Inauguration Ceremony of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST)


I have introduced OIST (Ref.1)  to you several time in this site.  Now, OIST is officially approved as a graduate university starting from November 1st, since the government has given permission.

In Japan, as well as in other countries, we have been discussing much about the reform of universities or researches to address today’s needs.  However, at least from my perspectives, nothing has changed much.  I have been pointing this out  every now and then in my web site whenever appropriate.

On November 18th, the first board meeting as a university was held at OIST.  I have been supporting this project from the start, so I attended and joined in the seminar in the morning of 19th where four researchers gave presentations.  The presenters introduced to the audience new type of researches which were not only interdisciplinary, but also had great scale of scopes.  The researchers from the world who were at the seminar were apparently very impressed.  It is our earnest hope that we promote such unique researches open to the world that will contribute to the solution of global issues, as well as to nurture young researchers of the next generation equipping them with both the mind set and power to take action for such solutions.

In the afternoon, the inauguration ceremony was held.  Mr. Tatsuo Kawabata, current Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs, Mr. Koji Omi, the first person who came up with the idea of this project, and Ms. Yuriko Koike, the Minister prior to Mr. Kawabata were among the guests.  From Okinawa, Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, Mr. Keiichi Inamine, the former Governor were present.  Many more from in and out of Japan attended the ceremony.  The list of main participants should be available for your reference at the website of OIST.

There were four speeches at the ceremony.  Among them, the one I particularly liked was the speech given by Dr Charles Vest, President of the National Academy of Engineering, who served for 14 years as the President of MIT, as a message addressed to this new Graduate University, titled “On Universities of the 21st Century.”  I understand that those speeches will be uploaded on the website of OIST soon.

It was a pity that the weather was a bit rainy this day, that the ceremony had to move its place from the wonderful courtyard to the auditorium.  However, we had a small intermission of the rainfall in the afternoon, and we enjoyed for about 20 minutes dance performance and such at the courtyard.

CSIS-HGPI Conference at Fukushima


CSIS is a famous Think Tank located in Washington D.C. which is well known among Japanese.  Our Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) has worked with CSIS on a number of joint projects beginning last year as I have previously talked about on this site. 

In the early days of this year, HGPI together with CSIS engaged in various activities including meetings with members of the Japanese Diet and some of the results of these activities were presented to the public in a report. 

In particular, CSIS rapidly responded in the wake of 3.11 by coming up with proposals for the rebuilding of Japan and they are also working together HGPI in the fields of health and medical care.  This site has reported (Ref.1) on these activities.

A gathering was held to announce this “Partnership for Recovery and a Stronger Future: Standing with Japan after 3-11” on November 3rd, 2011 in Washington D.C. followed by a similar gathering in Tokyo during the week of November 7th.  This report can be accessed via the web as well. 

A gathering was held in Fukushima on Friday, November 11th to report primarily on the joint activities with HGPI. (Please click here for the programs) The meeting was extremely productive with approximately 70 attendees, and I am extremely grateful to those who participated on a day when Fukushima was in a light drizzle.  

Among the participants were Michael Green, Stephen Morrison and Brian Biles from CSIS. While Seiji Maehara, Chairman of the Policy Research Committee, of the Democratic Party of Japan had to cancel at the last minute due to matters related to the Transpacific Strategic Economic Partnership, participants from the Japanese side included Mitsuru Sakurai (in Japanese), Acting Chairman of the Policy Research Committee of the Democratic Party of Japan (he is a former Senior Vice Minister of Finance and physician from Tohoku University), Masao Uchibori (in Japanese), Vice-Governor of the Fukushima Prefectural Government, Kazuhiko Toyama who owns transportation-related companies in Fukushima and Ichiro Tsuji (in Japanese) of Tohoku University. 

Dr. Seigo Izumo (in Japanese) who participated in this event resides in Boston, but he jumped in from an early juncture with radiation measurements and medical treatment policies.  Dr. Izumo is a Japanese doctor who was behind me in school.  After graduation from medical school, he went overseas and embarked on an illustrious career as a professor of internal medicine at Harvard with a specialization in cardiac medicine.  He is now working more on the business side and is engaged in work that allows him a more flexible schedule. 

The medical care related themes are focused around the three pillars of radiation, coping with psychological issues and reforming how medical care is provided, and a goal is to create an “Open Platform” that facilitates cooperation between the United States and Japan.  

When we returned to Tokyo, six of us, Michael Green, Stephen Morrison, Brian Biles, Seigo Izumo, Yoshiji Makino (in Japanese) (a freelance journalist who is known for his opinion pieces) and myself gathered for dinner.  Everyone was greatly pleased with the conference and we discussed what should be the next steps.  It was, all in all, an extremely fulfilling day. 

As a final bit of food for thought, Dr. Izumo carried a Geiger counter while we were walking about and actually recorded readings of over 10 uSv/hs!


After One Year, The Dragon Cherry Blossoms Achieves Another Feat


Mr Atsushi Saisho, a Waseda University Student who started an e-Education at a poor village in Bangladesh, sent me a good news again this year, which will be a follow up of the great achievement (Ref.1) they have accomplished last year.

The message read;

“The list of students who passed this year’s entrance examination of Dhaka University C course was announced at Dhaka just now.

Total 45,000 students applied for the 12,000 quota of the year 2012 Undergraduate Course of Economics of the Dhaka University.  Ten of the third grade senior high school students at our Tangail school house sat for the exam and as the result, Mr Opurbo, 19 years old, passed with the wonderful score ranking of 783th.

Many other entrance exams are still yet to be held but now we succeeded in producing a Dhaka University student for two consecutive years!

I thank Mr Mahin of Dhaka University, my partner at Bangladesh, for his  leadership and commitment, as well as all the teachers for their great support of the program.

The news of the last years’ success was covered by a number of medias within Bangladesh and also in Japan.   As Mr Saisho and his group continued their activities, many new problems and issues arouse but they never gave up.  They are still working hard to overcome those obstacles.  I am certain that these experiences will turn to become their assets in the future and empower them.  Some might call this power “Zasetsu ryoku (experiences to overcome from failure)”.  As the saying goes; “Heavy work in youth is quiet rest in old age”. (or ‘Cherish the hardships you endure in youth’.) Life is long and hard work in youth will always be paid back in later years.

Each and every youths are working hard at their given places.  Please give them your warm support and continued attention.



An Invitation to the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW)


The Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) has been held simultaneously over the past three years around the world for one week in the middle of November.  You can access a list here [Ref. 1, 2] of the participating countries and the main events which are scheduled for this year.

As I have touched upon numerous times on my own site [Ref. 1, 2, 3, 4] we in Japan would like to expand the reach of these activities throughout the whole of Japan.

Many of the individuals who are involved in these activities were also involved in the establishment of Impact Japan which I have also introduced on this site.

The Honda Foundation served as host for the past three years. Currently the Kauffman Foundation, which has become a central figure in these types of global activities, is acting as the Japanese host with Impact Japan scheduled to take on these duties from next year.

This year’s GEW will be held from November 14th through the 20th.  Many events [1, 2 ] will be held in Tokyo and Kyoto that are open to the public.  I highly encourage you to take a look at the schedule and think about attending.  I am sure that you will meet many interesting people there.

I hope that these activities can spread further throughout Japan and the rest of the world as we move into the coming new year.

Announcement of the November 11th (Friday) Conference


The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a prominent Think Tank based in Washington DC,  is poised to release the final report of its ‘U.S.-Japan Partnership for Recovery Task Force after 3.11’   in Washington and Tokyo.   In Washington DC, the announcement was made today. In Tokyo, a symposium will be held next week in collaboration with Keidanren.

HGPI, the think tank in Japan which I chair,  had partnered with CSIS on issues of healthcare (Ref.1).

Upon this occasion, HGPI-CSIS will hold a conference for a dialogue between Japanese and U.S. experts, inviting Dr. Michael J. Green, CSIS Japan Chair, Dr. J. Stephen Morrison, CSIS Senior Vice President and Director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, Mr. Seiji Maehara,  Chairman of the Democratic Party of Japan’s Policy Research Committee, Dr. Mitsuru Sakurai, former Vice Minister of the Ministry of Finance, in the afternoon of Friday, November 11th, in Fukushima. 

If you have time, please come and join us.  For details on program, venue, and application form, please see here (for Japanese version, please click here).

I hope you will be kind enough to tolerate any inconvenience which you may experience at the venue, due to the circumstance in Fukushima.

Two Keynote speeches at GOLD


The 4th GOLD Conference by Ms Hiroko Tatebe (Ref.1, 2)(Ref.2 is in Japanese) was held at Tokyo American Club, Tokyo.  This year’s theme was ‘Turning Strategies into Action through 3Cs, Creativity, Collaboration and Connection’.  Its program can be seen here

I was given an honor of delivering Opening Keynote speech with Mrs Susan Roos, wife of Ambassador John Roos of the USA, Closing Keynote of the day.  Mrs Roos was indeed kind enough to come to listen to my speech in the morning. 

Title of my speech was ‘Turn Crisis into Opportunity: Time to Shape and Create New Generation Diversity’ (see the text ). It was well received (in Japanese) and I left the venue and back to my GRIPS office. Of course, I was back to Mrs Roos’ Keynote speech ‘Women’s Leadership: From ‘I can’t’ to ‘I will’.’ It was well executed and I liked it very much.

The audience was 80% women, many non-Japanese, very passionate and attentive as may be expected of from the mission of GOLD. I heard many, many good comments of the entire gathering and I am very happy to learn many positive responses to my speech. The conference will be, I hope, On-line, sometime soon and will connect you then.

It was indeed a very good day.


The United Nations University ? Higher Education and Sustainable Development in Africa


I assume that many of you readers have heard of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of UN.

It is an ambitious goal which the member nations of the UN promised to achieve by 2015.  However, the situation has changed drastically in these 10 years and now the world is shifting to a very different stage from the 2000’s, the time when the MDGs were planned by the UN.

Given this background, ”International Symposium on the Role of Higher Education for Sustainable Development in Africa” was held at the United Nations University in Aoyama, Tokyo, on October 13th and 14th.

I myself have been working on this theme with the world’s science community (ICSU, IAP, IAC, etc.) (in Japanese) personally and through various organizations such as the Science Council of Japan (in Japanese), the government of Japan, the United Nation’s University (in Japanese), and the World Bank.  Perhaps partly because they knew this, they invited me to give a Keynote lecture.  Unfortunately, I had to go to Abu Dhabi and Washington DC during those days as posted earlier, so with their permission, I decided to prepare a video message.

By coincidence, Dr Miriam Were, the laureate of the Hideyo Noguchi African Prize (Ref.1) was in Japan and planned to visit me on that same day of recording, so I asked her to join in the video.  It was a nice, unexpected, great “Surprise” to the audience of the UNU Symposium.  I thank Professor Masafumi Nagao, and staffs for their support in making this happen.

A report on this Symposium posted on the web site of the UNU (Ref.1) has commented on my video message, too.  I was very pleased and thankful to know this.

I plan to create a link to this video on my web site, so please look forward to viewing it.

Steve Jobs Special Issues and Biography


 Bloomberg Newsweek TIME

Two weeks have passed since the death of Mr Steve Jobs.  The most established weekly magazines in the United States, Newsweek, Times, and Bloomberg, published special commemorative issues – a proof that Mr Jobs was truly an outstanding character in the latter half history of the 20th century.

Newsweek and Bloomberg dedicated the whole issue to Steve Jobs exclusively, eliminating any other articles or even advertisements.  This is extraordinary. Apparently these special commemorative issues are the expression of their deep respect to the great genius, the Artist who completely transformed the ways of our society.

Mr Walter Isaacson, a friend of Jobs as early as since he was at the Times, writes his memories in the special issue of the Times, but will also publish a biography of “Steve Jobs” on October 24th.  This is definitely a book that I would like to read as soon as I purchase it, and I think you will also want to have it in your book collection.

I can’t think of anyone else other than Steve Jobs who has so changed our daily life, from children to the grown ups, in the ways how we see, touch, enjoy.  Our hearts were filled with happiness, excitement, sense of being entertained.. by Steve.  He practically stole our hearts!

By the way here is a good video which I recommend for you to quickly watch and reflect on Steve Jobs’s life and person as a whole.


A Speech at the Board Meeting of Project Hope, Washington DC


After leaving Abu Dhabi, I came to Washington DC to give speech and express our appreciation to the board meeting of Project Hope, for their support and cooperation in the restructuring of Tohoku.

It was early in the morning when I arrived at Dulles airport, Washington DC, from Dubai. I checked in to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, prepared  myself quickly to join with Dr. Noritake of HGPI and Dr. Fred Garber of Project Hope (Ref.1) to visit Ambassador Fujisaki at the Embassy of Japan.  Collaboration with  Project Hope and our Impact Japan  - HGPE all started with one phone call from Ambassador Fujisaki at Washington DC to my blackberry, shortly after the “3.11” Tohoku disaster, suggesting that we work together.  

After seeing Ambassador Fujisaki, we went to the National Academy of Sciences, then to Global Knowledge Initiative, an organization which I am part of, located in the AAAS building of the National Academy of Sciences.  

Project Hope holds board meeting four times each year, and invites guest speakers to two of those meetings. I asked “What sort of people are invited for speech?”, since I knew that Project Hope was a global scale disaster relief health care team – one of the largest in the world. But when they said it was “James Jones  recently” , to be honest, I panicked a bit.  Mr Jones was the National Security Advisor to President Obama.  Condoleezza Rice came to speak, too, they said.

There were about 40 people in the room.  After having cocktails, we were seated at tables and enjoyed conversation until it was time for dessert,  when Dr John Howe introduced me as the guest speaker.  I talked for about 20 minutes on topics such as the Tohoku great disaster, activities with Project Hope and Ambassador Fujisaki, Operation Tomodachi, future plans, perspectives of Japan-US relationship, and so on.  By the way, this year is the 70th year from the “Pearl Harbor” in December, and is also the 100th anniversary of the planting of the famous cherry  trees in Washington DC. 

After the speech I received many questions and we were able to enjoy dialogues actively.  Mr Dr Gerber later told me that “It was a good speech.  We don’t usually have so many questions raised from the audience after speech at this board meeting…. I am so glad that you came….”

At about the same time of the day, a reception for the President of Korea, Mr Lee Mhung-Bak, who was visiting the United States then, was being held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel banquet room.  I saw many Korean people at the lobby gathering from early evening, their faces gleaming with happiness and pride, making long lines in excitement.  How wonderful.

I understand that President Obama welcomed President Lee with special treatment of State Visit (Ref.1). I envy this energy of Korea admitting that Korea has many of its own problems.

In contrast, Japan, the neighbor of Korea, has had six different Prime Ministers in 5 years.  It is hard for us to see what the government is up to, and I suspect it is even harder for the government to make any big decisions….  Our Lost Decade continued for more than 20 years now, long ahead of EU or US in this sense.

Just a week before, US Japan Council was held at Washington DC. The Keynote Remarks was delivered by the Secretary of State, Ms Hillary Clinton, with many political leaders present, including Daniel Inouye, senior United States senator….  I wonder how the event went.

I started the next day early in the morning discussing our collaborative project with CSIS, the meeting we plan to organize in Fukushima in November and other issues to take care of.  After finishing these tasks, I headed to the airport.

This was a trip around the world – departing Narita on the evening of 8th (sat), staying one night each at luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi and Washington DC, spending 3 nights in airplane, arriving Narita on 13th (thur).

I slept well in the plane.


To Abu Dhabi for GAC, then to Washington DC


In the evening of 10th, I departed Narita for Abu Dhabi on a direct flight by Etihad.  The objective of trip is to attend the Global Agenda Council organized by the World Economic Forum.  The conference, for your information, was held in Dubai annually for the past three years. I saw many of my Japanese friends also boarded on this flight to Abu Dhabi for this meeting.

After arriving at Abu Dhabi early in the morning I checked in to the YAS Hotel, the venue, which is also the scheduled venue for the Formula One Car Race (Ref.1, 2) in November.  The Car Race was being held at Suzuka, Japan from October 7 to 9, too.  Anyway, I was amazed to see the strikingly gorgeous facilities of this Hotel.

I attended the full two days of the conference at the building standing next to the Hotel.  I understand that this place is going to be used for the Formula 1 also.  As for the meeting, I was in the session of the “Japan Council” for the whole day as the sub-Chair. Thanks to the nice support of Mr. Takashi Mitachi of the Boston Consulting Group  and many others, we managed to facilitate good discussions.  The problem was that there was not much information available from Japan after the “3.11” Disaster (not to mention that six Prime ministers changed within these five years….)  thus offering issues for discussion was not easy, and we had to think hard in order to share views with each other.  However, I am thankful that we had nice constructive discussions with many people.

The reception was at the Royal Tower of the Race Track.  It had a nice view over the straight course of the car race.  Many political leaders including the Prime Minster of UAE were present, too.

After attending the full schedule of the 2nd day, I took a car to Dubai, and boarded on a midnight flight to Washington DC.

It was a very full, busy two days.