My Award Celebration and Professor Yoshikawa’s Speech


Last year, for my role as the Chairman of the first independent investigation commission in the constitutional history of Japan, the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC), I received two awards: I received the Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award from the American Association of Advancement of Science (AAAS) and was named one of the “100 Top Global Thinkers 2012” by Foreign Policy.

The former President of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Mr. Seizo Miyata, who also gave NAIIC much important advice, was the leader in planning the celebration. I also gave a lecture on NAIIC. It was a very fun celebration planned by friends mainly from the science world.

I was very happy that NAIIC was evaluated highly internationally. It was possible to carry out this work in the short span of six months because of the many talented people, at the center of which was the NAIIC team.

The celebration started with an opening speech by the former President of the University of Tokyo and former President of the Science Council of Japan, Professor Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, for whom I have the highest respect. After entering the twenty-first century, at a time when the Science Council of Japan and the international academic scientific world were going through major transformations, Professor Yoshikawa held positions of responsibility in both and faced many obstacles. In the Science Council of Japan, I served as the Vice President under President Yoshikawa, and later succeeded him as President. Thus, I have had the privilege of working with him for many years and was under the impression that he knew me well.

Professor Yoshikawa began his speech saying that he was happy to congratulate me for three main reasons, which consisted of his analysis and observations of my character and actions. I was very surprised and moved by his speech, as I am sure many people in the audience were. Professor Yoshikawa’s three reasons are summarized quite accurately in
Mr. Deguchi’s mail magazine(THIS IS LINKED TO MY ATTACHMENTS, WHICH IS THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF DR YOSHIKAWA'S SPEECH). Please take a look, you will also find many pictures of the celebration.

Ms. Yoko Ishikura also was kind enough to write about the celebration in her blog.

Ambassadors from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Norway, Switzerland, and Ambassador Fujisaki, Japanese Ambassador to the U.S., attended and gave their greetings. Minister Nemoto and other members of the Diet also gave their greetings. Dom Perignon and KENZO wine was served and it was a very fun celebration.

I felt the kindness and warm feelings of many people and would like to express my gratitude.


San Francisco


On the morning of April 12, I gave a speech at the University of Tokyo Entrance Ceremony, met and talked with President Hamada and others, then headed to Narita Airport. The American College of Physicians (ACP) annual general conference was to be held in San Francisco, and I was to give speeches at the sessions, 'Meet the Professor' with a theme 'Why Fukushima Happened: What You Can Do from Tomorrow,' an hour long.

I attended the annual conference in 2011 but could not attend the one in 2012 because of my activities at the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission.

I arrived in San Francisco on the 12th, rested a while at the hotel and then went to the Moscone Center where the conference was held. This is my third time in California this year. The sky was a bright, clear blue and the weather was as beautiful as ever.

At my session, there were around 150 people in attendance, more than I had expected, with a lively question and answer session afterwards. Everyone had their own opinions and very high awareness. Mona Khanna, who I met at the annual convention in 2011, also participated. She has visited the Tohoku region last year and must have been concerned about the areas affected by the disaster.

In the evening, there was the Japan Chapter reception. Governor Kobayashi and many Fellows and members, as well as ACP board directors and chairmen attended, and it was a very friendly gathering. I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Maeda to host this reception.

The next day was the last day of the convention and I dined with six people at Scala’s Bistro near Union Square. It was six o’clock on a Saturday evening and the Bistro was already fully packed.

Some will travel to Napa tomorrow. I will return to Narita on Sunday morning of the ACP.


From New Delhi


Three days after returning from Rio de Janeiro, March 3, I departed for New Delhi for 2 day meetings. It had been a while since my last visit, and the airport was nicer and the city seemed to have changed. However, there have not been changes as major as the transformations taking place in China.

The main purpose of my trip was to give a speech at the “India-Japan Cooperation on Disaster Preparedness and People’s Network” conference, and to visit for meetings with the officials of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and its sub organization, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). My friend Dr. Sunil Chacko (1) organized the events.

The Indian government is enthusiastic about cooperating with Japan and since India uses nuclear power, there are many lessons to be learned from the Fukushima nuclear accident- thus they were kind enough to invite me. Professor Naruo Uehara, who was at Tohoku University and has been actively working on the recent disaster (we met twelve or thirteen years ago regarding a medical accident issues) also attended.

During the trip, I met with many high government officials. Japanese Vice Minister to India, Mr. Tsukada of the Foreign Ministry, who fully supported me at the time of the first Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize (1, 2) five years ago, spent much time on the conferences which was highly appreciated by the organizers.

The Indian government’s NDMA is an organization separate from the fire department, police, and military, and is composed of 11,000 people deployed in ten locations. After the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, under the leadership of Commandant Alok Avasthy, a team of about fifty were dispatched to the town of Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture, and were active in the first stages of disaster relief. We expressed our feelings of gratitude and greeted each member of the team, and gave my powerpoint presentation to Commandant Avasthy.

Interaction and communication that takes place outside of government is also one of the foundations of diplomacy. Activities not only between nations, but also on the everyday level are vital for developing good relations.


Congratulatory Address at University of Tokyo Entrance Ceremony


The entrance ceremony at the University of Tokyo will be held on April 12.

I remember when we entered university, the season of the cherry blossoms was in full swing.

In Japan, the university entrance ceremony is the most important first step in students’ lives. Many of their family members also attend the ceremony.

At this year’s ceremony, I will be giving the congratulatory address. When I was asked, I was initially a bit surprised. Perhaps if you read my past column entries, you will understand why I was perplexed. But I was genuinely pleased, and it seems the times are changing.

The ceremony will take place at the Budokan arena. After the President of the University of Tokyo, Mr. Hamada, and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Ishii, I will give my address.

To the new students, I would like to take these ten minutes to express my thoughts and feelings.

This is the link to my speech.

University of Tokyo 2013 Entrance Ceremony Speech

A video link will also be coming soon.


Los Angeles, UCLA and Reunion with Paul Terasaki


After travelling approximately 24 hours from Abu Dhabi via London, I arrived in Los Angeles at 3 P.M. on March 20. I went directly to the hotel, rested a while, had a look around and had dinner.

The next day, I met with some exchange students studying at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs at the hotel. Afterwards, I went to UCLA to have a meeting with Vice-Provost for International Studies Cindy Fan and others for various appointments. In the evening, I attended the GOLD reception, which I also attended last year in Tokyo.

On the 22nd, I had a meeting with UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, and gave a lecture titled ‘Global Agenda in Post Fukushima’ in a small hall in the Royce Hall. The hall was filled up to its maximum of around 120 people. One of my mentors during my time in the U.S., Professor Charles Kleeman (in Japanese) was kind enough to come to the lecture with his wife.

Afterwards, I returned to the GOLD Conference to give my speech. On this day, Mr. Nakamura, the founder of Kopernik, gave the Opening Keynote speech, and I gave the Closing Keynote speech, similar to the format last year. Last year Mrs. Susan Roos, wife of Ambassador Roos of the U.S. was a great partner and gave the Closing Keynote speech.

In the evening, I dined with UCLA Chancellor Block and others at Scarpetta, a restaurant in the Montage Hotel, one of the premier hotels in Beverly Hills. Also attending were Ms. Irene Hirano, wife of former U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye who passed away recently, UN Ambassador Nishida, President Sakurai of the Japan Society, and Mr. Ralph Shapiro, who are all supporters of the UCLA Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies. I am also one of the members, but was absent from the twentieth anniversary event last year because I was in the middle of my duties for the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC).

The next day was also a conference at the Montage Hotel. Afterwards, there was a reception in the top floor penthouse of Professor Paul Terasaki. Dr. Terasaki has made enormous contributions in the fields of human organ transplant histocompatibility and transplant outcomes. As I am a nephrologist, I have treated patients who have received organ transplants, and he was one of my friends during my time at UCLA. After achieving great success through the histocompatibility research, he gave a generous donation to UCLA, established the Japan Study Research Center, and is living a good retirement life. It is enviable.

As always, the sky was a bright, clear blue, and it felt nostalgic to be back in Los Angeles. I visited the Getty Museum and prepared for my trip home the next day.

It was a busy but relaxing four days.


NAIIC National Diet Hearing: A New Step Forward?


The National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) is the first independent investigation commission appointed by the National Diet in the history of Japan’s constitutional government. It had a mandate for six months, during which we faced an uphill battle.

Now, following our first recommendation, a special committee has been established by the Lower House, and the NAIIC Commission members were called to the committee hearing on April 8 from 9:30 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Of the ten Commissioners, nine attended, with the exception of Mr. Oshima.

In late September 2011, six months after the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, the Diet passed the Act Regarding Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, and on December 8, nine months after the accident, the Diet officially announced the appointment of the ten of us as Commissioners (in Japanese).

On July 5, 2012, the Commission submitted the final report to the Diet. Nine months have passed since then and we have finally been called to a hearing.

In this day and age, the hearing session can be viewed online (in Japanese). The transcript is also available (in Japanese).

The first time for anything takes a while to get going. The NAIIC Commission members worked incredibly hard and made tremendous efforts. It was the first time for me to work on such a project and was quite exhausting.

How will this hearing be evaluated by the public? How will this develop in the future?

Two additional press coverages appeared.


From Abu Dhabi – 2


On the second day of the trip to Abu Dhabi, we visited the Department of Economic Development. We were received by Chairman Alsowaidi, who warmly welcomed the cooperation of business, government and academia. In particular, he was glad about my coincidental encounter with the Sakura Club at the Al Ain campus of United Arab Emirates University on the previous day. This meeting was possible thanks to the initiative taken by the Research Center for the Advanced Science and Technology of University of Tokyo, and the discussion proceeded to the topic of cooperation in research and development. Such meetings are fundamentally important for relations between countries.

The Abu Dhabi side gave a presentation called “Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.” For the Japanese side, Professor Kudo of Showa Medical University (gastroenterological) gave a presentation showing a video of theremoval of a polyp from a large intestine using an endoscope. There were also presentations by various companies and an introduction of the Research Center for the Advanced Science and Technology of University of Tokyo.

I had another appointment and had to excuse myself for an hour, but our visit was reported in the local newspaper. I am sorry to say that I found the article had mentioned my title incorrectly.

As you may know, nuclear power plants are currently being constructed in Abu Dhabi and there are efforts to deepen relations with Japan and to learn from the recent accident.

Our meeting ended smoothly and we headed towards our next stop, Zayed University. This also has an astounding campus as well as state of the art facilities. Here too, there is a Japanese “fan club” sort of organization.

In the evening, out of the courtesy of Ambassador Kamo, I had dinner at the Ambassador’s official residence, the last time I was there was three years ago.

The next day was the final day of our trip. I met with the Dr. Laursen, the President of Khalifa University, where I am a member of the board. Afterwards, I joined everyone for a relaxed lunch and we started preparing for our return trip. In the evening, I was interviewed by a journalist who is working in Abu Dhabi under a two year contract. This interview piece is also available.

She graduated from Harvard College and invited me to a Harvard dinner gathering at the Park Hyatt Hotel. It is quite a pleasant hotel. There are many people here on business. Afterwards, I checked out of my hotel at 11 p.m. and headed toward the airport.

I will now travel to Los Angeles via London, a trip of twenty four hours in total.