Overview of the 12th "Asia Pacific Forum, Awaji Conference Japan" International Symposium

Picture Symposium 2011

  • Date:
    Friday, August 5 2011
  • Location:
    Awaji Yumebutai International Conference Center
    (1 Yumebutai, Awaji-shi, Hyogo, Japan)
  • Theme:
    "21st Century Renewal Strategy
     ―Making Japanese Society Safe, Secure and Energetic―"
  • Details:
    • ○Opening Address
      Satoshi Iue
      (Representative Director, Asia Pacific Forum, Awaji Conference Japan)
    • ○Welcome Tribute
      Kazuo Kanazawa
      (Vice Governor of Hyogo Prefecture)
    • ○Prize Giving Ceremony for the 10th Asia Pacific Reserch Prize(Iue Prize)
    • ○Explanation for the purpose of the Awaji Conference
      Makoto Iokibe
      (President, National Defense Academy/ Chairman, Reconstruction Design Council in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake)
    • ○Commemorative Lectures
      "§ Creative Reconstruction from Large-Scale Disaster"
      Speaker: Toshitami Kaihara
      (President, Hyogo Earthquake Memorial 21st Century Research Institute / Former Governor, Hyogo Prefecture)
      "Strategy for a New Welfare Society in Japan"
      Speaker: Takeshi Fujii
      (Professor, Bukkyo University / Former Japanese Ambassador to Sweden and Latvia)
      "Integrative Medicine as the Norm of the 21st Century"
      Speaker: Kazuhiko Atsumi
      (President, Integrative Medicine Japan / Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo)
    • ○Coordinator:
      Yutaka Katayama
      (Professor, Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University)

Following an opening address from Representative Director Satoshi Iue, a welcoming tribute from Vice Governor of Hyogo Prefecture Kazuo Kanazawa, and the Asia Pacific Research Prize giving ceremony, an explanation for the purport of holding Awaji Conference was provided by Makoto Iokibe, President of the National Defense Academy and Chairman, Reconstruction Design Council in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Creative Reconstruction from Large-Scale Disaster: Summary
Toshitami Kaihara, President, Hyogo Earthquake Memorial 21st Century Research Institute; Former Governor, Hyogo Prefecture

During the century since Japan started to progress as a modern state, it has been struck by three major earthquakes in the Great Kanto Earthquake, the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake and the Tohoku Earthquake. Each of these earthquakes were big turning points in Japans path to modernization.

Accordingly, reconstruction from disaster should build social structures for a new age rather than simply restore the state prior to the disaster.

After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Japan was pursuing modernization at a rapid pace. Victory in the Russo-Japanese War at the beginning of the 20th century and revisions to unequal treaties made Japan internationally known as an independent state. Then, in 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake struck.

In response, Japan promoted reconstruction plans that would put Tokyo amongst the capitals of Europes most advanced nations. But, plans were greatly scaled back under the weakened political structure and never achieved their anticipated objectives.

Next was the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. After WWII, Japan achieved amazing economic growth and, having a seat the Plaza Accord of 1985 and meetings of the G5, the country was recognized as an economic powerhouse. From there, Japan plunged itself into a real-estate bubble without developing the prospects of building a new nation befitting the status of an economically advanced nation. The bubble collapsed and, right in the middle of that demise, in 1995, the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake struck.

The government poured all of its resources into recovery in order to restore services as quickly as possible. With its population rapidly aging, Japan should have targeted creative reconstruction as a model for guiding the nation, but the government did not have the foresight to do this. As a result, Japan is still stuck in the so-called lost 20years.

Reconstruction from the Tohoku Earthquake will soon take center stage now that the report has been submitted from the Reconstruction Design Council.

By the way, this earthquake was complicated by a tsunami and nuclear crisis. Accordingly, in order to restore services just to where they were, reconstruction must target improvements. This will require massive amounts of money and time, and, more than anything else, it will need the stalwart perseverance of the victims.

Today, Japans population is decreasing and it is an issue within the country just how to revitalize an aged society. Internationally, Japan is faced with food, energy, resource and global environmental problems. It is time to reshape our mature nation. We need to stand by the principles that the process of recovery should be geared towards creative reconstruction that looks ahead to the future. (excerpted from explanation by Reconstruction Design Council to the Prime Minister).

In order to achieve creative reconstruction as a model for guiding Japan to rebirth and overcome the difficulties ofreconstruction that targets improvements, we must consider a future-oriented model. Such a model can be: avibrant longevity society model that will maintain the vitality of the local community regardless of a decrease in total population with an increase in the population of the aged, an industry model of developed country type that will utilize resources and promote highly value-added industries, an energy and food self-sufficiency model that will promote self-sufficiency in food by utilizing rich natural surroundings and the use of new types of energy generation including solar and geothermal power generation, or a land structure model of network type that will promote mutual collaboration to countermeasure widespread disasters.

Strategy for a New Welfare Society in Japan: Summary
Takeshi Fujii, Professor, Bukkyo University; Former Japanese Ambassador to Sweden and Latvia

Background to the Scenes of Successful Welfare State Strategy in Sweden

1. They spent over 20 years to make the vision real with incremental revenue measures, which was long enough to reduce their time pressure and hurry-scurry. They strictly kept the line of communication in politics and they repeated constructive discussions and cut and try.

2. They deployed the strategy early 1960s when the whole national economy was immature and very active to grow.

3. They always kept an eye on the preservation of fiscal discipline and thoroughly eliminated the dependence on public bond and debt.

4. As long as they had to burden the people heavily, they made all efforts to pursue the rational combination of the optimized expenses to achieve the policy objectives in expenditure policy. They tried so called wisespending; for example in regard to family policy, based on the policy objective to free women from the home, they aggressively prioritized the balance of working and child care.

Clues Japan Can Learn from Welfare State Strategy in Sweden

1. Although it is very useful to understand the Swedish welfare system, applying the whole system is neither possible nor suitable indeed. The government should make efforts to establish an appropriate vision through the dialogues with the people and discussions between ruling and opposition parties while considering the process: greater burden -> improved welfare services -> sensing the benefit.

2. Considering the critical situation of the public sector that has huge budget deficit and accumulated debt, we must start measures to increase revenue along with a vision as soon as possible. In the course of the measures, we need to be even better than the Swedish because:
(1) we will have no choice other than a quite difficult approach of executing the recovery from the unprecedented great disaster in addition to reduction of budget deficit, correction of the dysfunctional welfare system, and gradual improvement of the welfare level all at once.
(2) we cannot expect to be allowed to spend long time such as over 20 years. We can only take progressive measures in shorter time and in a more prompt manner.

3. Always try wise spending and eliminate the dependence on public bond and debt drastically.

4. As another factor to make this hardest strategy successful, it is probably essential to ensure the firm execution of the government owned New Growth Strategy. Concurrent execution of Welfare State Strategy and New Growth Strategy is required.

Integrative Medicine as the Norm of the 21st Century: Summary
Kazuhiko Atsumi, President, Integrative Medicine Japan; Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo

Chaos is infiltrating modern society in the form of instability, the lack of clarity and uncertainty.

Signs of this have been directly manifested in the confrontation between Christianity and Islam, nationalistic movements in Africa, the economic growth of China and India, the Tohoku Earthquake and elsewhere.

What this means -- so to speak -- is that great changes from old structures to new orders are rapidly progressing in our time.

If we take a panoramic view of this, we find ourselves today at the dawn of a new era where the clash between eastern and western civilizations is giving birth to a new world.

In the medical world, this translates as an exodus from modern western medicine.

Western medicine based on sciences has reached a pinnacle where several problems have become evident. It needs to grow in a new direction.

Recent epoch-making advances in the field of medicine, namely genetic science and tissue engineering, are completely changing medicine as we know it.

Moreover, there is a shift from medical treatment to preventative care and health management, and demand is there for personalized care, holistic therapy and comprehensive medical care.

As one possible solution, hopes are being placed in a new form of medicine that fuses eastern wisdom with western sciences. This line of thought leads to integrative medicine as one of the dialectic expansions of eastern and western civilizations.

Furthermore, the recent Tohoku Earthquake has greatly transformed mankinds sense of value.

For one, Mother Nature wields a powerful force and this has taught us that mankind must learn to coexist with her.

Secondly, the planet has a limited supply of resource, and this is forcing us to reflect on the hypertrophic lifestyles that human activity has spawned.

We need to seriously consider the following in order to ensure mankinds sustainable development.

1) Establishment of ecological medical care that does not waste energy
- Development of integrative medicine -

2) Conversion to ecological lifestyles
- Development of eco-friendly technologies -

3) Effective distribution of the worlds resources
- Establishment of an Asian institute for Forcasting by Simulation Model to replace the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) -

Back to Top