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  Recently a series of events have made me think about what we can do for the country we are from. 

  The first was the talk by Major General Bansho of Ministry of Defense. He headed the first contingent of Ground Self-Defense Force troops to Iraq in 2004 and  talked extensively about his experiences in Iraq, many of which have been new to me. In particular, I was struck by the distance (physical, psychological, mental) between Iraq and Japan.  We often discuss the importance of being in the field, and having direct experience in the field.  I have become even more convinced of the importance of actually “being there.”  I do not think we can over-emphasize the importance of it, in the era of Information & Communication Technology.

   What was inspiring for me, in addition, was he began his talk with the mission of the Ministry, SDF, and members of the SDF  being “Defending the beautiful country of Japan”. I always wondered about the difference I perceive between the respect people have for those who serve the country (and thus protect us) in the U.S. etc. and in Japan.       

  Another incident which made me think about the importance of what we do for our country is the comment  by the members who initiated the  open-source type of collaboration for the book, “Yoshiharu Habu and Modern Shogi”.   One of them said that he wants to make the first draft open and public, in order to turn the Japanese web-world into more positive and constructive place.  I interpreted his comment as his dedication and effort to make our country a  better place for us all. (This is my interpretation and he may not have felt that strongly.) I was very impressed.

  Last, but not least, is series of discussion in my course on Competitiveness. We had several case studies of the  countries/regions–namely, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, in their journey to economic development and prosperity. In addition to discussing and comparing/contrasting actions to improve competitiveness and to promote economic development of these case studies, we often reflected on our own countries.  The discussion has made all of us think about what we can do for our country, which is much broader than focusing on business and profitability. 

  We can now ask ourselves, as President John F. Kennedy asked in his inaugural address

 “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”   

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  1. It has been one of the best articles i have checked out. It was very informative.Looking ahead for more blogs of this in near coming future

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