From Abu Dhabi


It has been a while since I have updated my blog.

On February 20th, I took an Etihad flight from Narita for Abu Dhabi.

Over these past three years, there has been a continuous, mutual exchange between universities in Abu Dhabi and Tokyo University and other Japanese universities and, Japan’s Institute of Energy Economics and several Japanese companies.

This time, we made visits to the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research and the Petroleum Institute.

Under the UAE-Japan Strategic R&D and Higher Education Partnership, Masdar also has links with the University of Tokyo and student exchanges, presentations and research unit observation trips. When I arrived at Masdar, there was a group of students who contacted me. They were a group of around twenty graduate students from the University of Tokyo. They had come to observe the research at Masdar, which is a good thing. I suggested that they come to see a presentation at the lecture hall if they had time. They did not come in the end but it made me glad that there were such students visiting.

Ambassador Fujiki also made an appearance during our visit and gave his greetings. The Ambassador is from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and as a background in biochemistry. I have high hopes for the mutual exchanges.

At KUSTAR, I had a meeting with President of Khalifa University, Dr. Tod A. Laursen. Last year, we had a half-day seminar at KUSTAR. However, with the recent fall in oil prices, the budget has become very tight. I wonder how many years this will continue.

At the Petroleum Institute, there was much interest in the development of solar cars with Tokai University. This team took second place at a race last year and made the news. Both the drivers and the preparations for the race are centered on the students here so they were especially happy here. The explanation by the leader was also very powerful.

This Institute of Energy Economics was ranked as number one in the world by the think tank ranking in the 2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (p. 83) . It is very encouraging. There are talks of joint development.

The Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) , of which I serve as the Chairman, was also ranked in 6th place in the category of “global health” (p. 92). In the category of “top domestic health policy think tanks” it was ranked in 15th place (p. 90).

It was just a two-day trip but this sort of academia-government-industry team visit was very welcomed. Although Japan’s business interests with Abu Dhabi are mostly limited to oil, their interests went beyond, instead focusing on human resources training and education and business related to sectors other than the oil industry.