The problem of “Drug Lag” in Japan – that approval of pharmaceutical products take longer time and thus is behind western countries – had been being pointed out by many since quite a while ago.
One of the endeavors to address this issue is “ICH -International Conference of Harmonization”, a conference launched about 20 years ago by Japan, USA, and EU. It continues its activities to date, and I had been a part of it. Last year, we held a joint conference (Ref.1) of Japan, Korea, UK, and USA to discuss the issue of “Cancer Clinical Trials”
Growing countries such as China and Korea have already introduced the system into their country, and it was to discuss mainly on this theme that I went to Seoul from 14th (Mon) as an overall moderator of the one and a half day conference by the invitation of a pharmaceutical company.
Upon my arrival, I went right away to see Mr. Richard Samans at the “Global Green Growth Institute” , an organization founded by current President, Mr. Lee Myung-bak with Mr. Han Seung-Soo (Ref.1), the first Prime Minister of the Lee administration, as the Head of the Board. Mr. Samans and I are friends from the time he was working for the World Economic Forum.
On the following day, I led the one and a half day conference to discuss from various aspects the pharmaceutical evaluation/assessment issues with special focus on the evaluation system in Japan, Korea and China.
After dinner at the hotel, I decided to stroll a bit at the “Myondon” street, a shopping area. Here I saw many young people, and felt a good energy. I saw the new shop which UniQlo, a Japanese casual clothing shop, just opened as its flagship shop close to ZARA and H&M. It was a good feeling to see this energetic Japanese enterprise performing actively at this busy area.
Another good feeling was that after the one and a half day conference, we became acquainted with each other, and I could sense that many new exchanges were about to begin.
It was about a two hours’ flight from the Gimpo airport to Haneda Airport. From Haneda, I went directly to Swiss Embassy. A reception for “Global Shapers Community” (Ref.1) was being held. I always enjoy seeing young people working actively in various fields. Being with them also gives me energy. After the reception, I spent about an hour with a reporter from “The Economist”, partly to be interviewed, and then went back to my home at around 11pm.
It was a long but a very fulfilling day.