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December 19, 2013


As the year is about to end, the shocking news of the cold-blooded execution of Chang Song-theak who was regarded as holding North Korea’s number 2 position after Kim Jong-un as well as being the latter’s mentor shook the world. Meanwhile in Japan, the people’s attention are currently focused on the investigation of the scandal involving the Governor of Tokyo, Naoki Inose, borrowing 50 million yen in cash from the scandal-tainted Tokushukai hospital group just prior to him running as a candidate for the Tokyo gubernatorial election last year. In the midst of such, the state of affair which will sway Japan’s future is gradually coming to the surface. The Abe cabinet which was formed a year ago has been enjoying a relative popularity in its own way among the people mainly owing to “Abenomics,” the economic policy the prime minister is advocating to revitalize Japan. However, I sense that the Abe administration has finally started to assess its main intention of bringing about “nationalism.”

The numerous protest demonstrations against the passage of the state secret protection bill that broke out throughout the nation was probably beyond what the heads of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party anticipated as symbolized by Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba’s rather indiscreet comment that, “Shouting protests are no different from terrorism.” Despite fierce resistance from the opposition party members, this bill was pushed through the diet by sheer force of the ruling coalition parties’ majority vote on December 6th, the last day of the diet session. Furthermore, together with the adoption of the National Security Strategy earlier this week, new defense guidelines and programs are being implemented by the cabinet members. In an era when Japan’s security environment is becoming increasingly severe, the country’s preparedness to react immediately and appropriately in case a national crisis threatening the integrity of Japan strikes is rapidly taking on concrete shape.

As I observe the current circumstances, I cannot help myself from harboring extremely complicated feelings since I have experienced Japan before WWII which has some resemblance to what is going on now. As long as the present constitution recognizes the right of self defense, the government should be prepared to take necessary countermeasures both legally as well as pragmatically in case of a national emergency which threatens the peace and security of the country. It must also be recognized that the policy of depending on the U.S. forces to defend Japan by being under the safety protection umbrella of the U.S. was not encouraging Japan to realistically confront the national security issues. Assuming that the Japanese people have finally come to the point in time to seriously consider realistic “self-defense policies,” is the Abe administration a credible entity to entrust this enormous task with? I cannot affirm this question without hesitation. This disturbs me at the time of the year end.


December 3, 2013


The above-caption is the title of my speech which I gave at the “Nikkei Business New Business Creation Support Forum” held last Friday morning at Nikkei Hall. The forum’s targeted audience was top executives of small and medium sized companies. In my lecture, I candidly spoke of my experience not as a university professor but as the top who has maintained an incorporated private office in downtown Tokyo for half a century.

The dream I cherished since my boyhood to become an aeronautic engineer surpassing my father perished when the Aeronautic Department of the University of Tokyo was closed in accordance with the policy of the allied forces occupying Japan after World War II. This inevitably led me to change my major from natural science to humanities. Back then, what fascinated me were the entrepreneurs who started robust business activities in various fields at a time when operation of large firms were encountering huge restrictions which were being enforced by the occupational force’s policies. In order to learn more about the emerging trend, I attended the lecture titled “Outline of Business Administration” at the university as an auditor but it, to my disappointment, turned out to be an “anatomy of dead corporations.” However, this encouraged me to strengthen my interest in “firms that are dynamically in action.”

After graduating from the university, I should have become one of the entrepreneurs that made my heart throb but was unexpectedly retained at the institution as a fellowship researcher. But as a researcher, the target of my interest has consistently been on “firms that are operating dynamically.” I left the University of Tokyo as it was definitely hindering my research theme pursuit and moved to Rikkyo University. But university, after all, is a university. I was dissatisfied with the geographical location, the undersized office and rules limiting how it can be used. Moreover, I was frustrated with the restriction that I could not freely hire my exclusive collaborators with whom I can jointly pursue the research. Under such circumstances, I decided to set up my own private office as a necessary base to enhance my activities not only as a scholar but as an educator as well.

After my speech at the forum last week, two students who attended my university seminar long ago and who have now become respectable business executives came to greet me. As we were having lunch together, I was overcome with tremendous joy when they mentioned that, “Your lectures during our university student years proved really useful when we joined the industrial sector.” They are the very living witnesses of a university professor who specializes in “firms dynamically in action.” “Be infinitely unique,” is the perpetual ironclad rule for small and medium sized firms to succeed as size does not matter in being unique and many leading firms started out as small but unique firms.


November 25, 2013


For a person like me who do not personally trust many of the diet members who are elected via “democratic” procedures, I am especially anxious as to the effect of the “Specified secrets protection bill” which is on a steady path to be passed by the lower house. However the lawmakers who are actively promoting the bill may defend its legitimacy, I am certain that the implementation of this legislation inevitably will shift the Japanese society’s trend where the statesmen’s power to oppress the people’s freedom of speech will further increase. This is from the perspective of a person who has thoroughly experienced the suffocation which prevailed in Japan during prewar nationalism.

Since ancient times, the Greek had perceived democracy as something that will sooner or later degrade into “mobocracy” due to the deterioration of the lawmakers. This being the case, I have had a keen interest with regards to the transition of democracy since it was forced on Japan after defeat in World War II. Although it was an “adopted democracy,” I think its deterioration process was not as fast as anticipated. However, the rapid economic growth of the 70’s which was brought about by successive lucks ended and this was followed by the burst of the bubble economy which was brought on by the arrogance of the political leaders who have degraded in both professional capability and human respectability together with the conceit of the people who felt they were nouveau riches. These failures have resulted in the prolonged “second defeat” period which still continues to this day.

During this period, the developments in world affairs, global politics and economy have unfortunately turned out adverse to Japan’s interest. In particular, the last few years saw the worsening of the diplomatic relationships with neighboring countries. Specifically, Japan is in territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands and with South Korea, Japan faces a compensation issue to those who were forced to work as comfort woman before the war. Right at such a crucial moment, the Abe administration which is considered as the most rightist after World War II came into being and the politicians are saying and doing things which provoke the people to no purpose but for the sake to assert their own presences.

As I wrote in Rapport ? 905, I made my appeal in the above context boldly, loudly and candidly as a keynote speaker at the commemorative event in Busan. The enthusiastic response from the South Korean audience which filled the hall still continues to encourage me. Wherever the country may be, the people are the victims of inept politicians.


November 14, 2013


When I come across recent news such as the falsification of maintenance data by Japan Railway Hokkaido (which came to light after a series of mishaps) and the falsifications of menu descriptions by prestigious department stores and hotels (using ingredients cheaper than described on their menus), I, for some reason, think of Peter Drucker. One summer, more than 40 years ago, I visited a lodge in Estes Park, a summer resort in the state of Colorado, upon Peter’s invitation. After spending the previous evening in delightful conversation, the weather next day was so invitingly lovely that we decided to walk the mountain trail nearby together upon Peter’s suggestion.

To be more specific, the mountain trail was akin to a hiking path where the visitors can casually enjoy the breathtaking panoramic scenery. As my legs were trained to climb high mountains as a member of the alpine club during my student years, I kept walking at a much higher pace than the tall Peter who had longer strides. I thus slowed down to a leisurely pace so he can catch up with me but still, Peter called on me from behind so that we can take short breaks. It was during one of these breaks as we sat to marvel the superb landscape. Peter squat in front of me and as he grabbed the branch of a tree that had fallen nearby, he drew a circle on the ground with it and put a dot in the middle. He looked up at me with a smile and asked, “What do you think this is?”

As soon as he saw me shake my head, he said, “Organization chart is hazardous.” He continued, “Since organization chart is shaped like a mountain, the president who presides at the summit tends to think that he knows the foot of the hill best but this is an extreme deception. That is why I advise the presidents that instead of being at the top of the mountain, they are actually confined in the middle of a ball.” As he was saying this, he sunk the branch at the dot which was in the middle of the circle as if to say here. He further took the branch and traced the inside of the circle repeatedly with all his might as he emphasized that, “The bigger the organization, the thicker the wall of the globe.”

I cannot forget the powerfulness Peter exhibited at the time since he is usually a gentle and good humored person. It was a moment when I woke up to one of the reasons why the presidents of leading companies from all over the world flock to listen to Peter who has never been a president himself. The recent nationwide falsification scandals tainting the reputation of notable firms in Japan are proving Peter’s assertion. The presidents of these companies are being locked up in globes that they cannot actually grasp what the in-house subordinates and workers are engaged in, especially those that are deplorable.


November 5, 2013


Controversial discussions regarding lawmaker Taro Yamamoto directly handing a letter to Emperor Akihito during the annual autumn Imperial Palace garden party has been erupting in the media and over the internet among noted as well as ordinary individuals but opinion backing lawmaker Yamamoto’s deed as appropriate is virtually nil. It was surprising that even Mayor Toru Hashimoto of Osaka City, notorious for extreme comments, expressed his severe criticism. Unless there is a law to legitimately punish such outrageous conduct, “rationality” will eventually have to retreat if lawmaker Yamamoto does not understand the extent of his discourtesy and repent.

Actor Taro Yamamoto announced his intention to run as a candidate for the upper house election this past summer as an independent and was elected by the Tokyo residents (the electoral district he ran in) by securing 670 thousand votes as he advocated his anti-nuclear campaign. In other words, he must have a lot of supporters and as long as he does, there is a high risk of him to engage in eccentric “performance-like” actions to get attention to his claim. As the Greek had said from ancient times that the tragic fate of democracy is mobocracy, I was more or less resigned that the future prospect of democracy may not be so bright. However, the human qualities requisite for members of the diet, the most authoritative body of power governing Japan, have continued to deteriorate over the past 30 years to my dismay and as symbolized by lawmaker Yamamoto, their morale are in a pitifully abysmal state as they stand now.

During Japan’s economic recovery and rapid growth period after World War II, being a member of the diet was a relatively respected profession. Thus, those who ran as candidates had noble aspirations about bettering the country as well as improving the lives of ordinary citizens so the people themselves were “relatively” in earnest about electing the best candidate who would represent them. However, as Japan built a highly industrialized society, the option of attractive professions has been on a continual rise while the popularity of “diet member” as a profession has drastically decreased. To put it in extreme terms, the majority of the current diet members are either offspring of politicians who make politics their family business or those the politicians fostered since youth so that they can eventually pursue political careers. Or worse yet, the post of a diet member have even degraded to a “one-shot game” to those who have dropped out from a decent occupation as a last resort to make a living.

On a related topic, I had the opportunity to visit numerous local municipalities in the Tohoku region when I was the President of Miyagi (Prefectural) University. On such occasions, I realized that many of the leaders heading the small regional municipalities were endowed with not only fine personality and appearance but were highly respected by the residents to lead the community owing to their vision and achievements as politicians. Therefore, the problem is the diet members. In order to revitalize democracy, a sweeping reform is absolutely necessary as to how the diet members are elected into office but the very entity which is preventing this to take place is the diet members themselves. Alas!


October 22, 2013


I visited Seoul and Busan end of last week on a business trip. The most memorable recollections are the energetic interview by the reporter of the Chosunilbo newspaper and the conversation I had with the students who visited my waiting room after I gave a keynote speech at the event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Busan as a metropolitan city. At both occasions, thanks to the immaculate translation of Professor Cho, Woo-Jin (Tama University) who is like my son, I was greatly impressed by the magnitude of the warm approval the South Korean people expressed toward my candid view of the deteriorating relations between Japan and South Korea. It really did exceed my expectation by far.

At both aforementioned occasions, I started out by saying, “At a time like this when relationship between Japan and South Korea is becoming extremely hostile, Japanese who are requested to give a speech in South Korea will normally either decline the offer or visit South Korea hesitantly but I am different. This is because now is the time for me, as one Japanese citizen, to directly voice my perspective in earnest towards the people of South Korea. So I came here with much enthusiasm.” As an individual who experienced prewar, wartime and postwar Japan vividly, I continued to explain as sincerely as possible as to what I consider is the essential root cause of the recent worsening of the relations between Japan and South Korea together with the drastic reform measures I envision.

The interview request from Chosunilbo newspaper was initially scheduled for 30 minutes at the hotel lobby in the morning. However, as we started to talk, both of us got immersed in the discussion that we proceeded to continue the interview while on the taxi ride from the hotel to Seoul Station and on the station platform until it was time for me to board the South Korean bullet train heading for Busan. It actually ended up being a two and a half hours interview. At the banquet hall of a hotel in Busan where I was to give my speech, I was deeply moved by the intensity of the audience of 300 which resonated in the atmosphere. The audience was there at the invitation of the city of Busan and it represented an assortment of various age groups and profession. After my speech, all the students who were invited visited my waiting room and intently engaged in a serious question and answer session with me which lasted for two hours. As I was about to leave, all of the students lined up in front of the elevator to see me off with overwhelming respect.

Deterioration in relationships between nation states is mainly formed by politicians. We must not be manipulated by the media which magnify this.


October 1, 2013


My father who was a junior high school student in 1903 was greatly inspired with the news of the Wright brothers’ first successful air flight and aspired to specialize in aeromechanics. Although he studied diligently and entered the university’s Physics Department, he, to his disappointment, found out that there was no specialist in the field of aeromechanics even at the (former) Imperial Universities during the end of the Meiji era (1868 - 1912). Upon graduation, he thus joined the Naval Technology Research Institute and went to Germany as an overseas student on his own will to study aeromechanics. After he returned as the first Japanese with a legitimate aeromechanics’ degree, he joined Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. upon the recommendation of his professor. At the time, the company was about to embark on the development of military aircrafts upon the request of the Japanese military so my father was appointed to Nagoya where the firm’s aircraft manufacturing plant was in operation.

In order to surpass the prevailing aviation technological standard in Japan, my father encouraged the company to employ the very best students as new recruits every year. Furthermore, he sent these new employees to Western countries which were advanced in the field of aviation to expand their aptitude and horizon. As I respected my father deeply, I naturally became an ardent “airplane boy” and my heart throbbed at the “Type 96 carrier-based fighter” (Mitsubishi A5M) and the “Zero fighter” (Mitsubishi A6M Zero) planes. When I learned that the chief designer of these planes was “Jiro Horikoshi” from my father who proudly mentioned the name, he instantly became the hero of my life. Mr. Horikoshi was born in 1903 and his date of birth was the same as mine, June 22nd. Since then, he became my one and only living goal.

After the defeat at World War II, I lost this goal (as Japan was banned from owing or manufacturing aircrafts) and reluctantly chose to become a university professor. Now at 86 years old, I have finally found peace with this path and to my pleasant surprise, learned that “Jiro Horikoshi” is in the limelight as a person of the time since he is featured in the movie “The Wind Rises.” Although I am not an animation film fan, I went to see the movie upon the asking of my wife with a certain amount of expectation. However, after watching the film, I must admit that I was totally infuriated. The main character of the film (i.e. Jiro Horikoshi) is depicted as a frail young man who falls in love and marries a closeted maiden suffering from tuberculosis while he works as a chief designer of aircrafts as soon as he joins the company. This is all fiction based on sheer commercialism. I will not forgive Mr. Hayao Miyazaki who wrote and directed this animated historical fantasy film which actually disgraced Jiro Horikoshi whom I admired as a living legend.


September 17, 2013


Japan commemorated the “Respect for the Aged Day” yesterday. Day before yesterday, that is on Sunday, I received heartwarming congratulatory words from many including my daughter and sons, former students and friends and enjoyed the blessing of longevity.

At present, I am 86 years old and 3 months but I am far from spending my days in leisurely retirement. Fortunately, I will be passing on the baton of the Graduate School of Project Design’s President post to Mr. Tadao Kiyonari next April as the foundation of the school has solidified. This will enable me to embark on establishing a new university. Besides writing publication articles, giving speeches, speaking at radio programs, etc. I must put efforts in polishing my golf skills to become an “age shooter” which is in a slump lately due to work engagements. As an Advisor of Nepal Airlines, President Bhaban Bhatta has been inviting me to visit the Himalayas which has been my long cherished wish and I am currently planning to realize this by the end of this year when the weather of the high peaks stabilize from mid-fall to early winter.

As the percentage of people older than 65 years old constitute 25% of the Japanese population, many experts are voicing their concern regarding the decrease in the “productivity” age bracket. Whenever I encounter such stereotyped comments, I sense pride and confidence as I am busily engaged in work activities every day which only a person who has matured with age can accomplish. By doing so, I believe I am contributing to society which exceeds “productivity” in the conventional context.

When I say that I do not wish to live a long life, many people may be turned off that I have already lived long enough. However, as a person who has witnessed the passing away of many precious friends, one after the other, over the past 10 years, it is not my desire to live on until my remaining friends and all the relatives I can count on decease and be looked upon with contempt as they whisper, “Look, that old man is still alive” behind my back. This I cannot tolerate. I further cannot stand the thought of not having anyone who will miss me or regret my passing away when time comes for me to move on to a higher sphere. I shiver at the abhorring thought of my death being delayed to the point that by the time I get to the other world, I am again left behind by my parents as well as my close friends, those who have already passed away, since they have further moved on to a different other world.


September 9, 2013


Yesterday, Japan reverberated with joy as news broke that the IOC chose Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I, too, was in a good mood as I sat in front of my computer to compose a manuscript which I was asked to write. As it had some reference to Professosr Masao Maruyama (distinguished political scientist and political theorist), I accessed the Internet search engine to reconfirm his background information and came across a written appeal which was titled “I Want to Slap Masao Maruyama” by chance. After reading the piece out of curiosity, I fell into deep contemplation.

The written appeal seems to be a reprint of the article which appeared in the January 2007 issue of the monthly magazine, “Ronza” (published by Asahi Shimbunsha), but it was a first timer for me. The writer is a 31 years old male freeter (term coined by the Japanese to refer to low paid, low skilled part-time workers). After graduating from school, he was unable to find a regular job and still lives with his parents as a parasite single since he cannot financially afford to live on his own. Furthermore, he cannot even dream of getting married and as he increasingly encountered media reports such as, “Freeters are bringing down the country’s GDP,” “Recent youth are unconcerned,” he came to harbor extreme anti-social ideas.

He claims that the so called commonly shared ideology of achieving a peaceful society is forcing the post bubble generation to take responsibility for the current social distortion and is aiming to create a society which is advantageous only to the privileged generation which took part in Japan’s rapid economic growth. This feeling of inequality escalates to the point where he concludes that one of the ways for the post bubble underdog and the current oppressed youth to follow is “rightism.” His extreme perspective continues that if war breaks in Japan, the existing disparity of haves and have-nots will totally collapse and will bring about equality to the country.

Prof. Masao Maruyama who was arrested for ideological offense (as holding ideology opposing those of the state) during World War II is revered highly by my generation as a prominent democratic opinion leader. When he was 30 years old, he was drafted to become a second rank private and was bullied severely by first rank privates who were unable to attend junior high school out of poverty (FYI, Prof. Maruyama is a graduate of the Tokyo Imperial University, Department of Law). The extreme thoughts which drove the aforementioned freeter to assert that if everything overturn with the outbreak of war, the exploited generation he belongs to can stand in a position to slap Masao Maruyama has a resemblance to what the first rank privates did to Prof. Maruyama (i.e. the under privileged taking revenge against the privileged). As I read the appeal which is outrageous, a thought crossed my mind momentarily. It was an uncertainty about whether Japan will be able to retain economic and social stability to host a splendid Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020. Henceforth, this anxiety is likely to grow and increase its reality within me.


August 30, 2013


I departed Haneda Airport on the evening of August 20th, enjoyed my fifth cruise trip vacation of the Mediterranean Sea and just returned from Italy last night. This trip, again, was on the invitation of Mr. Yasuyuki Nanbu (Group CEO of Pasona Group Inc., one of Japan’s leading outplacement agencies) who is a “Mediterranean Sea maniac.” Besides my wife and I, the members consisted of, of course, Mr. Nanbu and his wife, his newly wed eldest son, Makiya, and his wife to enjoy their honeymoon and four other male and female friends including Mr. Bunshi Katsura (the great master of traditional comical story telling). Since the 10 of us are on extremely familiar terms, I felt completely at home during the cruise. As the ship departed from and arrived back at the port of Livorno, I was able to take delight in the lovely scenery of Florence twice, the city of my best choice in the world.

There are two essential factors that constitute the pleasure of cruise trips. First is, needless-to-say, the excellent services provided onboard which include exquisite dining and spectacular entertainment events held on a daily basis and secondly, the different cruise destination ports the ship pulls up to every day where the travelers can explore and intoxicate in the exotic travel experience. However, regardless of how luxurious the passenger ship may be, if it was to sail on rough seas for days on end or if one cannot find any charm in the cruise destination cities, it is obvious that the traveler will be bored to death unless he/she is, say, on the eccentric side.

For a person like me who have experienced various cruise trips both domestically as well as in overseas countries, I come to the conclusion that for cruises that last for more than a week, there is no region in the world other than the Mediterranean Sea (including the Aegean Sea and the Adriatic Sea) which is fully equipped with all the attributes to provide me with gratifying satisfaction which gives me joy to my heart’s content. This is why I have been taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way to relish the Mediterranean Sea cruise trip with zest on a successive basis.

I realize in my rather jet lagged brain that I am writing my own personal cruise trip speculation at my own whim but when I reexamined about what I may have left out that is really crucial, it came to me immediately. That is, “Who is the best travel companion to accompany?” The atmosphere onboard a cruise ship does not completely befit a lone traveler who wishes to retreat oneself in one’s sentimentality. On the other hand, even for a real outgoing person who can instantly befriend with strangers, the dominant mood that prevails on cruise ships limits the possibility of that extrovert traveling alone to find comfort in sharing tedium with someone whom he/she gets acquainted onboard. I thus conclude that the most important factor in cruise travel is to accompany the best travel partner to enjoy it to the utmost.


August 15, 2013


Today marks the 68th anniversary of the end of World War II, an unforgettable day for the Japanese. In writing “Rapport ? 900” on this day, I went down to the storage room of my home and I pulled out the box containing the old copies of Rapports and picked out “Rapport - 1,” the very first of the series.

The date was November 1, 1994 and it was entitled “Largeness and Strength.” As of content, it took the example of the extinction process of the dinosaurs, the world’s largest creatures. It emphasized that “hugeness” which is capable to display strength in a stable environment becomes an obstacle to adaptation in a changing environment, especially when sudden changes occur and that this advantage becomes the cause of destruction.

Looking back on 1994, the burst of the frenzied economical bubble years of the late 1980’s was not yet acknowledged as a reality among the intellectuals. Politically, the people turned their backs against the Liberal Democratic Party and its 38 years dominant rule collapsed which practically left the political scene in a state of vacuum. In the summer of 1993, Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa established the first non-Liberal Democratic Party coalition government but it was short-lived and ended in the spring of the next year. Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata succeeded but his administration was even more short-lived as he resigned in the fall of the very same year so it was taken over by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama. It was a politically chaos when Japan witnessed three different prime ministers in one year.

After World War II, Japan unexpectedly became bulky in body size (i.e. economy) but as we all know well, the brain (i.e. politics) never fully matured which is akin to the tragedy that befell on the huge dinosaurs. In other words, it must be acknowledged that present day Japan must be perceived as a huge country which goes beyond the insight and control of those who are in charge of managing the national government.

As for myself, I am not a critic who laments the current state of affairs in vain. In fact, together with my reliable friends and acquaintances, I am exerting all my efforts to reinvigorate Awaji Island (which has completely become depopulated behind the shadow of Japan’s economic growth) by transforming it into a fictional republic nation. Using Awajii Island’s robust revitalization as a role model catalyst, I am even in the process of mobilizing a grand project to revitalize Japan as a whole. At 86 years old, I am living life much more gallantly than my miserable youth years just after World War II.


August 7, 2013


I had dinner with Mayor Takashi Matsumoto of Omura City (Nagasaki Prefecture) earlier last month at a hotel in Akasaka as I suddenly received a call from him which started out with, “I am calling to solicit your advice since I have heard your speech quite a while ago.” After graduating from a university in Tokyo, Mayor Matsumoto joined a large advertising firm but as his father was a mayor of Omura City and his mother was a (Nagasaki) prefectural assembly member, he decided to resign his job after 10 years to become a prefectural assembly member and as soon as he was elected as the mayor of Omura City in 1987, he turned around the city’s ailing economy by implementing innovative policies and he won the next mayoral election by default.

However, he was later falsely accused of being involved in a corruption scandal and was imprisoned despite his plea of innocence against the forged charges. Consequently, not only did he loose his mayoral post but he was doomed by a series of disconsolate events such as the suicide of his beloved wife and the sudden death of his third son. But Mayor Matsumoto kept his determination intact and together with the support of the people who believed in his innocence, he became a candidate in the 2002 mayoral election in high spirits. In the midst of such, he came down with an obstinate disease which left him physically disabled in a wheelchair. In spite of such hardship, he did not loose hope and as he achieved “miraculous revival” as the mayor of Omura City, he successively carried out a series of affirmative municipal governmental policies and was able to improve the city’s rapidly deteriorating economy in an amazingly short period.

Now, what motivated Mayor Matsumoto who is dependent on a wheelchair to visit Tokyo all the way from Omura City in Nagasaki Prefecture to meet me to solicit advice? To my surprise, it was a plan to build an epoch-making university which will contribute to the promising future growth of Omura City. In conjunction with the opening of the Nagasaki Shinkansen (bullet train) nine years from now (connecting Hakata City with Nagasaki City), the university is to be constructed in the vast public land which will be in front of the new station. As I listened to the mayor, I was inspired by the idea of creating an unprecedented new community which surrounds a small but immensely unique and innovative university. In order to realize what I had in mind, I thought that Mr. Kengo Kuma’s (one of the leading Japanese architects) involvement would be indispensable. Upon Mayor Matsumoto’s consent, I immediately called Mr. Kuma to sound out his interest.

Although I had concern that Mr. Kuma who is extremely busy with various projects would consider the proposal, his voice from the receiver sounded unexpectedly enthusiastic. He said, “That sounds really exciting. Furthermore, my ancestors were samurais of the Omura Clan.” What a coincidence! This being the case, Mr. Kuma and I visited Omura City last Saturday upon the city’s invitation to conduct our first site feasibility tour which deepened our conviction that the proposed plan is potent with potential. Now that I have committed myself to this grand scheme, I cannot die within the next 9 years.


July 24, 2013


As many anticipated, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won a landslide victory at the upper house parliamentary election which was held last Sunday. However, compared to the lower house general election held in 2009 where the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won a sweeping victory by gaining 308 seats and caused a regime change, the voter turnout rate fell by 10% this time and even recorded one of the lowest rates for elections held after World War II. This is nothing but a clear indication of the public’s lack of enthusiasm towards politics. The responsibility does not solely rest with the LDP. The DPJ’s administration which preceded the current Abe administration was voted in as a majority party since the public had high hopes for them to pump in fresh air but they failed miserably after 3 years. This has led the voters (=Japanese public) to loose faith in the country’s parliamentary government.

It is almost 68 years since Japan’s defeat at World War II. By the time of surrender, the country was mobilizing students for labor due to the shortage of adult workers so at 18 years old, I was assigned to work at a factory in the suburb of Tokyo although I was a senior high school student. Under the mid-summer’s scorching sun, I lined up with my friends and listened to the words of the emperor declaring the end of war. As the emperor’s voice broadcasted from the radio was very faint, it was extremely difficult to understand what he was saying until someone suddenly started to sob and it struck me that the country admitted defeat. As silence fell, it was not the feeling of relief that our lives were spared that filled our hearts but it was the dark cloud of inexpressible fear towards “occupation” that will inevitably come about that preoccupied our minds.

After Japan’s defeat, the country was able to achieve miraculous economic recovery and growth owing greatly to the blessing of the “divine wind,” or “kamikaze” i.e. the Cold War which led to intense international tension and rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the two superpowers (One of the war victors, the Soviet Union claimed to divide Japan into two with the U.S. while the U.S. decided to keep Japan intact as a nation since it feared that communism which was increasingly gaining force in China may engulf Japan and occupy the Far East region as a whole. Furthermore, the U.S. discreetly allowed Japan to engage in economic reconstruction activities). As Japan’s economic power gained momentum and became one of the leading countries, democracy which was forced on Japan gradually became devoid of all contents without the public questioning its essential meaning and significance. The most symbolic phenomenon illustrating this decline is the degradation of the members of the Diet who are considered to occupy the summit post of authoritative power. From my own impression, regardless of the lower or the upper houses, the elected members of the Diet seem to deteriorate in personal charm and reliability every time an election is held while the arrogance of the political parties increases in inverse proportion. This has continually led the public to become indifferent to politics. So I say to myself, although irritating at first, elections are, after all, futile in the end.


July 12, 2013


With the end of the rainy season, it has become customary in Japan for various organizations to hold what is referred to as a “summer seminar” in summer resorts. In conjunction with this, July and August are rather busy months for me as I am often requested to give a speech at these events. Although these summer seminars are considered as “study workshops,” the theme which many of them focus on are rather challenging so for speakers who accepted to do so without giving much thought often find themselves in a position to reflect deeply on the subject when time comes to draft the actual speech. Last week, I found myself exactly in this position after giving an easy go and consented to give a speech at the summer seminar organized by the New Business Conference (a non-profit organization of entrepreneurs) at Yatsugatake Royal Hotel which pivoted around the theme of “Breakthrough Power.” I hope you can surmise how backbreaking such efforts can be from the synopsis cited below which I wrote and submitted to the secretariat of the said organization prior to the seminar.

“Breakthrough power” is not an academic term used among scholars in business management nor is it a special terminology used among business executives. The pair word which goes hand in hand most appropriately with “breakthrough” is “difficulty.” In light of this, “the breakthrough power of business executives” refers to how capable the business leaders are to overcome difficulties when they actually confront hardships in business management as well as their capacity to factor in all possible hypothetical difficulties they may encounter beforehand so that they are equipped with the means to solve them when they actually occur. Numerous faces of business leaders cross my mind when I ask myself the question, “How do business executives cope under such critical circumstances?”

Since I have had the opportunity to nurture friendship with quite a number of business leaders over the past half century, I would like to discuss the power to surmount difficulties by referring to several real example cases. However, “difficulty” itself vary tremendously in kind and extent and furthermore, the business executives’ personal state of affairs and the positions they are in differ to a great degree. If I take all these variations into account, it is impossible to come up with one almighty solution which can be utilized by all business executives to effectively breakthrough and overcome problems. As long as there are inevitable differences in factors involved such as the external environment surrounding the company, problems that occur in-house, their own personal state of affairs, etc., the business leaders should always thoroughly contemplate on all the possible “difficulties” that may befall on the company, the employees, the customers and oneself and ought to constantly hold themselves in readiness to counter them both mentally as well as technically. By pre-envisaging comprehensive crisis management policies, they can execute timely damage control measures when faced with emergent hardships and achieve satisfactory results in solving problematic issues. In such a way, the business executive can realize the life of a truly professional and an admirable leader.


July 1, 2013


Mount Fuji’s official climbing season started today. Including the highly contested “Miho no Matsubara” (Miho Pine Grove), Mt. Fuji, against all odds, was registered as a world cultural heritage site last month and it will, no doubt, attract more climbers this year than in the past. This has refueled my anti-sentiment about climbing Mt. Fuji.

Upon my father’s influence, the passion for mountain climbing was fostered within me during my childhood and even after I graduated from the alpine club which I was a member of during my university years, my hiking-mania continued and I enjoyed my hikes through the Chichibu-Daibosatsu peaks and the gradual slope areas (forests and ravines) leading to the ranges of the Japanese Southern Alps. All included, my infatuation with mountains lasted for about 30 years but I have never to this day climbed Mt. Fuji. This did not come about from the pedantic arrogance which is rather common among university alpine club members that Mt. Fuji is not worth the climb.

Indeed, I did attempt to climb Mt. Fuji once. Way back when I was still a youth, I took the bus up to Subaru Line 5th Station, the last point which one can access the mountain by highway (this is located halfway to the top and from hereon, one has to climb the mountain on foot). But when I arrived at this popular spot where numerous climbers congregate, I was appalled by the hugeness of the crowd and its clamorousness that I immediately decided to take the descending bus back. Since then, my conviction that Mt. Fuji should be appreciated from a distance has solidified. According to recent media reports, the congestion at Mt. Fuji has escalated to the point where charging a newly proposed mountain admission fee of 1000 or 2000 yen per person or implementing a vast restriction which prohibits vehicles from accessing the mountain via highway (which goes to the 5th climbing point) will virtually have no effect in solving the problem. This leads me to conclude that I will probably never stand on the peak of Mt. Fuji during my lifetime.

In conjunction with the above, the Japanese media in recent days are avidly reporting about the possibility of “Mt. Fuji’s huge eruption” along the same line with the “Nankai Trough region’s gigantic earthquake and tsunami disaster.” In such an event, the eruption will not only disfigure the graceful cone shape silhouette of Mt. Fuji but is forecasted to cause calamities to the surrounding areas all the way up to Tokyo. The Japanese public who are used to and have almost become numb to such extreme reports are keeping their cool thinking “here they go again” but once such information are reported in overseas countries, the majority of foreign tourists who are not familiar with the status of how things actually stand in Japan may hesitate or may even decide against visiting the country. In other words, the “insensitive enemy from within” (i.e. the Japanese media) is unintentionally hindering the realization of increasing the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan to 20 million annually, one of Abenomic’s growth strategies to revitalize the country’s economy.

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