and hear the views of many leaders of the fields.  Also, you learn how to express your view within a limited time frame, how to lead discussions, expand the scope, or to introduce new viewpoints.  I always learn a lot from this sort of events.
As I have reported to you in my past columns, President of JICA, Madame Sadako Ogata is a wonderful speaker and one of the true leaders of the world.  Each word of her comments is very clearly understood by other participants, appreciated – and by the way she was invited to appear in 4 panels including the closing Plenary Panel.   This extraordinary talent and insights that Madame Ogata embraces is quite visible and valued at the annual main Davos meeting, also.  Such an extraordinary character is found in a very few people even by the global standard.  The last panel 'A Framework for the Future' was conducted by a male host, two male panelists and 4 female panelists.  The president of Finland (female, was a minister of foreign affairs for 5 years, has been the president for 9 years, originally was an activists at NGO.) commented on this fact at her closing remarks.  Such structure of participants would be hard to imagine at comparable panels in Japan.

I was fortunate enough to spend quite a time with Dr. Sadako Ogata, and was impressed to know her broad networks of people including many (former) heads of the states of so many nations.  She has been in touch with them personally for 10-20 years.  This is quite extraordinary and therefore a proof how people appreciate and trust her.  She is truly the pride of Japan.  Ogata-san visited Kabul, Afghanistan, a few months ago, and will head for Egypt after this meeting; she is practically hopping around the world. She does not appear this Summit as President of JICA, but as an individual, thus she came here alone, no staff, even at her age and the position. What a remarkable and honorable lady she is.

Participants from Korea (staff members from the Blue House- I am acquainted with several young staff such as G20 Sherpa Ahn Ho-Young (Ref.1) and Professor of Political Science, Moon Chung-in ), China representatives from political arena and academics impressed us with their clear and relevant comments at a Plenary as well as their skilful handling of the questions and answers that followed.
I urge Japanese youths to participate more aggressively in such ‘opportunities’; to learn how to discuss and ask questions at panels and follow good examples.  Try, fail, learn, and grow.  Gradually you will get used to being in such ‘places’.  By all means, take every opportunity to be at such events.  Failing to do so will result in even more low presence of the Japanese.  Besides, it is also an excellent chance for your global network building.