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The third and the last day of the World Economic Forum for East Asia began with Japan Round table breakfast session.  It was a new attempt to discuss Japan (as far as I know) with the business leaders of Japan (Mr. Nishida of Toshiba and Mr. Kojima of Mitsubishi Corporation representing the Keidanren), and the policy makers and business leaders of  Asian countries. Moderated by Heang Chhor, of McKinsey, it began with the opening remarks by the minister of Indonesia, followed by comments by the policy makers representing Malaysia, Korea, etc., expressing the support to Japan (in particular, business community of Japan).

As I was very impressed with the speech by President Yudhoyono the night before at the dinner with three clear messages–1) appreciating of the continued effort of the World Economic Forum  2) support for Japan which was struck by the disasters and 3) hope for the collaboration capitalizing on the high potential of Indonesia–, I thought this format of almost 50/50 non-Japanese and Japanese representation was excellent.

Mr. Nishida made a pitch for Japan mainly from the tourism point of view, and Mr. Kojima discussed the specific plan for rebuilding Tohoku area  into a model region.  Then some free discussion followed.

I then participated in the only one Work Studio session held at this Forum. (This type of brainstorming is my favorite format as  I can participate then and there.)  I joined the group with the question “Whether the China model which is different from the Communism or the Market Capitalism  can sustain in the globalized world?”  The discussion was very interesting, though short.

The next was Job Creation session which was close to my heart as I had been working on the Skills and Talent Mobility council in the past few years.  The panelists included Gita Wirjawan, Chairman of BKPM, Indonesia among others and moderated by my friend, Annie Koh.  I have been very much impressed with Gita since I saw him at the East Asia Forum last year and at St.Gallen.  It was a great opportunity for me to meet with him.

Thailand  lunch hosted by the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajjiva of Thailand was informative and fun. (No wonder, as I love Thai food!)   East Asia Forum 2012 will be held in Thailand.

In the afternoon, I attended two technology related  sessions–one on Social Media and the other on Technology & Innovation.  I found the discussion on Social media very intriguing as it seemed that the emerging economies in Asia in particular,  have much more potential for making the use of social media than the established economies, as demographics, absence of legacy systems and technology and culture around privacy etc. favor them.  The issue remains with education etc., but both sessions gave me hope for the future in this region. The link to the sessions on webcast is given.   For the sessions on the record, you can find the session summaries at the WEF website.

The closing  plenary session was moderated by Prof. Schwab with 5 co-chairs of the Forum entitled “Responding to the New Globalism” and the Director General of the WTO.     For some reasons, I have had difficulty understanding the remarks by the Director General of the WTO (not only this time, but also on other occasions), as it seemed to be too philosophical and over my head.

The closing remarks was made by the Prime Minister of Thailand and the 36-hour (to be exact, it is more like 54-hour including private sessions etc.) Forum came to an end.

It was stimulating and exciting 2.5 day Forum  in the exciting city of Jakarta, full of energy and hope.  I would love to come back again and see how the country makes the  journey to more prosperity, equality and sustainable society.   I am very impressed with the hospitality of people there.  It was too short!

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