NHK TV Broadcast: Global Health- Chatham House


Recently I have posted a report on ‘From G8 to G20’ meeting on Global Health- Chatham House、London.

I also reported that NHK television crew joined us to cover this meeting.

The NHK made two sets of 30 minutes English programs ‘Asian Voices: Global Health’ based on interviews with the main participants of this meeting.

Dr. Shigeru Omi, former WHO member appears as a guest commentator in ‘Part 1’ and I appear in ‘Part 2’, both hosted by Ms Aiko Doden, who speaks very nice English.

This program will be broadcasted on Cable TV at overseas, but in Japan and elsewhere will appear On-line for several times.

Please check the Cable TV and On-line broadcast schedulein Japanese) of ‘Part 1 and Part 2’.

‘Part 1’ comes in 6 series starting from 11:10 am, August 7th (Sat) through 7:10 am, August 8th (Sun).

‘Part 2’ consists of 5 series starting from 11:10 am, August 14th (Sat) through early morning; 5:10 am, August 15th (Sun).

I was actually a little nervous when the interview was done without any rehearsals so I imagine that there must be several places here and there that make me blush if I see the video clips (though I haven’t seen it, yet).  But after all, in the Global age, what matters in “English is ‘the content’, ‘to speak’ and not in the least ‘pronunciation’”.

I invite you all to see this program.

At Chatham House: From G8 to G20, Issues on Health and Development


Photos by the courtesy of NHK Asian Voice and HPI-Japan

Chatham House in London is more formally known as The Royal Institute of International Affairs, one of the world’s top Think Tanks on international issues, a place for debates, famous also for the rule often referred to as the ‘Chatham House Rule’

This Chatham House, CSIS, an American Think Tank in Washington DC (Ref.1), and  our Health Policy Institute Japan have spent about a year preparing for this meeting at the Chatham House which was held on June 30.  The meeting was scheduled at the timing of the G8 Summit in Canada that took place a few days earlier, and the theme of the meeting was ‘Global Health: What’s next for the G20? Investing in health and development’.

Its agenda, panel speakers, and sponsors were all superb.  I understand that the total number of participants was around 200.  Dr. Shigeru Omi (in Japanese), former regional director of WHO Western Pacific Regional Office, represented the government of Japan.  Also, some Japanese officials in London were present including Minister Oka of Japan Embassy, from JETRO, and NHK crew came to report this meeting.  I would like to extend my sincere thanks to them all.

Now and in the future, such process of independent Think Tanks or other non-governmental institutions hosting and organizing conferences to set global agendas to lead discussions that in the end can come up with some overall understandings or agreements is and will be extremely important.  Organizing and participating in such conferences have been a very good experience to us, too.  I myself was honored to have a role of listening to the discussions of the day and wrapping them up in the closing.  We also tried to make clear what we could do with the outcomes of this meeting, or what our next steps could be.

These things are easy to say, but actually to reach to this point was truly a tough task. I did write several postings on this process in this site (Ref.1, 2, 3) in addition to the reports which are posted on the web site of the Health Policy Institute, Japan.  Most importantly, we must understand that in the global world, building ‘personal’ credibility/trusts’ amongst ‘colleagues of the world’ is the basis of everything. 

It seems to me that one of the fundamental problems of Japan lies in the conventional attitude of the majority of the Japanese people who think that those global issues must be handled by ministries in charge, i.e. government offices or bureaucrats, or big companies if talking about industry.  In other words, our society is not yet mature enough as the ‘Civil Society’ – at least in my view.

So, let us all together nurture as many human resources and capitals as possible who are capable of taking actions based on the deep understanding of the importance of actions by independent individuals who do not necessarily rely on ‘governmental authorities’, as well as the importance of development of mutual trusts in individual levels, particularly in this ‘global’ and ‘flat’ world.

Commentary and Other Publication Relating to Harvard University


This year, I was invited twice ? in January  and May (Ref.1) – to participate in the activities of Harvard University.

No publication was issued of the meeting of January, but for the meeting in May  a report for the participants only was prepared under the Chatham House Rule.  One of the participants, Mr. Kurihara wrote in his Gazette (in Japanese) that he ‘laughed many times during Professor Kurokawa’s talk’ (p.3 left column) which I take as ‘honor and pleasure’.

Since the report includes a short description of that part, I will quote it below.

Session 2: Biotech Models for Development
‘Panelist Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan, addressed the issue of biotechnology by first delineating some key issues related to its development ? globalization, food and water, environment, and biodiversity ? and then discussing some of the challenges facing countries interested in advancing biotech. Citing Ghana and Botswana as examples, Kurokawa argued that developing countries have little need for the newest and most scientifically intricate technologies, like genetic recombination. Rather, they need simple technologies that can be used to improve the quality of life for local people.

Kurokawa advocated the deployment of existing technology to address the most severe of world crises, like food and water shortage. Such use of technology could also result in bottom-up growth and benefit social entrepreneurs. Again emphasizing the local, Kurokawa further argued that biotech enterprises should also consider how “indigenous knowledge” might propel new developments in biotechnology. Local remedies, like the use of bark to treat malaria in China or of aspirin, have the potential to help biotechnology better address the “big needs” of the world today.’
‘In the discussion that followed, Kurokawa re-emphasized his position that while frontier science contributes important discoveries, these discoveries should be shared and there should be a collective effort to apply new advancements to the betterment of the human condition.’

Another publication is a Commentary which I co-authored with my colleague Dr. William Saito for ‘Harvard Asia Quarterly’  published by Harvard Asia Center.  Its title and summary are as below.

Global Climate Change:
The Interconnection with Medical Technology and Health Care

Medicine, along with culture and technology, can both cause and resolve the problem of climate change. Medicine has helped reduce infant mortality and increase longevity, thus contributing to overpopulation which results in excessive pollution and resource consumption. But it can also help solve these problems by providing better forms of contraception and education.

The full text  is about 7,000 words which is a bit long, but if you could spare time to read it, I would be very grateful for comments and suggestions.

Students Passionately Searching for the Ways to Serve the World. Why not Join Them this August?


This is another posting on the‘Global Change Maker Program’ which you may be familiar with by now.  This program was organized mainly by the undergraduate students of Waseda University, with the help of their supporters.  Now at last its first project ‘E Education’ is going to launch jointly with Grameen Bank led by Professor Yunus.

Dear youths and students, why not consider participating in their activities this summer?

Below are the details.  I urge you to raise your hands.  Actually, I have seen participants from the last year and saw how they their eyes were opened to the world and have become motivated and some are already in ACTION.  This is truely a wonderful project.

Their web sites are;
2. etc.

And see the video at ‘YouTube’.

In my web site, see postings of;
June 6th, 2010
April 14th, 2010
June 29th, 2009
December 19th, 2008

This year’s program is from August 18th to 29th.  See below for details.  Join them and go out to see the world!
Dear everyone who expects to become a driving force of the world 10 years from now.
+ Global Change Maker Program +
12 days’ exciting program for you to learn and experience how to change the world
For details/applications ⇒ ⇒ ⇒

Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Vibrant China


I came to Shenzhen via Hong Kong.  There were lots of cars running so naturally it took a long time to enter Mainland China via Hong Kong.  New buildings and roads were being built in a great speed.

One of the purposes of my visit this time was to play golf at the ‘Mission Hills’.  It is a huge piece of development with twelve 18-hole courses.  I understand that the Mission Hills is the largest golf resort in the world.  You may have seen this place on TV since the World Cup was opened in 1995 as the official introduction of this facility to the world.  It was in 1997 when Hong Kong was returned to China from the Great Britain.  I played at the World Cup Course.  It was quite a fascinating course.  Please enjoy the place at their web site.

Surrounding the golf course stood many classy huge housings (I was told that a single house was at least 600 square meters large…I wondered what sort of people were going to live in such places), and I saw signs calling for new members.  Memberships and houses must cost a fortune, but I presume that most of them are for investments ? I could see only a handful of people in these many houses. …. The view reminded me of Japan 20 years ago but apparently the scale is of no comparison.  I had an impression that the interiors of hotels (built more than 10 years ago) somewhat lacked closer attention in  details compared to Japanese hotels, but it doesn’t matter because what matters is energy.  They don’t worry about small details.   It’s meaningless to point out trivial flaws here and there.

The players from China were four from Beijing, one of them is an executive of a company that purchases mineral resources in Africa, and he just returned from Congo.  Another person was in a ship cargo business – all of them were in their late 40’s and full of energy.

I was invited to a restaurant in downtown Shenzhen but was overwhelmed by the speed in which the facilities and roads were being built.  What was this place like 10 or 20 years ago, I wonder?  And how would it be 10, 20 years from now?

Upon my return to Tokyo, I stayed overnight at the Shangri-La Hotel in Hong Kong.  It is one of my favorite hotels.  Gazing the raining Hong Kong Island lying across the sea, I relaxed for a half day.

Although the weather was a mere rainfall in Hong Kong, I understand that the southern China had a very heavy rain.  I do hope that the rain did not cause much damage.

A New Program of Canada


On May 3rd, the Canadian government announced the launch of the new 5 year ‘Global Challenges Canada’ program. 

While this program collaborates with the ‘Grand Challenge Explorations’ program of the Gates Foundation, its major objective is to have Canadian researchers (though not limited) contribute to the improvement of poverty, health, public health, health care of the developing countries that participate in this program.

The program is limited to 5 years but it is an approach to construct a ‘Win-Win’ relationship with the developing countries through new form of scientific technology diplomacy. With and through the outcomes of this program, Canada is apparently trying to strengthen its presence in international agenda.

I am supporting this program as a member of the scientific advisory board,  but in Japan also, I am happy to report that cooperation with the World Bank will possibly be enhanced, Japan’s ongoing aids to African countries were recognized and approved, JICA and JST are continuing its collaborations in a number of projects.

Promoting multi dimensional effort toward MDG and other goals to fulfill the different needs of the developing countries ? from the poorest to the fairly developed ? together with many ongoing bilateral cooperation or multi nation organizations such as the World Bank is very helpful for the good of human security and the realization of MDG.

Also, it will be important than ever before to collaborate with other nations, and exchange information.

There are still many, many things that Japan can do to help solve the problems of the world.

Think for yourself what each one of you can do to contribute. The point is how you see “the world from Japan and Japan from the world”.

Concerns of People who ‘See Japan from Outside’;‘GCMP’ of Active Youths who ‘Go Outside’


I had a breakfast in the morning of April 13th with Professor Emeritus of Princeton Hisashi Kobayashi of Princeton (I assume you have read about him in my past posting as elsewhere) and Dr. Masako Egawa, newly appointed board member of the University of Tokyo, a Harvard Business School alumna, who had been working to help build relationships with Japan and the HBS.

It was a day after the entrance ceremony of the University of Tokyo ? Professor Kobayashi came to Tokyo to give a speech (in Japanese) at the welcome ceremony of the graduate school.

Professor Kobayashi shares the same deep concerns with me ? the unbelievably insular mind set of Japanese university students in this global age.  I strongly advise everyone, especially to university faculties and students, to read his message which I have linked above

Dr. Egawa is also thinking the same and trying very hard to help do something about it although, as you may imagine, like other things, it is not at all easy.

In the afternoon, I received a visit from Saisho-kun of Waseda University  whom I have written about in this web site several times in the past.   A year ago, he took a leave of absence, went to Bangladesh, worked actively in‘GCMP’ setting up various projects, and recently has come as far as to obtain support from Dr. Yunus of the Grameen Bank.  It is amazing how much a student can grow.  I could see how good plans, business models they can develop through their own real experiences are so very important and valuable for young men and women to find what they can do to help others, leading to find what they want to do and to be.  Everybody is full of enthusiasm.  Mr. Saisho returned to Japan to extend his leave of absence for another 6 months from Waseda University since one year has passed already.  His mind is full of even more ideas, too.

Miyoshi-kun who was taking care of administrative works in Japan will now also take leave of absence and depart for Bangladesh.  I am looking forward to seeing more growth and expansion of their projects.  GCMP launched a few program last year.  One of their projects was 'to take some 20 Japanese undergraduate students to Bangladesh' for 3 weeks last summer to live and work there.  I understand that quite many of them are going overseas for the first time.  I was told that they changed a lot after the experience.  Already a few of them have actually gone to South America, India, etc. and are planning to start projects while they work there. This February, GCMP took about 10 students for 10 days to Bangladesh.  To my surprise, that Professor Seichiro Yonekura of the Hitotsubashi University, one of authorities of Innovation, accompanied this group and while all students lost their weight, he alone gained weight.  Good for him!

To make changes to the challenges of the world today, such ACT of going to the field abroad, acquiring the sense of the local site is so crucially important.

D-Lab of MIT – A Thrilling Day With Young Leaders Who Sought Careers Abroad


Early in the morning of 20th (Sat.), after arriving at Narita from Singapore, I rushed to my home, had a shower, refreshed, and went off to GRIPS, my base office.

Today at GRIPS, we, our ‘Innovation Team’ at GRIPS, host a day of D-Lab of MIT under the theme of “ ‘Universities’ X ‘Technologies’ X ‘BOP’” (in Japanese) .  D-Lab is, as I introduced several time in this web site, a new and exciting program for undergraduate students, preparing them for this global age.  The day’s event was organized by Tsuchiya-kunEndo-kun (Ref.1), and Riku-san , all involved in D-Lab at MIT.  Just 3 days ago in the evening, I saw Professor Miyagawa of MIT (Ref.1)  and talked about this event at GRIPS.  He was very pleased to hear our plan.

Quite a number of people signed-up online and our auditorium at GRIPS was nicely filled with participants.  Speakers and panels were all very good and there were lots of questions and answers, so I think the participants were quite satisfied with the event.  I wrapped up the session with focus on the meaning and impact of the ‘D-Lab’.

The reception continued for 3 hours, probably reflecting the high satisfaction and enthusiasm among the participants.  Everyone was quite excited.

You may find a site of D-Lab team in Japan(in Japanese) and a hot posting by Mr. Matsushita interesting.   Through a day session, I felt that many young people sensed the global age, opened their eyes to great goals, unlimited possibilities.  I thought that someone uploaded a live video-record on the web…. Trying to check it out…

I would say that the main driving force of the success of this event was the three young men and woman who organized this (in Japanese); Endo-kun (in Japanese)  and Tsuchiya-kun (in Japanese) earned their Master’s degree in Japan and now for Ph. D. degree at MIT/Harvard, Riku-san  studied undergraduate at MIT after graduating from the Japanese high school.  They apparently have been involved with D-Lab projects in various ways.  Now many young people in Japan saw and met these three mission and action-oriented three youth trying to reach out and speak their minds and hearts.

These three teach us clearly how ‘going for what you want to do’ is so important, how the experience make you see wider pictures and grasp opportunities.  I recommend that you too, by all means, make up your mind and why not try to see the wide world to find what you really want to do and what you can do to make the world a better place.

Water System and Business of Singapore


Singapore is a small island.  Historically, it has relied most part of its water supply to Malaysia, specifically from Johor Bahar.  Singapore bears all costs for building and maintenance of water plants there.  This was arranged by negotiation, and Singapore is on dependent side, so in the long term this dependence may turn out to become severe weakness to this small island nation.

In Japan, too, the rivers and the sea were contaminated by not-well-treated household waste or even industrial wastes until 1960s.  Minamata disease, mercury poisoing, is one example of the results of such industry pollutions.  ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachael Carson published in1962 was, as you know well, a warning to the modern society destructing natural environment through mass production and mass consumption of our modern industrial economy.  Until some decades ago, household wastewater and garbage were being thrown into the rivers in Singapore, too.

Aware of the situation, Singapore government launched a major water policy including its secured water supply plan  as one of her long-term national plans.

On March 19th , we visited Marina Barrage  (Ref.1) after the annual A*STAR Board meeting (Ref.1).  Not only the entire complex was grand and public-friendly, but its history, plans, processes, relations with other water industries, visions, strategies, project plans, and so on were very admirable, so I felt that this national project is good and strong as a whole.

Singapore organized Water EXPO in 2009 and displayed a package of water businesses that attracted people’s attentions.  On the other hand, exhibition of Japan appeared to be a gathering of good ‘components, parts’, a difference pointed out in the report of NHK television broadcast also.  This difference could be fatal in international competition because Japanese companies fail to present a ‘total package’ of the big system.

Singapore crafted and presented Singapore International Water Week  very actively this June, apparently working very hard to appeal to new developing countries its water supply and management total system.

Japan was known for its good water management technologies, and until very recently the world used to regard Japan as ‘the nation that has most reliable water supply technologies’ but where did this good reputation go, I wonder?  In truth, Japan is only competing over the quality and ability of parts products of less than 5% of the total water supply system such as salt water filter treatment.

Are we going to be ‘Galapagosnized parts manufacturer’ (Ref.1) in water business as we have been in cellular phones, nuclear plants, or solar panels?  Will we serve as subcontracts in this field also?

‘Japan as Developing Country in Environment Business’; The Truth Revealed at Last?


Have you read ‘The special’ in March 1st issue of Nikkei Business Magazine?  (Why is it that you are charged fee to read this on Internet and how long?)

The opening article of this issue is ‘This week’s focus’ featuring President Masamitsu Sakurai of Rikoh and Chairman of Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives).  He has been sending out keen critical messages on a insular mind-set of business sector. Thus, I sense the editor’s will in combining this article with ‘The Special’ of this issue.  It’s a good choice.

‘The Special’ features from page 22 to 39, with a title, exactly – ‘Japan As Developing Country In Environment’.  Japan’s business sector has been for long, too inwardly and technology focused, thus trapped in ‘excessive belief in its technologies’ that it has not  effectively captured the market in the world flying with global clean energy movements..  Especially mega corporations are too much obsessed with the logic of itself that they are neglecting the world trend – does not have ‘first hand experience’ of how the global world is moving ahead to siege the opportunities.  When they discuss issues, what they mention is only ‘reasons for difficulties; why things cannot be done’.

For a long time, Japan was regarded as the leader in Environment Technology.  Energy efficiency, water treatment, battery etc…. But how are they performing in global marketplace?

Although we may have many advanced technologies, we can’t think in a  'global, vertical, way' nor do we have ‘know-hows’ to develop vertically to capture growing global market.  Japanese manufacturing sectors, particularly electronics industry, have been ironically called as ‘Galapago-nized’ (Ref.1) thus, developing most advanced manufacruting precision and technology, but failed to lead the global marketplace effectively with profit-making business models.  Most Japanese have poor connections to people of the world, and many executives do not have reasonable command of spoken English.  Large number of big corporations are led by executives and leaders who are rising within their own hierarchial organization structure with ‘Sakoku (national isolation)’ mind-set, clinging to the memory of past ‘success’.  All these are the result of being content with domestic business, and being aversive of taking any (even calculated) risks going abroad I would say.  What lies in 10-20 years ahead of young people who strive to be hired by those companies?  Maybe it is reflected in the middle manger level ‘human resource’ of these companies.
Many examples exist of not being able to see ‘things’ in a big picture, cannot conceive and  tell ‘stories’  (in Japanese). Technologies are of little use if not used as a part of attractive stories.

It is obvious that it was not just electrics industry that had these problems, but the problems strangely seem to be prevailing in many established large companies, often hanged on to the business as usual, missing the chance of big change.

We do see some good signs though, but they are too small and lack speed, the fact pointed out repeatedly in my blog postings.  The traditional career path in Japan of ‘single track’ is the barrier of change.

What is important is to send messages to Japanese citizens firmly and repeatedly. This is the mission of media so that the necessary policies’ could be implemented with wider public support.  We must realize that ‘Kurofune’ (blackships led by Commodore Perry to open up Japan some 150 years ago) will not come any more’ (Ref.1).

I have posted several reports on nuclear power plant project won by Korea. Further, rapid growth of Korean companies such as Sumsung, LG, Hyundai, Posco, as well as more recent outstanding performance of Korean athletes in Vancouver Olympic are also impressive.  At this timing, came the Toyota problem.

Oh, Japan, cheer up and do your best! Japanese business leaders, buckle up!  The same goes for university leaders, too.

The basis of a nation is nurturing/education of human resource and human capital.  What kind of education?  This is another story for preparation of ever flattening global world..

Recently, there are reports and some sense among many Japanese establishments to learn lessons from Korea as well as China which I am happy to see.  “Always to be a humble learner’ is a wisdom from ancient time.