Overview of the Forum 2006

Picture forum2006

  • Date
  • August 5, 2006
  • Location:
  • Hotel Anaga(Anaga, Minamiawaji-shi, Hyogo)
  • Theme:
  • "Falling birthrates and aging society looming in Asia"
  • Details
  • (1)Keynote Proposal(10:10~12:00)
    • Toshitami Kaihara
    • President, Hyogo Earthquake Memorial 21st Century Research Institute
    • Akira Kojima
    • Chairman, Japan Center for Economic Research (JCER)
    • Atsushi Seike
    • Professor, Faculty of Business and Commerce, Keio University
    • 〔Japanese alphabetical order〕
  • (2)Discussion(13:00~15:45)
  • (Coordinators)
    • Yutaka Katayama
    • Professor, Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University
    • Kenichi Sudo
    • Professor, Faculty of Cross-Cultural Studies, Kobe University

Following an address by Mr. Satoshi Iue, the Representative Director of the Asia Pacific Forum, Awaji Conference, Japan, keynote proposals were put forward by three lecturers. The Forum was moderated by Mr. Yutaka Katayama, Professor of Kobe University Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, and Mr. Kenichi Sudo, Professor of the Faculty of Cross-Cultural Studies, Kobe University.
The first proposal was from Mr. Toshitami Kaihara, President of Hyogo Earthquake Memorial 21st Century Research Institute, who proposed the experimental creation of the “Awaji Multicultural Coexistence Special Zone” in order to establish a perspective on international population trends, where there is as yet no consensus in Japan. Mr. Kaihara noted that there was a need for the appropriate processing of international population trends as a measure to cope with falling birthrates and an aging society within Japan, but that it was difficult to conduct standardized processing across the whole country. He therefore suggested the idea of creating the “Awaji Multicultural Coexistence Special Zone.”

Mr. Akira Kojima, Chairman of Japan Center for Economic Research, stated that rebuilding ideas of the future of Japanese society and giving young people dreams to aspire to were important measures for addressing the falling birthrate. He referred to the need for a comprehensive resolution to Japan’s population problem at a national, corporate, family, and individual level through measures that include constructing a long-term, flexible system of employment for young people, women, and the elderly; accepting foreign investment; and addressing the needs of an elderly society.

Mr. Atsushi Seike, Professor of Keio University Faculty of Business and Commerce, spoke of the importance of reform of the system of investment in human resources and the pension system and of a review of the mandatory retirement age, in order for people to be able to continue to work for the whole of their lives. He stated that there was a need to create a mechanism whereby wages were paid and workers were assigned positions according to the value they created, rather than on the basis of age or length of service. This, he noted, was in order to address the increased sophistication of industry, and was important for the creation of a society in which people who are both willing and able to work can play their part, regardless of age or gender.

After a break for lunch, in the second half of the Forum, there was a free discussion from the members’ and guests’ various technical standpoints.

Drawing the two-day Awaji Conference to a close, Mr. Makoto Iokibe, President of the National Defense Academy of Japan, read out the Awaji Conference Statement. The Statement referred to three points: the construction of a society in which people are able to continue working all their lives; the construction of systems under which women are able to continue working without suffering any hindrance through giving birth (in order to increase the birth rate); and the discussion of immigration policies. The approximately 60 participants confirmed their approval of the Statement, and the Forum came to a conclusion.

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