ACCJ 2010 Person of the Year, Why Me?


ACCJ stands for ‘American Chamber of Commerce in Japan’.  It is natural that this kind of institution exists in various countries.  There are many bilateral exchanges going on in many areas, but those in business and/or industry sector constitute the basis of economy for both nation.  I was invited by the ACCJ to give several lectures in the past.

Announcing various policy recommendations is one of the important functions of ACCJ.  Recommendations on strategies for economic growth and healthcare policies in Japan are some examples of recent announcements.

I am not a business person, so it came to me as a surprise when I learned that I was selected as the Person of the Year for 2010. However, I think they probably judged highly of my activities and opinions to open Japan to the world, to prepare youth to face the global issues of the changing world.  But since I am in the field of education, it is a matter of course that I work for those causes and so, though I am honored, it is not a big deal for me.

My interview is on the journal of ACCJ (Ref.1), if you are interested.  Many of you may think that I criticize too much, but I have been saying the same thing ever since I returned to Japan in the mid 1980s, after living in the US for15 years.  I speak as an individual, a medical doctor, not attached to any Japanese organization.  The same view is expressed also in this blog, my books, and essays.

I do know that you have many different views, but please understand that my words are not personal, rather, the idea and the concern is the same as what I always say about Japan.

I would like to express my deep appreciation to ACCJ for evaluating my activities.  I take this honor not personally, but as a duty bestowed upon me, to connect Japan to the world as much as to the United States.  I will continue to participate in ACCJ activities to support and help them in whatever way possible.  For instance, besides my work at the university, I could enhance the activities of our Think Tank,  or Impact Japan,  an organization which we founded just recently.

Several people congratulated me via e-mails about this ‘event’, and Dr. Yoko Ishikura introduced this topic in her blog.

It makes me feel like taking a new responsibility with ACCJ, and I am thrilled about the prospect.