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Yesterday, I took early flight to Fukuoka to spend a whole day there. (I came back very late, and thus wrote only one sentence last night on my blog.)  The official objective of the visit was to serve as coordinator of the main opening panel at the West Japan Productivity Conference held in Fukuoka.  (In fact, I served as coordinator of the panel before at one of the same conference held in Nagoya a few years ago.)

As I knew and had some contact several years ago with the start-up/innovation initiative in Fukuoka area, I asked my friend, Manae Uchibori, whom I met earlier and is from Fukuoka, for help me arrange meeting with people and visit at interesting places before and after the main conference.

Manae met me at the airport and took me to Fukuoka Directive council to meet with several people there.  I also met with Dr. Nakamura, CEO of Shikumi Design Inc.  I found our meeting with Dr. Nakamura extremely interesting and got very excited about the art/technology projects they have been involved.

We then went to Fukuoka growth Next, very nice incubation/start-up ?office space renovated from the grade school.  The space is very nice and I could tell that many start-ups would be excited to join the community there.  Meeting with Uchida san, Manager of Business Development Division of FGN was very useful.

I then went to the luncheon for the officers and panelists/speakers at the venue of the West Japan Productivity Conference.  The opening plenary panel was with three panelists. Mr. Harimoto of TOTO, Mr. Omi of Japanese Trade Union Confederation(Rengo) and Mr. Takahashi of Japan Research Institute.  The panel was quite long (2 hours) with no Q & A from the floor, but three panelists made interesting remarks as to where Japan is now positioned in the world, how we can create new value, while improving productivity in the face of declining working population etc.

After our panel, I listened to Mr. T. Seko, Executive Advisor of Yokohama DeNA Running club about his experience and outlook for Olympics 2020. I joined the reception briefly, and  then went to dinner with people I met earlier in the day.  It was casual talk with interesting perspectives, which made me explore the way to involve them in the initiatives I do in Tokyo such as SINCA and Global Agenda Seminar series.  I rushed to the airport to catch the 9:00 pm flight back to Haneda. It was a LONG day and I was quite exhausted, particularly, it was just two days since I came back from Vancouver.  It was very exciting and inspiring, nonetheless.  I am scheduled to come back to Fukuoka in November, and hope there will be more opportunities to collaborate.

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