Japan-Korea Exchange, Happy Gatherings


Speech by President Lee on August 15th was for about 20 minutes.  Regarding the relations with North Korea the President expressed 3 strategic steps of partnerships based on ‘Peace’, ‘Economy’, and ‘Korean Reunion’.  I would like to read it if English and/or Japanese translations of the full text were available.

During my stay at Seoul, I was given lots of opportunities to meet people.  To my lecture at the Seoul National University, my old and new colleagues in nephrology, the science of kidney, gathered on the occasion and Dr. Narry Kim (Ref.1,2) a L’Oreal Prize Laureate of the year 2008 kindly came to the confenerce.

In the evening of 13th, the day I arrived at Seoul, I had dinner with Dr. Ju (Ref.1) whom I have introduced to you before.  Dr. Sumio Ishida, the specialist of the history of medicine in Korea (Dr. Ishida has many writings on the history of medical educations in The Netherlands and Korea) and Professor Lee, Heung-Ki (who studies history of hospitals in Korea at the Seoul University) (Dr. Lee’s photo is uploaded at the top of the previous column posting) also gathered and we all celebrated the happy reunion.  Dr. Ju is now 89 years old, but he is still very clear-headed; a truly wonderful person.
In the evening of August 15th, we invited a Korean female sophomore student of Waseda University who is currently spending her summer vacation with her family in Seoul.  She used to live in Japan until 5 years old because of her parents’ work and her Japanese is impressive.  Her older brother is studying in Canada.  She is very focused about her career goal and told me that she chose Waseda because of that goal.  She was selected to be a recipient of the scholarship (in Japanese) offered this July by the alumna of Waseda University  (in Japanese). I was very delighted to learn this good news.  I would like to see more and more of such mutual exchanges of young students to take place.

In the morning of 16th, the last day, I came across by chance with Dr. Tsutomu Nakada (in Japanese)(Ref.1) at the Executive Lounge of the Hotel.  I talk to him once in a while over a telephone but he happened to arrive at Seoul the day before yesterday and was leaving for Japan today.  What a coincidence!  This kind of unexpected encounter is apparently one of the hidden pleasures of traveling.  We enjoyed a brief catch ups.

Lunch was with Dr. Han Seung-Soo.  Dr. Han had been appointed to a series of ministers of the Government of Korea, is well known in international arena, was President of the 56th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (on the very morning of his inauguration ceremony the September 11 happened in NYC….), was a Professor of the Seoul National University.

Dr. Han Seung-Soo published a book ‘Beyond the Shadow of 9/11’  which records one year of his experience as the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations.  This book is a very impressive work which I highly recommend especially to those who seek careers in diplomacy or United Nation and other international istitutions.

Japan and Korea are neighbors.  We share and have long history of deep relations in various fields such as economy, politics, and culture….for over 1,500 years.  We are the most important partner to each other in this globalizing world.  To perceive whatever issue as ‘two neighbor nations in a big framework of the world that is changing dramatically’ and to think accordingly is crucially necessary and important.

This was also one of main messages of my lecture at the Seoul National University which I have reported to you in my previous posting.