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  Recently the result of the survey was announced by the Prime Minister’s office on the public interest and expectations about Science & Technology. Compared with the previous survey done in 2004, those who said they were interested in S & T topped 60%, the highest since the survey began. There was an increasing interest and expectation of S & T as the means to resolve global issues such as global environmental issues and to improve Japan’s international competitiveness.

  I have been very much interested in the role S & T plays in business strategy, my field of expertise, over the past several years. It is because in the era of ICT and rapid technological progress, knowledge of S & T is indispensable to develop strategic alternatives for business. Thus I invited engineers and scientists to my class, and tried to have as many encounters as possible with scientists and engineers.

 As I was appointed to be a Vice President of Science Council of Japan in 2005 for a year, I was given a tremendous opportunity to meet with scientists throughout the world and get to know excitement around S & T.

 I became convinced of the significance of S & T as the foundation to develop logical thinking, experiment etc. etc. In the course of meeting with and interacting with scientists in diverse disciplines (in particular, natural sciences), I became aware of the fact that there are so many things we do not know, attempt at discovery and pursuit of new knowledge always comes with the risk. It taught me that the more we know the more aware we become of what we do not know, and that we cannot explore the universe unless we are willing to take a risk.  These things may be obvious and common sense for many people, but for me, they were so refreshing and so inspiring. 

 I also became aware of the important role S & T plays to make various new products and services we benefit possible, through my job of being a member of Council for Science & Technology Policy recently.  This appointment has given me more opportunities in the field of S & T. 

 As I am teaching the course on problem solving right now, I became more sensitive to the need and importance of logical thinking. I became convinced that S & T forms such a foundation to logical thinking and thus for everybody, and not only for the few people. Logical thinking and scientific approach based upon facts, reasoning and experiments is indispensable in today’s world where we are inundated with so much information, where changes are fast-paced and of much bigger magnitude. It makes us identify the underlying problems behind symptoms and phenomenon, think about their reasons and causes and form our own conclusions logically and explain our views to others in a simple way. 

  We all have so many questions when we are very young. My very young friends who live in the same apartment complex ask me every time we meet, “What did you do?” “Why do you go jogging in the park every morning?” We also have many questions ourselves. Sometimes, we realize we do not know the real meaning of some issues even though we often talk about it. What is sub-prime problem? What is nano-technology? What is DNA? etc. I think the base of S & T is to continue having questions, challenging the “common sense” ”the way it has been done here” and to try to seek the answers ourselves.  I think S & T is such an exciting field and for all of us, and not just for few people.

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