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G1 Global Conference 2011 entitled “Rebirth of Japan after 3/11” was held on November 3  at GLOBIS University Tokyo Campus.  It was the first “G1 Global” (though G1 Summit was launched in 2009 and held every year thereafter) . It was the first time for me to be invited.

G1 Summit began under the initiative and leadership of Yoshito Hori, President & Dean of GLOBIS University and Managing Partner of GLOBIS Capital Partners.   The  objective was “to create a cross-sectional forum that offers leaders in japan the opportunities to share ideas and to learn from one another on a wide range of topics….” (from the Message from the Chair, G1 Global)

G1 Global Conference 2011 was  created to “bring a global outlook on the prospects for a rebirth of Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11.” (again from the Message)  Many global leaders were invited and discussion on challenges and opportunities continued throughout the day for topics ranging from Changing Balance of Power in Asia to Cool Japan.

Overall I was very impressed with the quality of panelists and that of discussion.  What impressed me most, however,  was the very active interaction with the audience.  I felt it was one of the typical international conferences where people expressed their views, asked questions and many interactions took place. Many new ideas and insights were generated, and exchanged.  I wondered where I was–I almost thought I could be in NYC(where I was the week before) or Abu Dhabi (where I was three weeks before).  Usually the conference held in Japan lacks energy, enthusiasm and active interaction when conducted in English.  But use of English without translation at G1 Global Conference was very natural and created no obstacles, it seemed.

I was privileged to serve as a moderator of one of the panel discussions entitled “TPP and Free Trade”.  As TPP had been the “hot” issue these days and was mentioned many times in the morning sessions of G1 Global Conference, I was looking forward to the panel. Thanks to the excellent panelists with extensive experiences in trade negotiations and research on trade,  we were very fortunate to have good discussion.  (I dare to say!)  Panelists included Deborah Elms of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Glen Fukushima of Air Bus, Vachara Phanchet, Chairman Emeritus of PBEC and Kaname  Tajima, member of the House of Representatives.

What I had planned to do was to get the facts out first, as there were so many confusing remarks and (sometimes very emotional) views reported in media and I wanted to start from facts.  For that purpose, our panel was ideal as they were able to provide historical perspectives, what really happens in the trade negotiations etc. what we can expect from TPP realistically, etc.   Questions from the floor were good and the interactions lively.  But my panel was no exception in the course of the day, as many other panel discussions and plenary sessions were interactive, to the point and lively.

After the official program, reception was held at the nearby hotel.  In the course of the day, I met with some old friends whom I have not seen for some time and had the opportunity to meet with new friends.  Particularly I was delighted that some young people came up to me and introduced themselves, said they have read my book and or column, watched my program on satellite TV etc.  I always feel very happy when people (whom I have never met in person) come to me and tell me about my book, seminar, TV program etc.  It is very nice feedback and give me energy to continue however busy I am.

I had to leave in the middle of the reception as I was to moderate yet another seminar with Nik Gowing of BBC at Roppongi Academy Hills. (It was very inspiring and exciting and I will report more in my next entry.)  All in all, the national holiday, November 3, was such an exciting and inspiring day for me.  It is much better to get inspiration and hope for better future on  national holiday than just sleep in or do nothing!

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