Drs Iiyoshi and Ishikura of the Open Education


The weather was beautiful on May 31st, and from 8am, I gave a speech to a group of young legislators of Democratic Party and Liberal Democratic Party focusing on the 3.11 disaster under the title “What’s Now, a Step to Take” (Ref.1). The meeting was held at a conference room of the Office building of the House of Representatives (Syugiin Kaikan).  We had a good discussion, but on the other hand, since there was an imminemt issue of non-confidence motion of Prime Minister Kan, I felt uneasiness in the air.

I am deeply concerned about the state of our nation and wish to do whatever I can.
From 10 am, I ran a meeting at Ministry of Health, and I arrived late at a meeting over lunch with Drs Yoko Ishikuara (photo is here also) and Toru Iiyoshi (Ref.1) on the role of Open Education in Japan and the trend of education in the world.  Our table was outdoors, faced a cozy garden, with bright sunshine, so we very much enjoyed passing of the time.  I felt urge to start a new project, a new move.  I hear that Dr Ishikura is starting her new work aggressively at Keio University.

Then, I went on to join in a board meeting of an educational institution which I am part of.  The relations between education reform and conventional power is difficult anywhere.

In the evening, after a brief stop at my home, I headed to Haneda to take a flight to Paris that will take off shortly after midnight.  By coincidence, Mr. Tsuchiya, who takes charge of Japan program at the Davos meeting, was on the same flight.  We are both visiting the headquarter of the World Economic Forum in Geneva.

It was a busy day, but with the help of the nice lunch time with Ishikura-san and Iiyoshi-san, I managed to take off in a good spirit, boarding on the night flight to Paris departing at 0:35 am, June 1st.


AIESEC Convention


I have reported to you on AIESEC for a number of times in my web site.

The day after I returned from St Gallen, I participated in the convention of AIESEC (Ref.1)(Ref.2 in Japanese).  I was inivited to give a keynote speech.  Thank you for inviting me.

For the details of the convention please check the AIESEC web site.

I would like all of you to know that you are all great and I enjoyed very much the enthusiasm in the air.

About 200 students and several OBs/OGs gathered. I enjoyed the whole afternoon having conversations with them.

The highlights of this event were the presentations by the 3 students from overseas who were engaged in internships in Japan, and 3 Japanese students who experienced 2 months’ activities at overseas.  They were selected from a large number of candidates.
The Japanese students had their internships at India, Brazil, and Philippines.  First, they started with Japanese common sense in their minds, but soon encountered many setbacks due to misunderstandings, went through difficult times in trying to find ways around, had to think hard to get out of the troubles, fight and go over the troubles.  They also met wonderful people… Each student had their own, very moving “monogatari (stories)” to tell.  I was very moved to see how much a person can grow in such a short period of time.  Such experience will definitely broaden their perspectives, and strongly impact the way they choose their future careers and over come challenges they will face.
The same goes with the 3 international interns, too.  I heard many truly moving “stories” about the difficulties Japanese host students or enterprises (smaller ones) had in arranging the interns’ visit to Japan, or how many wonderful changes took place in both visiting students and receiving companies

Some report about this event on blogs such as this one.  (in Japanese)

By the way, the best award went to Mr. Ryo Takahashi, a student in my class at Keio SFC.  He talked about his story in India.

At the reception  “Ichinokura”, a leading Sake brewery in Sendai, which won the top award for a company which accepted a student from China, the company winner, offered its brand barrel of Sake liquor to remind us the great disaster of Tohoku and we all enjoyed the wonderful Sake.

By seeing such wonderful youths, I felt from the bottom of my heart that Japanese students are treasures to offer and connect Japan to the world, and likewise, international students are important treasures to Japan.

I recommend all Japanese enterprises to host more student interns from overseas.  You will never know how much their wonderful experiences in Japan will contribute to the PR and business of your company in this global world.

On the other hand, professors at universities will easily recognize that AIESEC is wonderful educational opportunities if they just see how much the Japanese students will learn and mature through such internship activities.  Japanese companies should not hesitate to give more support to such programs.

For the Japanese society as a whole, one of the most important things to do for the future of Japan is to aggressively participate and promote such activities and support the youths.