A Sunday in Sendai – to TEDxTohoku


Today is a beautiful autumn Sunday.  I left Tokyo for Sendai early in the morning to participate in TEDxTohoku. 

ImpactJapan has been supporting TEDxTokyo since three years ago, but it was a while since I met Patrick and Todd, the organizers, last time.  This particular event, TEDxTohoku, was initiated by the young people as actions to respond to the great disaster.  The venue of this event is the kawauchi Hagi Hall at the Tohoku University.  It is a very good hall.

By the way, quite surprisingly, I came across Mr Shinzo Abe, the former Prime Minister, in the Shinkansen bullet train. Mr Abe was on his way to the coast line of Iwate Prefecture to deliver a lecture.  I asked him “If it is all right with you, would you like to stop by at Sendai upon your return and give us a small talk?”, but of course, this sudden invitation did not suit his itinerary.  I wished he could come, though..

Each speaker told wonderful stories and these talks were broadcasted live on the Ustream.  I think you they will be posted on internet soon.  The speakers were actually quite good story tellers.  One of the presentations I particularly liked was the one by Ms Hideko Oikawa , the president of the Oikawa Denim (in Japanese)  of Kesennuma city, and the ordeal of her,three sons and the company  The story itself was very moving but the way it was told – in a simple stammering manner -  was another element that so much moved us. The last presentation was given by Mr Paul Bennett of IDEO, who came all the way from California.  It was a message to Japan in metaphor using four animals. Unfortunately, the powerpoint slides did not work smooth enough so it made the speech a bit distracting.

Sendai is indeed the city of forests.  I enjoyed the beautiful autumn daylight and refreshening air outside the hall.  I joined in the reception, and left the place earlier to go back to Tokyo.

I very much enjoyed spending the day with youths who are working together to make Tohoku, the disaster stricken area,  a drive force in bringing changes in Japan.


Two Keynote speeches at GOLD


The 4th GOLD Conference by Ms Hiroko Tatebe (Ref.1, 2)(Ref.2 is in Japanese) was held at Tokyo American Club, Tokyo.  This year’s theme was ‘Turning Strategies into Action through 3Cs, Creativity, Collaboration and Connection’.  Its program can be seen here

I was given an honor of delivering Opening Keynote speech with Mrs Susan Roos, wife of Ambassador John Roos of the USA, Closing Keynote of the day.  Mrs Roos was indeed kind enough to come to listen to my speech in the morning. 

Title of my speech was ‘Turn Crisis into Opportunity: Time to Shape and Create New Generation Diversity’ (see the text ). It was well received (in Japanese) and I left the venue and back to my GRIPS office. Of course, I was back to Mrs Roos’ Keynote speech ‘Women’s Leadership: From ‘I can’t’ to ‘I will’.’ It was well executed and I liked it very much.

The audience was 80% women, many non-Japanese, very passionate and attentive as may be expected of from the mission of GOLD. I heard many, many good comments of the entire gathering and I am very happy to learn many positive responses to my speech. The conference will be, I hope, On-line, sometime soon and will connect you then.

It was indeed a very good day.


Schedule – October 2011

Global Organization for Leadership and Diversity
「Turning Strategy into Action though 3Cs: Creativity, Collaboration and Connection」
Date : Friday, October 28, 2011
Time :  9:00-17:00    Program
         17:00-18:30   Networking Reception

Venue: Tokyo American Club
                2-1-2 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
連絡先: 4th GOLD Symposium Registration Office
                       FAX: +81-3-5562-3666
                       E-mail: 2011GOLDSymposium@goldleaders.org
      *On-line Register 
                  For further information, please contact Registration Office via E-mail

The United Nations University ? Higher Education and Sustainable Development in Africa


I assume that many of you readers have heard of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of UN.

It is an ambitious goal which the member nations of the UN promised to achieve by 2015.  However, the situation has changed drastically in these 10 years and now the world is shifting to a very different stage from the 2000’s, the time when the MDGs were planned by the UN.

Given this background, ”International Symposium on the Role of Higher Education for Sustainable Development in Africa” was held at the United Nations University in Aoyama, Tokyo, on October 13th and 14th.

I myself have been working on this theme with the world’s science community (ICSU, IAP, IAC, etc.) (in Japanese) personally and through various organizations such as the Science Council of Japan (in Japanese), the government of Japan, the United Nation’s University (in Japanese), and the World Bank.  Perhaps partly because they knew this, they invited me to give a Keynote lecture.  Unfortunately, I had to go to Abu Dhabi and Washington DC during those days as posted earlier, so with their permission, I decided to prepare a video message.

By coincidence, Dr Miriam Were, the laureate of the Hideyo Noguchi African Prize (Ref.1) was in Japan and planned to visit me on that same day of recording, so I asked her to join in the video.  It was a nice, unexpected, great “Surprise” to the audience of the UNU Symposium.  I thank Professor Masafumi Nagao, and staffs for their support in making this happen.

A report on this Symposium posted on the web site of the UNU (Ref.1) has commented on my video message, too.  I was very pleased and thankful to know this.

I plan to create a link to this video on my web site, so please look forward to viewing it.

Steve Jobs Special Issues and Biography


 Bloomberg Newsweek TIME

Two weeks have passed since the death of Mr Steve Jobs.  The most established weekly magazines in the United States, Newsweek, Times, and Bloomberg, published special commemorative issues – a proof that Mr Jobs was truly an outstanding character in the latter half history of the 20th century.

Newsweek and Bloomberg dedicated the whole issue to Steve Jobs exclusively, eliminating any other articles or even advertisements.  This is extraordinary. Apparently these special commemorative issues are the expression of their deep respect to the great genius, the Artist who completely transformed the ways of our society.

Mr Walter Isaacson, a friend of Jobs as early as since he was at the Times, writes his memories in the special issue of the Times, but will also publish a biography of “Steve Jobs” on October 24th.  This is definitely a book that I would like to read as soon as I purchase it, and I think you will also want to have it in your book collection.

I can’t think of anyone else other than Steve Jobs who has so changed our daily life, from children to the grown ups, in the ways how we see, touch, enjoy.  Our hearts were filled with happiness, excitement, sense of being entertained.. by Steve.  He practically stole our hearts!

By the way here is a good video which I recommend for you to quickly watch and reflect on Steve Jobs’s life and person as a whole.


A Speech at the Board Meeting of Project Hope, Washington DC


After leaving Abu Dhabi, I came to Washington DC to give speech and express our appreciation to the board meeting of Project Hope, for their support and cooperation in the restructuring of Tohoku.

It was early in the morning when I arrived at Dulles airport, Washington DC, from Dubai. I checked in to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, prepared  myself quickly to join with Dr. Noritake of HGPI and Dr. Fred Garber of Project Hope (Ref.1) to visit Ambassador Fujisaki at the Embassy of Japan.  Collaboration with  Project Hope and our Impact Japan  - HGPE all started with one phone call from Ambassador Fujisaki at Washington DC to my blackberry, shortly after the “3.11” Tohoku disaster, suggesting that we work together.  

After seeing Ambassador Fujisaki, we went to the National Academy of Sciences, then to Global Knowledge Initiative, an organization which I am part of, located in the AAAS building of the National Academy of Sciences.  

Project Hope holds board meeting four times each year, and invites guest speakers to two of those meetings. I asked “What sort of people are invited for speech?”, since I knew that Project Hope was a global scale disaster relief health care team – one of the largest in the world. But when they said it was “James Jones  recently” , to be honest, I panicked a bit.  Mr Jones was the National Security Advisor to President Obama.  Condoleezza Rice came to speak, too, they said.

There were about 40 people in the room.  After having cocktails, we were seated at tables and enjoyed conversation until it was time for dessert,  when Dr John Howe introduced me as the guest speaker.  I talked for about 20 minutes on topics such as the Tohoku great disaster, activities with Project Hope and Ambassador Fujisaki, Operation Tomodachi, future plans, perspectives of Japan-US relationship, and so on.  By the way, this year is the 70th year from the “Pearl Harbor” in December, and is also the 100th anniversary of the planting of the famous cherry  trees in Washington DC. 

After the speech I received many questions and we were able to enjoy dialogues actively.  Mr Dr Gerber later told me that “It was a good speech.  We don’t usually have so many questions raised from the audience after speech at this board meeting…. I am so glad that you came….”

At about the same time of the day, a reception for the President of Korea, Mr Lee Mhung-Bak, who was visiting the United States then, was being held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel banquet room.  I saw many Korean people at the lobby gathering from early evening, their faces gleaming with happiness and pride, making long lines in excitement.  How wonderful.

I understand that President Obama welcomed President Lee with special treatment of State Visit (Ref.1). I envy this energy of Korea admitting that Korea has many of its own problems.

In contrast, Japan, the neighbor of Korea, has had six different Prime Ministers in 5 years.  It is hard for us to see what the government is up to, and I suspect it is even harder for the government to make any big decisions….  Our Lost Decade continued for more than 20 years now, long ahead of EU or US in this sense.

Just a week before, US Japan Council was held at Washington DC. The Keynote Remarks was delivered by the Secretary of State, Ms Hillary Clinton, with many political leaders present, including Daniel Inouye, senior United States senator….  I wonder how the event went.

I started the next day early in the morning discussing our collaborative project with CSIS, the meeting we plan to organize in Fukushima in November and other issues to take care of.  After finishing these tasks, I headed to the airport.

This was a trip around the world – departing Narita on the evening of 8th (sat), staying one night each at luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi and Washington DC, spending 3 nights in airplane, arriving Narita on 13th (thur).

I slept well in the plane.


To Abu Dhabi for GAC, then to Washington DC


In the evening of 10th, I departed Narita for Abu Dhabi on a direct flight by Etihad.  The objective of trip is to attend the Global Agenda Council organized by the World Economic Forum.  The conference, for your information, was held in Dubai annually for the past three years. I saw many of my Japanese friends also boarded on this flight to Abu Dhabi for this meeting.

After arriving at Abu Dhabi early in the morning I checked in to the YAS Hotel, the venue, which is also the scheduled venue for the Formula One Car Race (Ref.1, 2) in November.  The Car Race was being held at Suzuka, Japan from October 7 to 9, too.  Anyway, I was amazed to see the strikingly gorgeous facilities of this Hotel.

I attended the full two days of the conference at the building standing next to the Hotel.  I understand that this place is going to be used for the Formula 1 also.  As for the meeting, I was in the session of the “Japan Council” for the whole day as the sub-Chair. Thanks to the nice support of Mr. Takashi Mitachi of the Boston Consulting Group  and many others, we managed to facilitate good discussions.  The problem was that there was not much information available from Japan after the “3.11” Disaster (not to mention that six Prime ministers changed within these five years….)  thus offering issues for discussion was not easy, and we had to think hard in order to share views with each other.  However, I am thankful that we had nice constructive discussions with many people.

The reception was at the Royal Tower of the Race Track.  It had a nice view over the straight course of the car race.  Many political leaders including the Prime Minster of UAE were present, too.

After attending the full schedule of the 2nd day, I took a car to Dubai, and boarded on a midnight flight to Washington DC.

It was a very full, busy two days.


From Paris to Kyoto ? Attending the STS Forum


After enjoying Paris for two days in the beautiful autumn weather, I returned to Japan at Kansai airport in the morning of Monday, October 2nd, to head for Kyoto where STS Forum (Ref.1) will be held for three days.    I have been participating this Forum since the 1st meeting, and therefore have enjoyed the expansion of networks with wonderful people of the world.  I am now acquainted with a number of extraordinary people.

This year’s Forum had special sessions in the beginning dealing with energy policies, nuclear power and such because of the Fukushima disaster.  I was seated next to Mr. Amano, Director General of the IAEA, at dinner, so had the privilege of talking with him in person on many topics.

Many sessions were held simultaneously, so I chose to participate mainly in sessions on education.  I also participated as one of the panelists in the session on the change in human behavior (in energy consumption, obesity, etc.) chaired by Philip Campbell, Editor-in-chief of “Nature".

On 4th, I returned to Tokyo to have dinner with several political leaders.  In the next morning, I had a breakfast meeting with people related to the American Hospital in Paris, and hosted in the entire afternoon a panel organized by JETRO.  Here, the panelists consisted of six people who participated in the STS Forum; Ellis Rubinstein (YNAS、President)、Mohammad Hassan (TWAS,Treasurer), Risalia Arteaga (former President of Equador, female)、Dr Annette Lraegelou (Leibniz Institute of New Materials, female), Ananda Chakrabarty (Univ Illinois), and Sanwen Huang (Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences).  Joined to the conference include quite a number of people from METI, NEDO, and JETRO.  We all participated in a good exciting discussion.

I always enjoy discussions with friends from all parts of the world.  I learn a lot from them, too.


Steve Jobs Passed Away, Sadness Spreads, My Message to Young Generation


People all over the world love Apple.  Today, Steve Jobs – the very person who created Apple, put it back on its feet, and made the company the most valuable enterprise in the United States within a matter of several years – died.

“Death” is inevitable to everyone, as Jobs has stated in his historical speech at Stanford University.  However, his death was mourned by the whole world (Ref.1,2,3), and this is extraordinary.
Steve Jobs(50)

Dear youths, the whole world is open to your future.  You do not have to worry about the common sense/standard of the Japanese society.  It is good to be different from others.

I assure each one of you young people that there are something worthy to devote yourself to.  It is in your inner self, although you may not have discovered it, or have not noticed it yet.  Or maybe you can not find it if you keep on living the daily life only in Japan, because, in the horizon of this globalizing world, there exist so many different societies.

Youth does not last forever nor is it repeatable.  I urge you to go out to the world.  For what?  For study or anything your instinct may tell you!  Just get out of your place, go out to different parts of the world for a couple of weeks, couple of months, several months, or even several years.  Breathe in the different air, live, and know many people in the world.  Then, you have a good chance of finding your path.  Someday in the future, you will see those “Many Dots” of direct experiences connect.  This, I can assure you.

Listen every now and then to that historically famous 14 minutes speech by Steve Jobs at Stanford University.  I do, too, occasionally.  It is truly a good speech.  Very moving. But now, we listen to it with tears.

Steve Jobs was a wonderful, extraordinary person.  He totally changed our life and the life of our children in a matter of less than a decade.

See how even a child of only two or three years old touch television, trying to move the images on the screen!