Abroad in the New Year


Happy New Year.

I hope you had a wonderful new year celebration. It seemed very cold around Japan but we were lucky to have sunny weather in Tokyo.

It has been a while since I have written. I have been quite busy with many things.

I did not do anything particularly special but on the morning of the 6th, similar to last year, I gave a lecture to around forty graduate students, brought by Professor Takeuchi from Harvard Business School. This year turned out to be a very fun seminar too.

After the lecture, I returned home once and then headed to Haneda Airport and flew to Toronto. I arrived in Toronto in the afternoon and then went to dinner. It was cold outside and the wind was very strong. With the wind-chill factor, it was about -20°C.

The following day, I met with the Canadian nuclear power and electricity leaders as well as Professor Shinya Nagasaki who moved to McMaster University from the University of Tokyo. Afterwards, we had a round table discussion from noon with around twenty people in total. I found this style of discussion to be very productive.

Everyone was very frank and we had an open discussion on energy policies, the role and processes of nuclear power, the importance of trust and transparency, the reprocessing of spent fuel. The participants were not held back by the lines of politics, industry and bureaucracy and their input reflected constructive and well-thought out views. Canada’s nuclear power plants are concentrated in Ontario, where Toronto is. Although political differences exist between the provincial and national levels, I felt that I was able to observe the good aspects of Canada.

Later in the afternoon, I visited Havergal College, a prestigious girls’ school in the middle of Toronto. It was established 120 years ago by Francis Ridley Havergal, in order to provide high level education to bright, young women.

The following day, I attended the advisory meeting of the Gairdner Foundation. The meeting went on for approximately six hours and many members had sharply contrasting opinions, with some being quite outspoken. But the meeting bore fruit as the discussion went on.

The merits of these meetings are that they are very constructive. Furthermore, the differences in opinions and interpretations provide an insight into other areas to study and it was a very good learning experience. Though, the role of the Chair seems very tough…

In the evening I had dinner at the residence of the consulate general of Japan, Mr. Nakayama, whom I would like to thank.

I flew back to Tokyo the next day. During the trip, I was fortunate enough to meet many people.

The first few days of this year ended up being similar to last year.