Schedule – March 2013

Moving Forward: Life after the Great East Japan Earthquake
-Global Agenda in Post Fukushima & Reconstruction Efforts of Japanese Architects
“Global Agenda in Post Fukushima”
Date & Time: Friday, March 22, 2013, 14:30-15:30
Venue: Royce Hall 306, UCLA


“Reflect, Renew and Reinvent: Driving Innovation through Inclusion”
Date & Time: Friday, March 22, 2013, 8:30-18:00
(16:15-16:45 Closing General Session)
Venue: InterContinental Hotel, Los Angeles, CA
2151 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, California 90067
Contact: E-mail:
For details

Schedule – February 2013

Invitation to Risk Management Seminar
 "International Conference  Crisis Management in the 21st Century: Beyond the Fukushima Tragedy"
Date & Time: Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 13:30-17:20
Venue: Sokairo Hall, 1st Floor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
Contact: E-mail:


"Growth, Innovation And Competitiveness: Maximising The Benefits Of Knowledge-Based Capital"
Date & Time: Wednesday, February 13, 2013,  10:00-11:15
      *Panel Discussion:"What Should Governments Do-Where are the Low-Hanging Fruits?"
Venue: OECD Conference Centre


My seminar at Stanford University
"Uncertain Times Ahead: Changing Principles for Scientists to Address Global Agendas"
Date & Time: Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 12:00-13:15
Venue: Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, Stanford University
            616 Serra St., 3rd floor  Stanford University  Stanford, CA 94305
Register Online
For details

Davos -1


First Day (January 23): As I was coming down with a cold last week, I was planning on being absent from this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos like I had last year (I was busy with the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC)). However, it was decided that I would be a panelist on Saturday, and although I had been hesitating for these past two or three days, I decided to also serve on a panel Thursday morning. Booking a flight was the issue but I was lucky enough to find an opening on the Swiss Air direct from Narita to Zurich, on Wednesday morning and departed.

I arrived at Zurich Airport and met with Davos regulars such as Dr. Sadako Ogata and other people going to the forum. I arrived in Davos around six in the evening, went through the registration and to the hotel. I met with a few friends but mostly slept afterwards.

Second Day (January 24): I went to the forum from the morning. There are many to chose from, but I attended “Fostering Entrepreneurial Innovation” from nine. I wanted to study up on the subject and also wanted to see Clayton Christensen. These past three years, he has suffered from three major illnesses and but he looked well and had no trouble speaking. Afterwards, we talked about his illness and his book “How will you measure your life” (the Japanese translation is a bit strange- “Innovation of life”), which is an incredible read and which I recommend to young people. We discussed that he would like me to visit him, even if it’s just briefly, when I travel to Boston in February.

After that, I went to “Catastrophic Risks in the 21st Century”, of which I was a panelist. One of the panelists was Judith Rodin, who is the first woman to be the president of Ivy League university. I had wished to meet her for some time, and since Judith and I found several key mutual friends from when I was at the University of Pennsylvania, our conversation flowed even before the panel discussion started. I handed all of the panelists the English Executive Summary of the NAIIC report. I was not able to attend thewell-acclaimed speech by Prime Minister David Cameron then in the main auditorium, but I’m sure I will eventually see it online.

In the afternoon, I attended “Is Democracy Winning?” which was moderated by Nik Gawing and held in partnership with the BBC. It was a difficult topic but the four panelists <>, the questions from the audience and comments by scheduled audience were outstanding. I felt that it would be very hard to have such a discussion in Japan.

Tonight was the annual “Japan Night” and many people came. I left shortly after it started in order to attend the South Korea and Indonesia receptions. After meeting many people at the receptions, I returned to Japan Night and found that although the number of Japanese had decreased, the place was lively and still packed with many friends of Japan. Compared to the Korea and Indonesia receptions, the crowd was over twice as big and they were perhaps all about food and drink, though the other receptions also had entertainment. However, it can be problematic that some people see this and decide that Japan is just a“soft power.”

Please visit the Davos website <> to see more.


University Reforms are Urgent, the Nikkei Series


University reforms are proceeding at a snail’s pace. Regarding the autumn graduation at the University of Tokyo, steps are being taken forward and the media is paying much attention to it, but the media has called it a mere receiving tray for society, focusing more on the details and reasons why it cannot be done.

The top universities of today will lose relevance if they do not make both their education and research open to diversity and the global.

Lately, the morning edition of the Nikkei has been running a series on university reforms as well as a corresponding online series.

I have been interviewed for this series and it can be summarized in the key phrase “the O-sumo-nization of universities”(1) (in Japanese, you can access many other articles from the Nikkei series from here), which I have been advocating from the time of Prime Minister Koizumi. If you search “university reform” and “O-sumo-nization” on this website, you will find many articles.

As usual, this is an “intellectually closed country” (1, 2).

The Japanese public must be truly concerned about university education in Japan. However, they judge people based on their universities, rather than evaluating the students themselves. They were both irresponsible. After all, it is because both were contained within the framework of the past.

A country’s core is the development of the people. What kind of people will the leaders of each field foster, and what direction do they want to take Japan in this world where the future is unforeseeable?

We cannot lay the blame on the young people. For “children are mirrors of society.”

It is the students’ choice what they want to do, including taking a leave of absence from university (1) and taking a gap year.


MIT Media Lab in Tokyo 2013


I wrote about it last year as well, but MIT Media Lab in Tokyo was held for two days this year in January again. Towards the end of the first day, I was one of the three panel members along with Media Lab’s director Mr. Joi Ito and SONY’s former chairman, Mr. Idei.

On the list of 14 speakers stood out Director Ito, Co-Director Ishii (the fact that there were no women was bit of a problem-a big issue that has to be reflected on) and also coincidentally, Mr. Idei and other SONY-affiliated people (Kenichiro Mogi, Hiroaki Kitano, Ken Endo, Shunichi Kasahara). 6 were from MIT Media Lab and IDEO joined from overseas.

On the second day, at the “Unconference” there were various parallel sessions. Ingenuity was exercised here and there.

The two days have been pretty fun. I’m guessing a lot of the participants were inspired by each other.


Mr. Norman Mineta, Internationally Oriented Human Resources at AGOS


On the morning of January 14, it started snowing.

I had lunch with one of the leaders of the Japanese American community, Mr. Norman Mineta, who was visiting Japan. Mr. Mineta has served as the mayor of San Jose, Congressman, and Secretary of Transportation under both the Bush and Clinton Administrations. We also met last October at Capitol Hill in Washington DC. We discussed many topics, beginning with the recent loss of Senator Daniel Inouye

I had the chance to dine with the late Senator Inouye and his wife, Irene Hirano, when I visited Washington DC last May, for the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC). We lost a very important individual for Japan-US relations.

After having lunch with Mr. Mineta, I was on my way to meet the young people of AGOS (in Japanese), the program that supports studying abroad that I introduced the other day. However, there was a terrible snowstorm and since it was difficult getting a taxi, I arrived thirty minutes late. As a result of the snow, there must have been many people who could not make it.

Mr. Taichi Yamauchi (in Japanese), who is well known for his reports on examining efforts/changes by many universities of Japan and abroad, also came to the session.

Taking the perspective that you can understand yourself better by going out into the world, we had a dialogue style session (in Japanese) on many topics, including “recommendation of taking a leave of absence from school,” “recommendation of studying abroad,” “a global world,” and “widening networks.” Mr. Yokoyama of AGOS was the moderator and everyone seemed to be pleased with the discussion.

I wish from the bottom of my heart that young people will experience and gain a feeling for the world, find themselves, cultivate the sensitivity to see themselves through the eyes of “you,” and with the unique strength of being Japanese, that each individual will find his or her own career.

The global world is wide open and presents an enormous opportunity for finding your unique self.


My Thoughts in the Japan Times and the University of Tokyo School of Medicine Alumni Newsletter, “The Iron Gate Newsletter”


Even in the New Year, I have had many interviews regarding the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC). Abroad, not only has the report been well received, but also elements of the process, including public disclosure, transparency, high awareness of the global audience, and efforts to communicate in layman’s English have been evaluated highly.

This may also include feelings of hope for Japan to change, the Abe Cabinet, and the significance of NAIIC.

In February, I will be traveling to many places for NAIIC related panels, awards, and speeches: San Fransisco- Stanford University, Paris (OECD) - Boston (AAAS), Rio de Janeiro (InterAcademy Panel). I will be very busy, but I think of it as being good publicity for Japan.

Recently there has been an article in the Japan Times, “What Japan Needs to Do”, which features interviews with five people including myself, as well as the article, “Making Democracy Truly Work” (in Japanese) in the University of Tokyo School of Medicine Alumni Newsletter, “The Iron Gate Newsletter.”

In this way, the word is getting out.


Awarded the Tokyo American Club: Distinguished Achievement Award


Last December I was notified that I would be receiving the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Tokyo American Club (TAC). I was interviewed by the TAC’s monthly magazine, “iNTOUCH,” for their article introducing me.

I have visited and given talks at the TAC a number of times and was happy to receive the award.

The January issue of “iNTOUCH” is out now. If you have visited TAC, you will have seen many copies of “iNTOUCH” with my picture on the cover and the article with the title “The Protruding Nail.” (PDF)

The interview (PDF) tells my story, highlighting the impact that the first words of my professor in the United States had on me, and covering my subsequent career and lifestyle, my work after returning to Japan, and the recent Fukushima nuclear accident. I would be happy if you read it.

It is true that I have quite an unusual career. Some old pictures of fond memories are included in the article.


Attending Fukuzawa Yukichi Memorial School of Civilization


During the Meiji period at the turning point for a new era in Japan, Fukuzawa Yukichi was perhaps one of the greatest visionary leaders. Especially, the spirit of “Personal independence without relying on the government” and his way of life were extraordinary considering the situation at the time, and I believe this was Fukuzawa Yukichi I admire at his best.

This spirit of Fukuzawa Yukichi is even today one of the universally accepted social values. What is remarkable about Fukuzawa Yukichi is that he practiced this ideology. In other words, it wasn’t just lip service. He started up institutions such as Keio University (human resource development), Kojunsha (business community interaction), Jiji Shinpo (media), Gakushiin (scientists). Furthermore, he wrote a lot of deep, insightful, visionary novels starting from “An Encouragement of Learning” (Gakumon-no-susume) and “An Outline of a Theory of Civilization” (Bunmei-Ron-no-Gairyaku). He was truly a superman.

Maybe for these reasons, I have several personal ties with Keio University. If you search “Keio University” or “Fukuzawa Yukichi” on my website, a number of postings on Fukuzawa Yukichi should come up.

In 2010 and 2011 during the autumn semester, I taught a class on the Keio’s Shonan Campus. In 2010, I also spoke about a topic on “Global agenda and Japan’s risk management.”

Several years ago, a leadership development program called Fukuzawa Bunmei Juku was launched. There are a lot of great lecturers lined up. I took part in it about four years ago, and also last year in the final session of the 8th period.

Together with the aim of making young people find their career on their own, I strongly agree with the idea of putting emphasis on the spirit of Fukuzawa Yukichi even today, or rather, because the time is now.

I got to meet a lot of spirited young people.

The “N Program”: Physicians of the Global Age


As the year started, there was a gathering of physicians who have undergone clinical training in the United States, hold U.S. licenses and board-certified in internal medicine and who have even undergone further sub-specialty training. These physicians underwent three years of clinical training in US through the “N Program” (mostly consisting of internal medicine but also including pediatric medicine) established by Dr. Nishimoto with the support of Tokyo Marine Nichido Fire and hosted primarily in the Beth Israel Hospital in New York City (NYC). Many continue onto further special training, eg, infectious diseases, cardiology, hemotology and oncology, and kidney disease, among others.

Pictures are uploaded on Facebook <>

Many people have returned to work in Japan, but some have stayed in the U.S. Dr. Kuwama, my junior who I introduced the other day, is one of such people. He has established his own clinic in NYC and has contributed greatly to the teaching of students and physicians in training as a clinical professor. There must have been many Japanese in NYC whom Dr. Kuwama helped.

In the New Year, there was a gathering of medical doctors who have built their careers in such a way. Since the beginning of this “N Program,” I have tried to support Dr. Nishimoto in my own capacity and there has been some 150 medical doctors trained through this program. There were a number of students who I have taught, and meeting them for the first time in a while felt nostalgic. Furthermore, it was possible to see that each person is becoming a good influence and a wonderful role model for others. I believe this is a group of physicians who will be trusted wherever they go in the world.

Underlying this is the American tradition of clinical training, which is built on the continuation of interaction and competition with people of diverse medical schools and universities, and is always open and adjusting previous generations’ training to change with the times and to develop good physicians. This tradition is ingrained into the doctors who are involved with teaching. There is something special about this kind of education, which only people who have received quality education/training would understand.

The foundation of this is high quality training that lies only with people who have gone through themselves in quality education/training, and which you intuitively “give back” to your juniors and students. These are the “good tradition” or 'virtuous cycle' that forms the foundation of education.

In a global world, good traditions can be passed on through this kind of a continuation of open interactive and competitive training. During the three years of this program, I believe that the seniors pass on their shared “good traditions” to their juniors and students. In this way, “N Program graduates” are the “global standard” (in Japanese) and are physicians who have qualities which are universal and applicable anywhere in the world.

This is the state of the world today.