The Prime Minister of Malaysia Launched Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council


Photos here

Almost every nation of the world is setting science and innovation, ie, the creation of new social values, at the center of their national policy.

It is no exception for Malaysia, a nation that puts high priority in education, more recently making strong commitment to science research, in order to realize its economic growth.

Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato' Sri Mohd Najib announced the launch of GLOBAL SCIENCE AND INNOVATION ADVISORY COUNCIL on May 17th making use of the opportunity of his visit to New York City.

Dr. Zakri was appointed to the Science Advisor to the Cabinet at the time of the inauguration of the Prime Minister. I have been acquainted with Dr. Zakri since he was a senior official of the United Nation University (UNU) in Tokyo as well as Director of its affiliated Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS).  Dr. Zakri asked me for support when he came to Tokyo last year, and it so happens that the request materialized in this announcement.  The activity of this council is to be led by the New York Academy of Sciences (Ref.1). 

Below are the press coverage of the council for your reference;
1. BBC   
2.  New Strait Times

From the announcement, I learned that there are some people, such as Jeffrey Sachs, and Rita Colwell, whom I know very well in the members of the council.  If you search in my web site I think you will find their names in some of my postings.  I very much look forward to working with them.

Since I plan to go to Kuala Lumpur in mid June to give a lecture, I hope that our mutual schedule will permit me to see Dr. Zakri then.

I very much feel honored to be asked to serve in such an important task.


Dragon Cherry Blossoms Continues to Fight; “Encourage Students to Take Leave of Absence from School”


The Dragon Cherry Blossoms which I have been reporting you every now and then was launched in action 3 years ago in December when they visited me finding out my massage from my blog postings;  I advised them to take a leave of absence from school and go to Dhaka. My Saisyo seemed to have made up his mind right on the spot to take a leave. As they were leaving my room, I could see that everyone got my message feeling pretty confident about their next step..  After this, things started to move rapidly, and Mr Miyoshi with others organized Japanese side of the team, and later they created GCMP.

Overcoming many hardships along the process over almost two years, Dragon Cherryblossom made a big impact which quickly spread throughout Japan.  I am very happy about this.
I assume that you have already heard about the book written by Mr. Saisyo; “Go Forward, Go Forward, Go Forward” (in Japanese).  Here, I would like to introduce the book to you again.  I can see from his book that at the site, they are encountered with many difficulties.  Of course, there would have been hurdles of different kinds continuing his studies in Waseda University, too, had Mr Saisho stayed at the Univertsity not taking the leave..

However, this is only a beginning, and I can assure them that they will be challenged by many unexpected “barriers” before they succeed in expanding this project or even changing the society a bit.

Mr. Saisyo, you are very diligent in pursuit of your dream and have shown the ability to get people involved.  Many youths see you as their “role model”.  However, I have to say to you that harder times are yet to come, but remember that I am always on your side and willing to support you just like many others do….
By the way, in connection with the “Encourage Youths of Taking a Leave of Absence from School”  which I so many times urge in this web site, I would like to call your attention to the fact that many private universities charge “fees” such as “tuitions” even while the students are on “the leave” ? which is unimaginable policy for educational institutions.

However, the good news is that at the Meiji University, with strong actions on the students’ side, University Admisnitration decided to significantly reduce the amount of fee they charge to students during the period of leave.  I am very, very, pleased.  I would like to ask the university administration to make the amount they charged (during absence) part of the tuition due after their return to university.

I urge other private universities to follow the example of Meiji University.  To students, I urge you to unite and petition to the universities.

For it is about your right to build your future.


What Can Be Done to Recover Trust in Japan After 3.11: Presentation at the Japan National Press Club


Japan National Press Club regularly holds lectures welcoming various guests.  Recent example is Senator Daniel Inouye, a big figure at the US Congress.  His lecture is posted on this web site, also.
I was invited to give a lecture here at May 20th.  My handout was the material which I used at the gathering of the legislators of the Democratic Party the day before (this meeting was open to media…).  The excerpt of my speech is shown here.

I talked conservatively and mildly as I understood that this lecture would be broadcasted On-line.  

However, at the following Q&A session, since the audience was mostly journalists, I naturally was somewhat acquainted with them, and they in turn was familiar with my backgrounds, so I felt that many questions reflected such backgrounds.

I do, however, kept my straight open style here and there, so if you are interested, please watch the video.

Mr. Koiwai was present at the lecture and he posted an article of the summary of my presentation on the Science Portal, (in Japanese).  Mr. Koiwai kindly points out that I am including media in my target of criticism.  I repeatedly speak and write so in many occasions (Ref.1 in Japanese) (Ref.2,3 in English), too.

Mr Makino, a journalist who calls himself “Stimulator of the Era (Jidai Shigeki-bito)”, also showed up at the lecture (I see him at many occasions…) He posted a column on his blog by the title of “A Last Chance for Japan to Recover From Mistrust On Nuclear Power Plant Breakdown at the G8 Summit”.
I see some moves among the legislators towards realization similar to my recommendations which, hopefully, they find useful.  Now is also a good opportunity to structure healthy relations between the legislature arm and the administrative arm of the Government of Japan.

See-D Contest, The Final Presentations


We have been working for a year on this See-D contest activities (Ref.1, 2, 3)

As described in the announcement, our theme this time was “East Timor”.  This event was for the final presentation of this year’s contest (twitter here).  We could see how both the student teams and professional teams worked hard for the development of their ideas to workable prototypes.  This event was held at GRIPS on Sunday, as its final presentation.

The participants worked hard and went through many hardships and presented their fruits.   Many comments and advises were given to each project, which they, in return, had to respond to.  I assume that it will take an extensive time to achieve successful deployment, perhaps even very difficult, too, but I am certain that what they are going through will now be a good experience for them.

I hope and expect that each participant make this experience an opportunity for their further development, in developing their views and engeagements to the global world.


Fukuzawa Yukichi Memorial School (Juku) of Civilization; Enjoying Dialogues With the Youths


(Photos by Mr. Nobuyuki Aoki of the Change-the-World

Fukuzawa Yukichi (Fukuzawa is the family name) is a leader of the modern Japan, one of the persons I respect very much.

If you search by the key word ‘Fukuzawa Yukichi’, in this web site, you will find several postings on him.  I summarized some of them into my book review “Vision of Fukuzawa Yukichi; His Insights Into the Future at Time of Chaos”  (in Japanese).

I was invited to a gathering named “leadership” in the “Fukuzawa Bunmei (Civilization) Juku”, a Juku (literally meaning cram/private school) named after Fukuzawa Yukichi, the founder of Keio University.  The program was hosted by Professo Jiro Tamura .

About half of the Juku-class were students, the rest were young people with jobs, but what struck me as a pleasant surprise was that about half of them was women.

The video of the session is presented in u-stream.

I discussed with them in schemes of; the ‘3.11’ and subsequent crises of today, how to see Japan’s response and background, and the need of leaders with global vision.  Participants discussed in a group at some intervals, and raised me questions.

I always enjoy talking with youths very much.


TEDxTokyo 2011


We began TEDxTokyo in 2009 (Ref.1).  This year is their 3rd year.

I reported to you several times also about TED, its home organization (Ref.1, 2, 3 ), here in this site.

This year, however, we quickly changed the theme to respond to the ‘3.11’ disasters.  And it turned out to be a wonderful gathering.

Participants seemed to enjoy the event very much, and I felt that the expectations for the future Japan gradually fermented.

Programs are posted on the web  (for example, search by the key word ‘TEDxTokyo2011’ in the here…)

People have different likings and what you like may be different from mine, but personally, I enjoyed for example;

Black A Yo Yo
Dr Ueno
Gunter Pauli
Kathy Matsui
just to mention a few…

I urge you to visit the site and have fun.

Todd and Patrick were the producer and organizer of this event.  More than 100 wonderful volunteers helped.

Thanks to every and each one of you for your support.




First Step Towards Structuring New Japan


 ‘3.11’ disaster attracted global attentions not only by its huge impact but also by the importance Fukushima has in the world.

However, this attention lasted just for the initial 1 to 2 weeks.  Japan has exposed its strength and weakness clearly to the world, as I have pointed out for several times in this web site (Ref.1, 2, 3 )   
or in other media such as newspapers (in Japanese) (Ref.1)

News coverage of Japan is altogether minor in international media.  If you follow the world news, it is perfectly clear that any comment by Japanese government is taken as nothing but excuses.; that is to say the credibility and trust of Japanese government have fallen.

Then, how can we recover the international credibility of Japan?  This is the keypoint.  As far as browsing through the domestic news coverage, I could hardly find any opinions or comments by the Japanese ‘leaders’ on this issue.

At a time like this, when the nation is at the brink of losing its trust, it is good to learn lessons from the past.  However, that being said, the point is how much the leaders have profound insights, are capable of making good judgments, know what they must do.  Self-centered ‘pride’ means nothing here.
The one and only thing that matters is how much you care about the people (of Japan).  It goes not just for the government but also for the major business enterprises like TEPCO.

This means, in case of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, that the government or the Diet must launch an ’International’ task force that is completely ‘independent’ from the government. I can assure you that unless this is done, the world’s trust in Japan will never even start to recover.

Such idea/reasoning is also presented in the document which the Natural Resources Defense Council submitted to President Obama dated March 25th.

Also, unfavorable rumors or misinformation about agricultural produce or industrial products, thus harming credibility of Japan, are difficult to tone down unless the steps I described above do not materialize. There are lots of lessons to be learned from the process of recovery of the reputation of British Government that took more than 20 years when the BSE started in 1886

What we need is a special committee that is ‘independent’ and ‘outside’ (i.e. internationally trustable) of the government.  Equally necessary is a quick and total information disclosure.  This again, is very unsatisfactory at this stage.  Transparency is the foundation of trust and credibility.

Recently, I had an opportunity to present this idea using this figure at a meeting (open to media) organized by legislators of the Democratic Party of Japan.  I learned that many members of the Diet share this idea with me (in Japanese).

Mind you, the whole world is watching.  They are questioning whether Japan has no intention of turning the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster to lessons to share with the rest of the world.


The Risk Response Network of WEF: The World Is Paying Attention to Japan’s Responses


The World Economic Forum (‘Davos’ Meeting), recognizing enhancing mutual dependence of the global world, have launched ‘Risk Response Network (RRN)’ (Ref.1),  where the danger of expansion of various risks in the world is discussed so as to structure the system of addressing to those risks and responses to them.

I have bee participating in the processes, but this ‘3.11’ quakes, tsunamis, and the nuclear power plant crisis of Japan was precisely one of huge disasters we had been discussing about over the last few years

WEF-RRH meeting was held in New York in April, and then, on May 18th, a Workshop focusing especially on this mega disaster in Japan was held in Tokyo.

Many people gathered, and Mr Edano, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, among others, came to deliver a message. Summaries and references are available on web sites (Ref.1, 2, 3) (Ref.3 is in Japanese).

A summary by Kevin Steinberg, the COO of RRN, is also posted on the web site of WEF.

Besides participating in the open sessions, I have been involved in many discussions, interviews with key persons for these 3 days.

How Japanese government respond to this disaster is being watched by the whole world.


Turning the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Disaster to Lessons to Share with the World


Hardships will continue for the people at Sanriku district, the area hit by the great tsunami disaster.  I earnestly hope that political measures will be taken swiftly to at least have their basic daily life recover soon enough although inevitably more time is needed for full recoveries.

In addition, we have to deal with the huge nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima.  The whole world is paying attention to us.  This issue is not something that will end in a decade or so, but something much huge, that will last for much longer period of time.  Since the global trend was to increase the number of nuclear power plants, the attention from the world to Fukushima is accordingly much higher.

Here, I would like to introduce to you my interview  (in Japanese) with Tetsuo Saito (in Japanese), Deputy Secretary General of the New Komeito, and former Minister of Environment.   This interview includes ideas on the ‘most important things to do’ NOW, so please take a look.

The title of our dialogue is; ‘Overcoming the Crisis and Changing Japan to a Nation Contributing to the World’, its subtitle is; ‘Turning the Nuclear Power Plant Disaster to Lessons to Share with the World’

The sub-sub titles are;
1. Truths of Japan Exposed
2. Fragile Leaders at the Time of Crisis
3. Blueprints of the Recovery
4. Japan in the Global World
In the end appears my recommendations on ‘the most important things to do’ at this time.
I have been expressing my views repeatedly in this web site, so I think you already understand, but below are some examples for your reference (Ref.1 (in Japanese), 2, 3, 4, 5 (in English)).

I have also pointed out that Japan is currently regarded as one of the major risk factors of the world and explained why this is the case.


St Gallen Symposium


Click here for the photos of St Gallen town

From Washingon DC to Zurich via London Heathrow, and then about 50 min. on car, I arrived at the beautiful town of St Gallen at about 4pm, May 11th.  Swiss in May is beautiful, and the weather is wonderful (but unfortunately it was raining tonight and tomorrow’s forecast is cloudy plus rain).  I took a walk around the town for a while.  Asparagus is in season at the market now.  In the evening, I went to the reception.

This is my third participation at the St Gallen Symposium, first in 2007 (in Japanese) and second in 2008.  The Symposium has a history of 41 years, and everything is organized by the students of St Gallen University.

The purpose of this event is an ambitious one; to invite global leaders in business and other sectors to talk and exchange views with the youths.  The age range of participants broadened a bit from last year- focusing graduate students and young people up to 30 years old from the original focus to undergraduate students, plus a special group of people categorized as the ‘Future Leaders’.

I am very pleased to see more Japanese students coming each year.  Selection of the participants are through submission of English essays. Quite a number of foreign students studying in Japan also join in the ‘Japan slot’.  This is good.

This event is hosted by undergraduate students of the St Gallen University.  They are all dressed properly, very good mannered, and take care of things in a crisp, friendly way.  Their hospitality makes the overall atmosphere quite pleasant.

I think it is wonderful that the students meet many global leaders in person and the future leaders-to-be who are of the same generation as the students.  Through the process of planning this event, they meet many people, effectively broaden views, recognize the difference, or find their own goals. 

The theme of this year’s Symposium was ‘Just Power’  (Ref.1).

I participated in the Work Session2; What values for a world out of joint?   It turned out to be a very lively, enjoyable session because I limited my talk to just 20 minutes, focusing on major prospectives of world affairs, and spent rest of the time in dialogue with the audience.

Then I had a couple of interviews, and after dinner I continued to enjoy talking with young people until late at night (at around 1am).  Basically, I make it my policy to focus on young people in my activities.

The Symposium had many good panels; such as ‘One-on-one: Ribal Al-Assad’ in the morning of 12th,  the two sessions in the beginning of 13th;
‘Mega-Diplomacy’ by Parag Khanna and a panel on 'War and Peace at Edgy Times'.  I learned a lot from these exciting sessions.

I was interviewed by Dr. Khanna (Ref.1) and his wife last year in Tokyo.  They are both journalists/researchers – quite an impressive couple.  His new book ‘How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance’  published early this year is causing a sensation.  Of course I purchased a copy at once.  It was a pleasant surprise to see him at St Gallen as I was corresponding with him via emails only a month ago, yet did not expect him to see him here.

The panel on ‘War and Peace’ was somewhat humorous since the panelists talked so much making the host to be at a loss.  Dr. Galtungs known for peace and conflict studies was especially outstanding here.  I think Norway is a great country in that it produces so many people such as Dr. Galtungs.  Considering its (small) population, Norway seems to have a high rate of producing such global leader personality as Drs Godal  of Global Health or Brundtland, who serve as the leaders of international arena by continuously working to address the difficult issues of the world.  In a way, it is like having 50-100 Ms Sadako Ogatas in one nation.  I wonder whether this has to do with their being home to the Nobel Peace Prize Conferring Institution, or they have a tradition of dedicating to such activities…
By the way, at a meeting like this, the way the participants speak, their expressions, their witty dialogues in particular, are something to learn from.  For example, Q&A session is a very good time for such learning.  Putting aside whether you speak as good as they, being present at such place at an early stage of life provides you a wonderful opportunity to think about your goals, or to realize that there are so many wonderful colleagues just about your age.  There are many opportunities outside, so I urge all of you youths to seize any opportunity, and go out to the broad world.

Browse through the various web sites of the St Gallen Symposium and enjoy the videos and photos.

Sadly, I had to say Sayonara to St Gallen in the morning of the 2nd day, to fly back to Japan.