I am looking forward to joining Asia Future Conference (AFC) which open happens every two years. I am interested in not just the presentation and discussion at AFC but also the meeting with Raccoon (Scholarship students of Atsumi International Foundation) around the world. For me, AFC is an event which is bustling and filled with laughter. AFC was postponed one year due to Covid-19 and opened as a hybrid conference this time. Almost all participants, including myself, joined from their homes on an online basis. We regret we could not go to Taiwan. I report about this unique AFC experience as follows.
I was involved in sessions as a chairman, closing ceremony as the emcee and the round-table conference of Asian Cultural Dialogues (ACD). ACD which was suggested by Mr. Tunoda, Director General of Atsumi International Foundation, is the forum of network and discussion.
I was in charge this year for the first time. Due to Covid-19, the program became shorter than what was originally planned. The theme was “Mental health trauma and fatigue in Asia” because we have daily stress and change in our society due to Covid-19. After the presentations from Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan, we had comments from India, Thailand and Japan and had discussions with them.
The effect of Covid-19 was on a global scale. But the correspondence and situation of each country are different. It was very interesting to understand and discuss such differences among members of the conference. I was impressed by the report of Professor Maria Lourdes Rosanna E de Guzman from the Philippines. She reported that their government began to support mental health thanks to activists who fought for a long time and got achievements. The report about relations between inequality of gender and mental health by Mr. Vickie Skorji, Japan put me in a thoughtful state. I acknowledged the importance of proper correspondence having imagined people in various positions.
Commentators: Mr. Carine Jacqet and Ranjana Mukhopadhaya（Raccoon member）, have both been involved in ACD round-table conference before. Professor Kuritaya Sreesunpagi has only been involved in this ACD round-table conference recently. I got a feeling of a big influence of Covid-19 and studied about political issues and its relationship with Covid-19.
I could have a feeling of continuity and bonds with ACD network and like to express my respect for Mr. Tsunoda and the people who have participated from the beginning. After fulfilling the discussion, we had ten minutes of meditation under the direction of Mr. Kuritaya and could end our session with a refreshed feeling. I had a feeling of the necessity of caring myself first even amid there are a lot of tough things in the world and a lot of things which I must do. Thanks a lot, to everyone who participated.
AFC’s charm is meeting with researchers whose specialties are not in my field. Although there were many engineering presentations at the panel discussion in which I was a chairman, I could listen to their presentations with full curiosity. I think we could enjoy the conference to some extent online basis though the number of audiences was not so many. I could have a pleasant feeling when I saw their smiles at the closing ceremony. I liked to tell my acquaintances “Hi! How are you?”. But I, as a chairman who should be serious, endured. The conference closed in a livened atmosphere having announced that the next venue is Bangkok.
Frankly speaking, online AFC was lonely a little. But I think it wonderful that we could have the conference under the situation of Covid-19.
I am looking forward to seeing them again in Bangkok. Let’s toast!
SGRA Kawaraban 724 in Japanese (Original)
DALE Sonja / 2012 Raccoon, Independent researcher (specialize in gender sexuality, process for social minority and its exclusion)
Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Sabina Koirala
I participated as a reporter at Round Table Talks II of Asia Future Conference under the title “Community and Global Capitalism - After all, the world is small!” I was invited by Ms. Imanishi, Executive Director of Atsumi International Foundation and Professor F. Maquito. I had a feeling that I came back to my student life after twenty years. As I have been putting my effort into hotel management and tourist business in Myanmar, I talked under the title “Tourist business and development of a community in Myanmar”. I reported on the development of the tourist business in Myanmar and I took action after the pandemic and the change of government.
In Myanmar, almost all the hotels were forced to close by COVID-19. But some of them began reopening on the condition of certification by the Health and Safety Protocol (HSP). This protocol is based on the rule of the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) which was made by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Tourism. It became necessary for the hotel side to make various preparations against COVID-19 and train and teach their staff members about COVID-19. Furthermore, they had to educate community people about tourism. There are three certificates by the Ministry of Tourism. Regional Level HSP, National Level HSP and International Level HSP. It will be difficult for hotels which will reopen hereafter without National Level HSP. I, as one of such leaders, have a responsible feeling of training and dissemination.
In safe tourist areas, the number of domestic tourists increased. As the Government reopened visa applications online basis, the number of foreign tourists and businesspeople increased also. However, problems are piling up. For example, price increases, runup of international fuel prices and domestic currency fluctuation are very influential. In such circumstances, I made my presentation implying that I have been working hard every day expecting the development of people and communities which participate in tourism. They developed tourism resources such as the nature or history of Myanmar’s “Asian Paradice” cleverly.
After my presentation, I enjoyed discussing with other presenters from many countries forgetting the time under the wonderful presider of the roundtable conference, Professor F. Maquito.
Recently, we had meetings or conferences a lot with people concerned about Myanmar tourism. I think the academic and international meetings of this type has been conducted for the first time in twenty years and I felt rejuvenated.
I hope I could do my best for peaceful earth and better communities.
Recently civil life in Myanmar has changed a lot not only by COVID-19 but regime changes which drew worldwide attention also. The security issue, however, is not for the whole country but for a limited area. In tourism areas, the economy has already recovered from an increase in domestic tourists.
Regime change is a domestic issue. It is necessary for people to think for themselves and take their actions considering their own everyday lives. Seeking freedom should be based on their thinking despite there being a gap in their levels. It is the most important for them to live thinking their daily lives. If there would not freedom in Myanmar, I could not participate in this online conference.
SGRA Kawaraban 723 in Japanese (Original)
Khin Maung Htwe / Founder of “Hotel AKIMOKU” (it is highly evaluated as “Little Japanese Village”) in Myanmar, Research Assistant of Faculty of Science and Engineering Waseda University
Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Sabina Koirala
The 6th Asia Future Conference has been scheduled to have at China Culture University in Taipei at the end of August this year. However, the conference was held in a hybrid style due to COVID. Participants gathered at the University and overseas participants who could not come to Taipei joined online basis. I think the Conference was successful because a lot of people from all over the country could participate.
On August 28, the second day of the Conference, we had many subcommittees. Two of them were organized by INAF (Institute for Northeast Asian Future). I, as chief of INAF, made an appeal to staff members of the Institute from the preparatory stage. I told them to use the best of the Institute setting themes on the relations between Northeast Asian countries and Taiwan. These sessions drew attention as unique sessions which could cover their politics, history, economy and industries.
People who have little chance to visit Taiwan applied their entry to the Conference at first. But their wishes were not come true because of COVID.
Under such circumstances, presenters prepared everything using their enormous energy despite of their busyness. They have their own professional fields which had no particular relation with Taiwan. The numbers of researchers in Japan and Taiwan are very limited due to Taiwan’s special circumstances.
The first special circumstance is that one country was divided into two countries, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China after World War II in 1949. The second circumstance is present in the world. The presence of the People’s Republic of China is large and that of the Republic of China is small. The last is the representation at the United Nations. During the period from the year 1945 to 1970/ October, the Republic of China represented the UN. However, after October 1970, the People’s Republic of China took place and a lot of countries in the world accepted PRC’s condition that “when they conclude diplomatic relations, only PRC represents China” and they broke off diplomatic relations with the Republic of China. I hope the Republic of China can appear in the footlights at INAF sessions.
Part 1: We had three reports and discussions under moderator Mr. Hitosi HIRAKAWA, the Chief Director of INAF
The first report was made by INAF researcher LI Ang, Doctoral Course of University of Tsukuba under the title “Separation of Politics and Economy in political and economic worlds against China”- focusing on Newspaper reports-”. He researched media reports in the 1950s on how private trade was made under the circumstances of no diplomatic relations between China and Japan. He inquired into the ties between Japan and China sharply saying how Japan handled private trades and managed relations with China. It was very interesting. We had a debate being managed by Ms. Kumiko HABA, INAF Director, and Professor at the University of Kanagawa.
The second report was made by Mr. Tomohiko KAWAGUCHI, Director of INAF, under the title “Relations between North Korea - Taiwan and their International Relations”. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) has not communicated with Taiwan which belongs to the democracy bloc because they have close connections with the Soviet Union and China which belong to the Socialist bloc. It is no exaggeration to say their relations are blank. However, Mr. KAWAGUCHI tried his best to gather the best handouts which were made by Korean researchers.
Based on such research, he separated diplomatic relations between North Korea and Taiwan into three terms : the first period “Flexible diplomacy : 1972～1987”, the second period: “Practical diplomacy : 1988～1999” and “Stylization period : 2000～present”. He introduced their diplomatic relations and economic exchanges in each period. His research might be a pioneer work in Japan. The debate was managed by Mr. Mitsuhiro MIMURA, INAF Director, and Chief Researcher of North Korea of ERINA (The Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia).
The third report was made by Professor Andrey BELOV, Fukui Prefectural University under the title “Economic Relations between Russia and Taiwan”. As Taiwan had no diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union or Russia for the same reason mentioned above、there are few pieces of research about their economic exchange. But he found Taiwan had energy and semiconductor trades with those two countries in various materials which he gathered. His works might be one of the pioneer works. Debate on this point was managed by me.
Part 2 ：We had two reports under Director Tomohiko KAWAGUCHI as a moderator and had a debate.
The fourth report was made under the title “Imperial Structure in Eastern Asia and Subaltern states Taiwan and Korea” by Associate Professor Chen Boy, University of Niigata Prefecture.
He is the only researcher who came from Taiwan and specialized in international relations and politics in Eastern Asia. He made a lot of research presentations on the ties between Taiwan and China or Taiwan and Japan. He explained about “Subaltern” first. According to him, it is subordinate relations in economics, socialistic, racial, linguistic and cultural. He explained also the relations between Korea and Taiwan is a typical example of a subaltern state in East Asia. It was very impressive. Debate on it was managed by Tomotetsu SADO, INAF Director.
The last report was done by me under the title “Reorganization of Global Supply Chain in Semiconductor Industry – Hegemony Struggle between America and China、and Taiwan –”.
I am not a specialist of semiconductor industry. Trade friction and the hegemony struggle between America and China are increasing now. And, people say, “If you could forestall semiconductors, you would forestall the world”. Under such a situation, I tried to gather and analyze materials as much as possible and tried to make clear the relations between America, China and Taiwan over the development, production and sales of semiconductors. Debate on this subject was managed by Hitoshi HIRAKAWA, Chief Director of INAF.
Following those reports and debates, we had heated discussions. Since we had the 6th Asia Future Conference in Taiwan, we focused on Taiwan at the INAF session. A lot of participants joined online basis because we could give them interesting reports and analyses.
I think we could give them a meaningful place to communicate and interact.
SGRA Kawaraban 720 in Japanese (Original)
LI Kotetsu /Chief of INAF, Representative of Team “Concept of Asia”
Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Sabina Koirala