Schedule – April 2017

The Path to 2025: Building the Ecosystem fr Alzheimer’s Innovation

Date & Time: April 26, 2017 (Wed) 9:00-13:00
*9:10-9:20 Welcome Remarks”
Venue: Kyoto International Conference Center


Plenary1 Global Aspect of Dementia

Date & Time: April 27, 2017 (Thu) 9:30-11:00
*10:30-11:00 “What kinds of knowledge and wisdom can we propose for next generations?”
Venue: Kyoto International Conference Center


Saionji-juku at Ritsumeikan University


I was invited to give a 4-hour class at Ritsumeikan University’s Saionji-juku (in Japanese) on Saturday the 28th, January.  The audience of around 40 people was made up largely of professionals around the age of 40, an important phase when people are at the peak of their careers.

I had asked them to prepare for this session by reading my book “Kisei no Toriko (Regulatory Capture)” beforehand, along with some other handouts that I provided in advance, and this they did with an admirable enthusiasm. I noticed that many in the audience had copious notes, most probably their responses to various points made in the book.

Although this marathon session only had one 15 minute break, it seems that the robust content and lively discussion more than made up for the physically demanding schedule. It was a bit disappointing however to see only one woman among the 40 participants.

I have lectured at Ritsumeikan University before, once at the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University campus in Oita Prefecture 10 years ago (talk summary in Japanese), and once at their Kyoto main campus.

The day before my talk, I was invited by people connected to the Saionji Family to join a group of around 20 to listen to the Reverend Raitei Arima (in Japanese) and to also converse with him about the various hurdles that Japan and the world face and will be facing in the coming years.

All in all, a very enjoyable learning experience!


Participating in the TICAD6 in Nairobi – 3


After the Noguchi Hideyo Africa Prize workshop, I went to a nearby hotel where a conference on Non-communicable diseases (NCD) was being held. I made good on a promise to deliver the keynote speech. After this talk, there was a panel discussion, which I had to leave halfway through  (the audience was made up of mainly medical professionals, and I received emails congratulating me on the unexpected but important nature of my talk) to get back to the Hilton in order to attend the GHIT meeting in the afternoon.

Here at this GHIT Fund meeting, Dr. Greenwood and Dr. Coutinho, recipients of the Noguchi Africa Prize, were also on stage, making the proceedings very lively. I arrived when the panel was already wrapping up, and after the closing words, we headed out to the poolside of the Hilton Hotel where the GHIT Fund had prepared a reception.

The special artist invited to perform during this reception evening was Anyango. She is a young Japanese woman who went to Kenya to learn more about the particular African music and instrument that had so captured her imagination. After years of hard work in an apprenticeship, she became proficient enough to earn the right to play instruments, a right traditionally held by men.

She had already been on worldwide tours to promote her music, with several albums to her name. When I had inquired to her managing office in Tokyo, they told me that she was scheduled to be in Kenya during the later weeks of August, which was perfect timing, so I put in a request for her to perform.

Anyango performed with a local band, and as the performance progressed, some of our guests from African contries, went from singing together to dancing, making it a memorable evening.

Recently, she was featured in a TV program in Japan.

After the reception, I spent some time unwinding with the people of the Cabinet Office over dinner, a small gesture of thanks for all the hard work that we had put into the Workshop. I also met some of the delegates from Japan.

It was a nice ending for an enriching and thought-filled time spent in Nairobi.

A Week of Conferences on Global Health


In April, there were many conferences that focused on issues related to the G7 Summit agenda in anticipation of the Summit in May. The first G7 (originally G6) Summit was held in 1975. When Japan was the host country in 1979, the word “health” appeared for the first time on the G7 agenda.

Following this, Japan proposed the concept of a “Global Fund” at the 2000 Okinawa Summit; at the 2008 Toyoko Summit Japan presented the idea that human security can be guaranteed by strengthening health policy.

In this age of globalization, Japan has been a pioneer in recognizing that “global health” is becoming an important keyword on the agenda.

On April 18th, there was a conference on the issue of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), co-hosted by the Center for Security and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C. and HGPI, of which I serve as Chairman. There should soon be a report of the conference on the CSIS website. This conference was very substantial in content, with rigorous discussions that were to the point and highly evaluated by the audience.

On Tuesday the 19th, I attended the garden party at the British Embassy celebrating the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. Ambassador Hitchens gave an excellent speech in his usual manner, which was well received by the crowd. I had the opportunity to discuss with the first secretary who is in charge of the issue of dementia and items on the G7 Summit agenda.

On Wednesday the 20th, I had dinner with the head of a British think tank. We discussed the situation in the East China Sea and I had the chance to hear things that are rarely openly disclosed. We discussed that since the UK and Germany are currently facing major issues within their countries, it was difficult to conduct agenda setting for the G7 Summit in Japan. Since the G7 countries make up less than 50 percent of the world’s overall GDP in today’s world, the more concerning item on the world agenda is China, this year’s host of the G20.

On Thursday the 21st, I participated in a bipartisan breakfast meeting on the topic of Japan’s contribution to the Global Fund. The Liberal Democratic Party was represented by MP Ichiro Aisawa and the Democratic Party was represented by MP Motohisa Furukawa. Mr. Tsuruoka, who has been appointed to be the next Japanese Ambassador to the UK, was also at the meeting. He gave rather critical remarks, as he often does. I am grateful to him for his support during the 2008 G8 Summit when I was Science Advisor to the Prime Minister Fukuda.

On Friday the 22nd, I participated in the Nikkei Asian Conference on Communicable Diseases (1) (in Japanese). This was the third consecutive year that this conference has been held. In the first conference, I gave the keynote speech, and last year and this year I gave the closing remarks. This year, I also appeared in the FT and GAVI Fireside Chat with the CEO of GAVI, Seth Berkeley, moderated by Mr. Andrew Ward, the pharmaceuticals correspondent of the Financial Times.

Regarding Japan’s contribution to GAVI, I proposed that the Japanese national bonds could also be included in the mix. Approximately 20 percent of GAVI’s funding comes from the national bonds of nine countries, including the UK and Norway.

This year, Japan, the G7 Summit and the issue of AMR were topics on the agenda. Some exceptional technologies developed by Japanese companies were also presented. However, from a global business perspective, it is a pity that the mindset still seemed to remain inward-looking.

Yet, I was glad that during this two-day conference, many people from Japan and abroad commented on the GHIT Fund. The GHIT Fund is built on a Public-Private-Partnership model, one that is completely new and has instilled the support of the Gates Foundation. I am glad that there is increased attention from both within Japan and from the international community.

Saturday the 23rd, was the second day of this conference. Member of the House of Councillors, Keizo Takemi, gave an eloquent speech, followed by panel discussions. The day ended with my closing remarks.

In this way, this week was filled with events related to the G7 Summit and global health. Last November, I gave a lecture at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, where there are research groups focused on the G8 and the G20. This year’s publication by the G7 Research Group, which will be distributed at the G7 Summit, includes my commentary on global health.

It was indeed a busy week with many events.



Last year, I meant to share with you my trip to Vancouver in between my trips to Seattle on December 1st and Toronto on December 6th but it seemed to have slipped my mind.

My apologies for the delay to Consulate General Okada and many others who looked after me during my stay in Vancouver. Below is the report of my trip.

On the evening of November 11th, I arrived at Vancouver from Seattle. This was my third visit to Vancouver but the last time was already around ten years ago.

From here, I will be traveling to Toronto and Ottawa. This lecture series was planned over two years by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada which invited me as a speaker. The topic of my talk is Japan’s role in facing issues of global health.

On the next day, the weather was heavy rain and a stark contrast to that of Seattle.

I arrived at the campus of the prestigious University of British Columbia. I gave a lecture at the Irving Barber Learning Center for approximately 90 minutes. Consul General Okada kindly moderated my talk.

Consul General Okada is a great speaker and he was deeply involved in the planning of TICAD4 (1),  that was held in Yokohama in 2008 under Prime Minister Fukuda. At that time, I was the chairman of the first Noguchi Hideo Africa Prize and the award ceremony was held at TICAD4.

I met with Professor Shigenori Matsui who has been teaching here for the past ten years, as well as a medical doctor who was trained in Japan. She is currently studying here.

From the afternoon, I attended a dinner at the Consulate General. The Consulate General building is one of the oldest historical buildings in the area and is very beautiful. Consul General Okada did not have experience in Africa prior to organizing the 2008 TICAD but he asked to work at the Japanese Embassy in Kenya following TICAD. We discussed issues in Africa and were able to exchange many opinions.

Both of the two days during my stay were rainy, sadly, but they were very fruitful.

On November 13th, I left for Toronto.

From London to Washington


On Sunday February 8th, I flew from Haneda to London to speak as a panelist on the Opening Plenary Panel for the Chatham House conference, Ageing and Health.

I took the Heathrow Express for the first time and it was smooth and quite convenient. It was a beautiful Sunday and many people were outside enjoying the weather in Green Park and Hyde Park, near the Flemont Mayfair Hotel, where I stayed this time. After a stroll in the park, I met with some of the panelists in the hotel lobby to discuss the next day’s panel. In the evening I had dinner at Ye Grapes with a friend.

The next morning, I had breakfast at the office of British friends of mine. Afterwards, I went to Chatham House and waited for the conference to begin. It was quite a good conference. I spoke frankly, emphasizing the importance of taking measures against dementia and praised the UK leadership for taking serious action through the G8 Dementia Summit. I had the chance to meet many people and enjoyed the conference. During the lunch break, I had the pleasure of visiting Dr. Cheetham’s (1) flat for a bit, located just in front of St. James’s Square near Chatham House. He had also just arrived that morning, from the US. In the afternoon, there was a Royal Society-related meeting. Dinner was at Le Boudin Blanc, right next to Ye Grapes from the evening before.

The following day, I headed to Heathrow to fly to Washington D.C.. I landed at Dulles airport around 3pm in the afternoon but it was too late for my next appointment so I had to cancel over the phone. I went directly to my hotel in Bethesda.

The next day was full, starting at the National Institute of Health in the morning for the second day of the US version of the Legacy Event that was held in Japan last November and then followed by the fourth conference of the World Dementia Council (1, 2). A few people from the Ministry of Health and the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology participated from Japan. They gave a presentation on the “New Orange Plan.” In the afternoon, I returned to the hotel for the fourth conference of the World Dementia Council. There was also another meeting in the room next door for conference-related people. It was a long conference day but we were able to have a productive exchange of views and discuss the March conference in Geneva.

In the evening, I attended a dinner with young people from the Ministry of Health and the Japanese Embassy. The next day, I headed to the airport early, taking an indirect flight with one stop in Chicago and landed at Narita Airport in the afternoon of the 13th.

The past six days were packed with discussions on the issues of ageing society and dementia in Tokyo, London and D.C..

Keynote speech at KPMG with Ms. Mitsuru Chino


Last year, on November 27th, I tweeted the following:

“This morning, I attended a conference with KPMG at Roppongi Midtown. The first day of the conference began with lectures by me and Ms. Mitsuru Chino of Itochu Corporation, followed by a dialogue by us two. It was very fun. I wonder what the audience thought of our talks and would love to get some feedback.”

The two-day KPMG conference had a wonderful program that began with my keynote speech and a talk by Ms. Mitsuru Chino, with whom I have been friends for many years, followed by our dialogue.

I was delighted to be invited to speak at such a conference, especially because the audience members were of completely different backgrounds. My talk was titled, “The changing world, the future path of Japan, your choices.”

Ms. Chino’s talk, “Thinking about creating your own value” was exceptional.

The conference was well summarized in this KPMG On-line newsletter.

Ms. Chino and I both lived in Los Angeles with our families at the same time (of course, Ms. Chino was a young school child at that time). We have also attended the World Economic Forum in Davos a couple of times.

It is a bit longer but the summary of the entire conference can also be viewed here.

I thoroughly enjoyed the forum, thanks to Ms Chino and KPMG.

Visits to the UK in October and November – 2


more photos→ (1)(2

After returning from London, I gave a speech at the international conference for the Red Cross in Fukushima, met with Peter Piot, and participated in many lectures. It was November before I knew it.

I participated in the World Dementia Council’s Legacy Event Japan for the entire program on both November 5th and 6th. On the 7th, the OECD-HGPI held an event that focused on the activities of private sector companies and NGOs.

I have written in my previous entry up to this point.

On November 10th, I flew to London again. This time it was for a board meeting for the GHIT fund. It was held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, of which Peter Piot is the President. It is a prestigious university with a long tradition. Dr Piot is from Belgium, this reflects the strength of the UK, where people in the top positions are recruited regardless of nationality.

Similarly, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England is Canadian. This has received much attention around the world and is likely to increase global trust in the institution.

On the evening of my arrival, we had dinner at Bocca Di Lupo. The Vice President of the Royal Society, and a friend of mine, Anthony Cheetman also attended the dinner.

The next day, after finishing the board meeting, I attended a public event by GHIT Fund hosted by the Embassy of Japan as well as a reception at the Embassy in the afternoon.

I gave the closing remarks. It required much thought, as it had to convey to the audience and hosts the main message of the event as well as the remarks of the panelists and speakers. I decided to focus on two past winners of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize, the only award given by the Japanese government: Brian Greenwood (1), the keynote speaker of the event and first person to receive the award, and Peter Piot, who was the chairperson of the panel at the event and the second person to receive the award. Both of their partners also made an appearance afterwards and I was happy to see Mrs. Greenwood again after six years.

After this evening event at the Embassy, GHIT board members were invited to dinner at the Ambassador’s residence. I am grateful to Ambassador and Mrs Hayashi as well as the people of the Embassy for the entire evening events

The Poppy Installation at the Tower of London was on at the time and it was a shame that I was unable to go see it.

Visits to the UK in October and November – 1


Over these past two months, I have had the opportunity to be involved with the UK on several occasions.

At the beginning of October, I served as a panelist at a conference held by Chatham House and the Japan Foundation.

Chatham House is a world-renowned British think tank. I have visited and worked with them many times.

Last year, Chatham House launched a five-year seminar series in cooperation with the Japan Foundation. This year was the second conference, entitled, “The Role of the Nation State in Addressing Global Challenges: Japan-UK Perspectives.” I was invited to be a speaker on the “Fukushima” panel held on the second day. The panel chair was Sir David Warren, who was the British Ambassador to Japan at the time of the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami in 2011. I was also asked to write an essay for the conference and will introduce it here on my blog when it has been published.

In mid-October, I was in London, my last trip there having been in April. It was for the third meeting of the World Dementia Council (WDC) . Similar to the first meeting, it was held in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I briefly touched upon documents provided by the Japanese government in preparation for the WDC Legacy Event Japan, which will be held in Japan in November. However, since I am not the representative of Japan, I focused on participating in the discussion as an independent board member.

Also in London, I had the chance to meet up with a few young people, whom I have worked with in the past.

After returning to Japan, I met with the Senior Partner of BLP, Mr Paisner, who has participated in the IBA Tokyo twice. He was well received at the GRIPS Forum, with a turnout of around 200 students and faculty members.

Before I knew it, it was the end of October and I welcomed Professor Peter Piot, the Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (this is only comprised of a graduate school) to give a lecture at the GHIT.

Thirty-eight years ago, he discovered Ebola in the Congo and was awarded the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize (it is the only award given by the Japanese government and I am the Chairperson of the prize committee). It was very busy, with over seventy organizations at the press conference, countless questions asked on Ebola and many other lectures to give.

In my spare time, I had the opportunity to meet with people from British companies in London and in Tokyo.

Legacy Event Japan: Dementia Summit in Japan


The World Dementia Council (WDC) (1) was launched last year in the UK at the G8 Summit. Until now, the Council has met three times, in London, Paris and London, with the Legacy Event being held in London in June, in Ottawa in September and in Japan on November 5-7th.

As a Council member, I have had many roles, including giving a speech at the opening ceremony, as you can see from my website and my twitter, at the Lagacy Event Japan of November.

I was pleased that the first day was even more successful than I had anticipated, due to the strong will and leadersip of the UK government and the ongoing events that were held five times over the past six months in London, Paris and Ottawa, allowing members to share many experiences. The Japanese government and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, who were the hosts of the event this time around, were also very pleased.

On the second day, both Minister Shiozaki and Prime Minister Abe spoke at the event, pledging a strong, ministry-wide commitment to dealing with dementia. I had the pleasure of presenting Dennis Gillings, the WDC Special Envoy, who spoke via video message as he could not be present at the event. After opening remarks were given by Mark Walport, the Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Prime Minister and an old friend of mine, as well as by the World Health Organization (WHO), the panel commenced.

The first two-days of the event in Tokyo were comprised not only of presentations and panels by experts but also by people with dementia themselves; thus, it was evaluated very highly by people in the field from the participating countries.

On the third day, there were government-organized events held in Tokyo, Nagoya and Kyoto. In Tokyo, one of the events was a TED Talk-style presentation, led by my Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI), in cooperation with the OECD okyo office and ten private companies and NGOs that are independent from governments. The presentation included the topics of city planning and the potential use of robots. It was a huge success.

This kind of “social investment,” in which multi-talented people and stakeholders from different backgrounds actively come together, will play a key role for society in the decades to come.

The UK government has displayed a strong commitment to tackling this problem and the British Embassy held two other events in parallel to this Legacy Event, including a dementia workshop led by young people on the second day and a meeting of Japanese and British pharmaceutical companies and ventures on the third day, both of which I attended.

I am incredibly impressed by the will of the British government, as well as their imagination, strategy and implementation in dealing with dementia.