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.