Blog post

  On May 18, the Global Risk Workshop organized by the World Economic Forum was held at Roppongi Academy Hills with some 80 people.  In spring, 2009, Global Risk Workshop was held and I participated.  This time, the scale of the workshop was much bigger with more people, as it was very relevant after the earthquake, tsunami and  nuclear emergency starting on March 11. 

  Prof. Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum made an opening remarks, followed by the remarks by Yukio Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretary.  I had met with Prof. Schwab earlier in the week at the reception at the Swiss Embassy. I expressed my appreciation to him for coming all the way to Tokyo at this time (I know that he has been very supportive of Japan neral over the past several decades.)  I also discussed with him that the younger generation who would live in new Japan frm now should be the main members of the committee to rebuild and redesign, rather than thhe current ones with experience and expertise.  My view is that those with experience and expertise can play the role of supporters  to help the younger generation to plan and implement, rather than them being the main players. 

  After Mr. Edano’s speech, Prof. Schwab asked for the questions from the floor.  As there was none (which made it rather awkward as there was a silence!), I asked that very question, namely, “I realize that the committee consists of those with experiences, but do you plan to engage younger generation who would live  in new Japan?”  His response was that there were two schools of thoughts in deciding the composition of the committee, one of which was engagement of the younger generation. We decided to engage the young generation as those who would plan details and implement them, rather than assign them as members of the committee itself. ” (I believe this is more or less what he said.  –I was quite nervous!)

  Afterwards, I felt that I could have asked him in Japanese (as he is Japanese) rather than English (I did not think much about it) and I could have asked him more directly and straightforward.  But my view after all is that I am satisfied with what I did as it was what Iwanted to say.  (I could work on how to ask more strightforward etc. next time!)

  Then after Mr. Edano and others left, we started the main part of the workshop, based upon the explanation of the Global Risk Report 2011 by  Kevin Steinberg, COO of Risk Response Network (RNN) of the WEF.  Each one of us selected 3 items out of 37 items covered in the Global Risk  Report and based upon the result, we started the general discussion, moderated by Prof. Heizo Takenaka in  interactive Davos style.

  Several good comments were raised during the general discussion and we started breakout sessions in several groups.  I was one of the disucssion leaders and we discussed What was good and not good for 3/11 in two sectors–private/people and government/public in the first breakout session.  After report-back from each group, we had general discussion which raised several key issues of communication, role of media, leadership, decision making at the time of crisis.  

  In the second breakout  session, we discussed what we should do short-term and long-term.  There were many good ideas raised and we also talked about specific action plans.  I proposed 1) planning some event in Tohoku supported by us and by the companies  2) the need for each one of us present at the workshop to express our view and communicate to the world.  That is why I write blog everyday both in Japanese and in English.  I wanted to capitalize on the need we felt at the workshop for better communication.  It is based upon my belief that communication starts with each one of us, IN ADDITION To that by the government and by the private sector.

  It was intensive 4-hour long workshop, which exhausted me.  But it was a great way to spend the afternoon.  Ideas are discussed and developed. It is now time for us to translate them to action  leading to some tangible benefits!

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