To Paris


On the afternoon of the 17th, I took the Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, where I arrived before 4pm. It was humid and hot.

I went immediately to the hotel, changed and went off to the conference arena of the American Chamber of Commerce in France. I attended the speech of Chairman of the Board and CE of GE, Jeff Immelt. The topic of the talk was globalization and big corporations like GE and it reflected ten years of experience of working in this high responsibility position. I offered my greetings and then headed to the Musee d’Orsay. There, I was able to see the Hays Collection on exhibition.

I was invited to Paris to the International Business Think Tank (1), hosted by the Institut de L’Entreprise, beginning with the dinner on the evening of the 17th. There was a speech by the French Minister for the Economy and Finance Pierre Moscoviv, and the penal discussion by former Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. They had many differences in opinion but their discussion was very thought provoking and deep in content.

Mr. Krugman had a piece in the International Herald Tribune a few days ago and also a good op-ed in the New York Times, mentioning Abenomics as the G8 Summit is being held in Northern Ireland. I have tweeted on this discussion and also posted some photos (twitters of first twitters of June 18th @kiyoshikurokawa).

Mr. Monti is impressive as he has served as the EU Commissioner and was the Prime Minister of Italy at the time of the financial crisis, leading a cabinet without a single politician. I thought Mr. Monti made a good point when he said, “It is a problem that even at meetings of the EU, the discussions between the heads of state are not based on the viewpoints of politicians, but rather like technocrats, focusing on minor details.”

The meeting on the next day, was held at the Musee de Arts Primitifs Branly, with approximately two to four hundred people in attendance. The format was with keynote speeches and panel discussions. In the morning session, the keynote speech was former Prime Minister of Finland at the time of the end of the Cold War, Esko Aho (1), followed by the Chairman and CEO of Inditex, famous for the clothing brand Zara, Pablo Isla, then myself and Daniel Tammet in the afternoon key note speeches. I enjoyed the conference. You can also follow the organizer’s twitter account.

I also had dinner with high some high officials of an Asian country, who are in Paris to attend the annual Paris Air Show.

The next morning, I left for Washington D.C. from Charles de Gaulle.

Wiston House, West Sussex


I left St. Gallen in the afternoon, and arrived at Heathrow. A 90 minute-ride past verdant fields towards the south took me to West Sussex.

I was on my way to attend the UK-Japan 21st Century Group, a conference started by Prime Minister Nakasone and Thatcher of two nations, already into its 30th year. I was to participate a day late. The chairpersons were Honorable Lord Howard and Honorable Yasuhisa Shiozaki, both members of their respective parliaments.

The venue for the conference was the quintessentially English Wiston House. I was relieved to be on time for the dinner on the first night.

The second day, the 4th of May, started off with a talk on "4. Climate Change and Energy Policy" by me and Robin Grimes, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK. The talk was followed by a lively discussion, with opinions from the floor. It was very enjoyable.

The other themes discussed this day were "5. Geopolitical and Security Challenges in East Asia and the Middle East," "6. The UK and Japan: Future Prospects for Trade and Investment," "7. Corporate Governance and 21st Century Capitalism and finally, Common Concerns." The variety and depth of the discussions carried out was truly stimulating and satisfying.

For the evening dinner, we moved to Amberley Castle. Whether it be Wiston House or Amberley Castle, old buildings are in a class of their own. The huge stones used and the absence of any strong earthquakes ensures that these buildings last a millennium.

The themes for the 3rd day were "8. International Development and Cooperation," "9. The UK and Japan, Progress in Developing UK-Japan Bilateral Cooperation and Prospects for the Future," and these were finished by noon.

Incidentally, the themes for the first day were "1. Latest Developments in Japan: The Political Situation and Economic Prospects," "2. Latest Developments in the UK: The Political Situation and Economic Prospects," "3. Retrenchment or Stagnation: Lessons from Japan’s ‘Lost Decades’."

A recurring theme for the past couple of years, be it at Davos or at St. Gallen, is the political situation and economic stagnation in the developed nations. This trend shows just how much the world is changing these days.

The attending English politicians were very intellectual, and did not abhor controversy which arose as a result of their wide-ranging perspectives and reasoning. This spoke volumes about their venerable tradition, and left me feeling that I have a lot to learn from them.

Both England and Japan are island nations, off the coast of large continents and with scarcely any raw materials. They also have their respective strengths and weaknesses, which I feel are very complementary. I feel that this partnership would be a very good one in the global context. Do you agree?

In the evening, I was at Heathrow, on my way home. I had spent two days at both St. Gallen and at West Sussex.


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. 


HGPI Health Summit, then to Rio de Janeiro


After returning from my Paris – Boston trip, I was in Tokyo for one week and was quite busy. On the 22nd, the Health Summit (1)of the Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) was held. Both the panellists and audience were outstanding and was a great success. I received many kind words of thanks and support from many individuals. The panel was excellent, perhaps due to our focus on the challenges facing Japan two years after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami and Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. Reconstruction Minister Takumi Nemoto gave a greeting, and the wife of Ambassador Roos sat on the Gender Equality panel. Please see the HGPI website to learn more about the Health Summit. Reports will be uploaded shortly.

On the 24th Sunday, I took a thirty-hour flight to mid-summer Rio de Janeiro. For the past ten years, I have been deeply involved with the “InterAcademy Panel” as Vice-President and President of the Science Council of Japan (SCJ), and I was asked by SCJ and IAP to serve on the panel at the general conference.

This time I flew via Dubai, flying twelve hours from Narita to Dubai, stopping over there for two hours, and then flying to Rio de Janeiro for fifteen hours. Both flights were Emirates and were very convenient. I slept from time to time, watched a few movies and had a restful trip.

Rio was very hot, around 30 to 35C, but I was almost always inside the conference rooms and I was able to enjoy my time meeting with many friends. The main theme of the conference was “Grand Challenges and Integrated Innovation: Science for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development”. I went to the conference venue for the last afternoon session of Feb 25th. Peter Singer of Grand Challenges Canada lead the session.

The next morning, I took a wonderful hour long stroll along the Copacabana beach. I spent the day attending the conferences, had dinner with Chairman Onishi of the Science Council of Japan and some others, and at two in the morning, took the Emirates flight back the route which I came.

With the multitude of changes occurring throughout the world, academia must not fall short of being highly aware of its role as an important actor. On this note, the closed session on the report by the Royal Society, “Science as an Open Enterprise 2012,” in which the Editor-in-Chief of Nature, Philip Campbell was a panelist (and also one of the commission members of the report), was excellent. The high awareness and active approach of British scientists, who continuously publish pioneering reports on new topics, is outstanding. The British government takes the same approach, for example, see the “Stern Report”.

By the way, this time n the flights, the movies which I thought were particularly good were “Chasing Mavericks” (US) and “All About My Wife” (Korea). Although it was business class, the screen was large and there was a good line up of movies. I have already seen academy nominated films such as “Lincoln” (congratulations on winning the Academy Award for Best Actor) some time ago.

However, I was disappointed that I could not take the “shower in midair”, since I did not ride first class on any of the flights between Narita and Dubai.


OECD Conference in Paris


I flew to Paris on February 11. I was invited to serve on the the Knowledge Based Capital panel held on the 13th and 14th. I was invited to speak o the opening panel of Day 1. I decided to use this opportunity to see some people in Paris, thus I left Tokyo one day early.

I checked into the hotel around 5 pm of the same day (Feb 11th) and had dinner at the residence of Ambassador Yoshikawa, Representative of Japan to the OECD. It is the same place I visited at the time of former Ambassador Hattori.

In the morning of the 12th, I went to the OECD with two people who as volunteers,work for Table for Two, then onto lunch with Chairman Laurent Stricker of WANO and meeting with Commissioner Philippe Jamet of the Nuclear Safety Authority, who I had met in Tokyo in December.

In the evening, I had an American Hospital in Paris (AHP) related dinner with ten people of the French financial and business world and some from Japanese companies. We enjoyed French cuisine at Dominique Bouchet. We discussed many topics, beginning with the National Diet of Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC). We ended up hardly talking about AHP, but since they are all diverse and multitalented people, we had a wonderful conversation.

The next day was the OECD meeting. I served as a panelist on the first panel with Minister Willets of the United Kingdom, Minister Ljung of Sweden, and Mr. Landefeld of the United States. The panel was moderated by Mr. Wyckoff of the OECD. I stood up and gave a presentation for ten minutes. The audience was mainly composed of government officials and policy makers, so I stated that the change the world is currently going through must be the biggest change since the industrial revolution. I handed out two slides, one originally by Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab and another by Chairman Komiyama of the Mitsubishi Research Institute.

I was able to meet with many people from Japan who are working in the OECD. Yuko Harayama, who previously worked here for two years as a senior executive, attended the conference. She was on her way back from the UK and I met with her for the first time in a while.

I left the conference for a bit and visited the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN). Over lunch, I discussed many matters with Jaques Repussard and other top officials. This was one of the places members of NAIIC visited in March of last year. Frank discussions are helpful for understanding each other.

Afterwards, I returned to the OECD for the last two panels, reception and dinner. Here too, I had the opportunity to speak with many people.

Many people gave me very positive feedback on my talk. I believe it was good that I provided a wider framework for everyone to think broadly at the start of the panel conference.

I leave for Boston tomorrow morning.


Seminar Series in Preparation for the Conference on African Development, Article on Japanese ODA


In June of this year, the Japanese government will hold the TICAD5 (Tokyo International Conference on Africa 5) (in Japanese). At the TICAD4 five years ago, the Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) was able to develop many ties (1, 2).

These past ten years, I have had many opportunities to be involved with Africa. Many pages will come up if you search “Africa” on this website.

As one of the activities in preparation for the TICAD5, the Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI), in partnership with the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) (1) will hold a series of five seminars on Africa. The theme is how Japan should work with Africa, which has many problems but is developing.

The first seminar (in Japanese) was a discussion moderated by the new Chairman of JCIE Mr. Ken Shibusawa, with myself, as the representative of HGPI, and Shigemi Sato, who connects Japan and Africa through businessmen.

Many young people came and we had a pleasant and meaningful time.

It is important that this kind of series will make more people think about the perspective of “Africa and Japan in a global world,” and also raise awareness of what Japan can offer to the world.

Since 1960 onwards, Japan has given much development assistance to many developing countries in Asia. Dr. Murakami of HGPI recently wrote a review of the Japanese ODA policy in the Harvard Asia Quarterly. Such research is important when considering the future of Japan’s international policy.

Following these past twenty years of the global era, it is important to think broadly with everyone about what kind of policies we should implement. There should be more opportunities for diverse business in the future.

In the twenty-first century, the world is changing in an unpredictable way, moving into a precarious era. We must learn from the past, watch the world carefully, as well as have a sense of how Japan is viewed from the world.


Davos -1


First Day (January 23): As I was coming down with a cold last week, I was planning on being absent from this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos like I had last year (I was busy with the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC)). However, it was decided that I would be a panelist on Saturday, and although I had been hesitating for these past two or three days, I decided to also serve on a panel Thursday morning. Booking a flight was the issue but I was lucky enough to find an opening on the Swiss Air direct from Narita to Zurich, on Wednesday morning and departed.

I arrived at Zurich Airport and met with Davos regulars such as Dr. Sadako Ogata and other people going to the forum. I arrived in Davos around six in the evening, went through the registration and to the hotel. I met with a few friends but mostly slept afterwards.

Second Day (January 24): I went to the forum from the morning. There are many to chose from, but I attended “Fostering Entrepreneurial Innovation” from nine. I wanted to study up on the subject and also wanted to see Clayton Christensen. These past three years, he has suffered from three major illnesses and but he looked well and had no trouble speaking. Afterwards, we talked about his illness and his book “How will you measure your life” (the Japanese translation is a bit strange- “Innovation of life”), which is an incredible read and which I recommend to young people. We discussed that he would like me to visit him, even if it’s just briefly, when I travel to Boston in February.

After that, I went to “Catastrophic Risks in the 21st Century”, of which I was a panelist. One of the panelists was Judith Rodin, who is the first woman to be the president of Ivy League university. I had wished to meet her for some time, and since Judith and I found several key mutual friends from when I was at the University of Pennsylvania, our conversation flowed even before the panel discussion started. I handed all of the panelists the English Executive Summary of the NAIIC report. I was not able to attend thewell-acclaimed speech by Prime Minister David Cameron then in the main auditorium, but I’m sure I will eventually see it online.

In the afternoon, I attended “Is Democracy Winning?” which was moderated by Nik Gawing and held in partnership with the BBC. It was a difficult topic but the four panelists <>, the questions from the audience and comments by scheduled audience were outstanding. I felt that it would be very hard to have such a discussion in Japan.

Tonight was the annual “Japan Night” and many people came. I left shortly after it started in order to attend the South Korea and Indonesia receptions. After meeting many people at the receptions, I returned to Japan Night and found that although the number of Japanese had decreased, the place was lively and still packed with many friends of Japan. Compared to the Korea and Indonesia receptions, the crowd was over twice as big and they were perhaps all about food and drink, though the other receptions also had entertainment. However, it can be problematic that some people see this and decide that Japan is just a“soft power.”

Please visit the Davos website <> to see more.


Mr. Norman Mineta, Internationally Oriented Human Resources at AGOS


On the morning of January 14, it started snowing.

I had lunch with one of the leaders of the Japanese American community, Mr. Norman Mineta, who was visiting Japan. Mr. Mineta has served as the mayor of San Jose, Congressman, and Secretary of Transportation under both the Bush and Clinton Administrations. We also met last October at Capitol Hill in Washington DC. We discussed many topics, beginning with the recent loss of Senator Daniel Inouye

I had the chance to dine with the late Senator Inouye and his wife, Irene Hirano, when I visited Washington DC last May, for the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC). We lost a very important individual for Japan-US relations.

After having lunch with Mr. Mineta, I was on my way to meet the young people of AGOS (in Japanese), the program that supports studying abroad that I introduced the other day. However, there was a terrible snowstorm and since it was difficult getting a taxi, I arrived thirty minutes late. As a result of the snow, there must have been many people who could not make it.

Mr. Taichi Yamauchi (in Japanese), who is well known for his reports on examining efforts/changes by many universities of Japan and abroad, also came to the session.

Taking the perspective that you can understand yourself better by going out into the world, we had a dialogue style session (in Japanese) on many topics, including “recommendation of taking a leave of absence from school,” “recommendation of studying abroad,” “a global world,” and “widening networks.” Mr. Yokoyama of AGOS was the moderator and everyone seemed to be pleased with the discussion.

I wish from the bottom of my heart that young people will experience and gain a feeling for the world, find themselves, cultivate the sensitivity to see themselves through the eyes of “you,” and with the unique strength of being Japanese, that each individual will find his or her own career.

The global world is wide open and presents an enormous opportunity for finding your unique self.


The Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, Visits from Foreign Delegates


The “Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety” is being held this weekend December 15 to 17th in Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture, hosted by the Japanese government and co-hosted by the IAEA.

It will be at the same time as the Lower House election.

The list of participating countries is extensive, and shows that they are trying to learn from the Fukushima nuclear accident.

In October, I was notified about the conference by some knowledgeable people abroad. They asked me, “You will take part in the conference right?” but I considered the position of the Japanese government and just nodded, “Hmmm.”

A month ago, a certain Diet member had asked a government official, “Aren’t you going to ask Dr. Kurokawa to participate in the conference?” and an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited me. The official seemed to be slightly uncomfortable, but after talking for a while it became clear that the government (meaning, the administrative branch of the government) had decided (did not think about it most likely or pressured somehow?) that “there was no reason for me to participate,”there was nothing for me to contribute to the program, and they did not consider me in the list of participants. There is no need for me to force anything, so I told the visitor 'Not to worry, I will not participate).

Actually, during these past two days, delegations from three countries have visited me separately. They praised the NAIIC report and wanted to learn and discuss more. They said they were able to deepen their understanding of each other, as well have a meaningful discussion regarding Japan’s role and future challenges.

In my previous entry, I pointed out that a comparison of the response of the U.S. and U.K. to the NAIIC report with Japan’s response indicates Japan’s delay in “true globalization” and the differences in ways of thinking.

Tomorrow is election day. Please vote no matter what. There are many parties and you may be unsure of who to choose, but you must carefully assess the qualities of each candidate. Your vote will move the democratic system, although it may not change right away.

Especially the young people, starting from this election, you must change your awareness and vote. For you are the ones who will build the future.

It will take time to make the democratic system work.