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  • Invitation to the 6th Asia Future Conference Pre-Conference “International Relations in the Post-COVID Era –Asia Viewed from Taiwan’s Perspective”

     Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 6th Asia Future Conference (AFC#6) has been postponed to August 2022. We are pleased to announce, however, that we will host an online preconference this year instead, and all are welcome to join. Date: August 26th, 2021 (Thursday) ※Taiwan Time10:00~11:00   Opening Ceremony, Keynote Speech11:00~12:00   Symposium13:00~16:20   Presentations of AFC Best Papers, Presentations of Taiwan Best Papers16:20~16:30   Closing CeremonyVenue: Online via Zoom WebinarLanguages: Chinese and English. (Chinese-English, Chinese-Japanese simultaneous interpretation via Zoom Webinar) ◇To participate in the Keynote Speech (Part 1) and Symposium (Part 2)please register for the Zoom Webinar from the following link:Registration for the Zoom Webinar [Part 1]&[Part 2]  No registration required for the Best Paper presentation sessions in the afternoon.  ◇Program[Opening Ceremony] 10:00~10:10Opening Remarks: Mr. Yasushi Akashi, Asia Future Conference ChairMC:Moyo Lin, Taiwan Organizing Committee Chair for the 6th Asia Future Conference [Part 1:Keynote Speech] 10:10~11:00“Where is Asia Heading? When Disease Control is Entangled with Politics”Yu-Shan Wu, Academician, Academia Sinica Abstract:COVID-19 has caused the most severe pandemic and infectious disease that the world has encountered since the Spanish flu in the early twentieth century. Given that “no one is safe until everyone is safe,” being able to control the pandemic would best serve the interests of all nations.  In theory, the pandemic should have promoted international cooperation and coordination. However, since the global outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020, what we have in fact witnessed is a series of ongoing international conflicts such as mutual recriminations over the origins of COVID-19, vaccine nationalism, vaccine diplomacy, and so on. International cooperation is being suppressed by conflicts, and this is closely related to the New Cold War which has existed in the current international order since before the outbreak of COVID-19. This New Cold War is rooted in the international power transition of the most powerful countries and the rise of right-wing populism caused by the economic crisis. It is deeply entrenched, and even a shared crisis such as COVID-19 is not enough to resolve these differences and brings about cooperation, instead, leading to a whirlpool of conflicts. Under such circumstances, it is pertinent and necessary to ask where Asia is heading. [Part 2: Symposium] 11:00~12:00“International Relations in the Post-COVID Era –Asia Viewed from Taiwan’s Perspective” Moderator:Dr. Shing-Ching Shyu, President, Chinese Culture University Panelists:Yasuhiro Matsuda, (Japan) Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the University of TokyoMing Lee, Professor at the Department of Diplomacy in National Cheng-Chi UniversityKevin Villanueva, (Philippines) Assistant Professor, University of The Philippines/Senior Fellow, National Chung-Hsing UniversityHsu, Kristy Tsun Tzu, Associate Research Fellow and Director, The Taiwan ASEAN Studies CenterYu-Shan Wu, Academician, Academia Sinica. [Part 3: AFC Best Papers and Taiwan Best Papers Presentation] 13:00~16: 2013:00~13:10        Best Paper Award Presentation Ceremony13:10~16:20        Parallel Sessions of Best Paper presentationsList of 20 AFC#6A Best PapersList of 5 Taiwan Special Best Papers  [Closing Ceremony] 16:20~16:30Closing Remarks:Junko Imanishi, Asia Future Conference Organizing Committee ChairInvitation to the Asia Future Conference to be held at Taipei in August 2022 ※No registration required for the Best Paper presentation sessions in the afternoon.Please join from the following link after 12:30pm on Thursday, August 26, 2021.Link to Best Presentation Sessions [Part 3] For more program details, please check:E_AFC Preconference_Program Inquiries: AFC Secretariat afc@aisf.or.jpPlease contact the above email address for technical support as well.  Invitation in ChineseInvitation in Japanese  We look forward to “meeting” you at the online preconference. The 6th Asia Future Conference Organizing Committee 
  • The Third Asia Future Conference (AFC#3) Report

    The Third Asia Future Conference (AFC#3) was held from Friday, September 30th to Sunday, October 2nd in Kitakyushu, with 397 registered participants from 20 countries. The City of Kitakyushu developed as an industrial city with a strong base in the steel industry. Because of this, by the 1960s the city started to experience severe water and air pollution. Since then, however, due to the efforts of its citizens the environment of the city has greatly improved. In 2011, it became the first model city in Asia for urban green growth under the OECD’s Green City Program. Inspired by Kitakyushu’s story of coexistence between mankind and the natural environment, the overall theme was chosen to be “Environment and Coexistence” including broad range of issues based on the theme of coexistence in various social and cultural environments. Under this theme we had a keynote speech and symposium, forums and roundtable discussions, as well as a large number of research paper presentations, promoting international and interdisciplinary discussions. The night before the conference, at 7:00 PM on Thursday, September 29, the 10th SGRA China Forum “Toward the East Asian Cultural History Without Borders” was held at the Kitakyushu International Conference Center. SGRA has been hosting China forums once a year in Beijing and other cities in China, but this time it was hosted as a pre-conference of AFC#3. In this forum, the points of discussion and achievements from the last two forums in Beijing were introduced and reviewed, and with the new contributions, the theme of wider cultural history was further developed. On Friday, September 30th, from 9:00AM to 12:30PM, four parallel forums and roundtable discussions were hosted in the Kitakyushu International Conference Center. All of the four session rooms were full. (Simultaneous translation between Japanese and Chinese) n  Roundtable Discussion “Dialogue of National Histories; Japan, China and Korea” (Grant: Tokyo Club)We all agree that we have to overcome our history in order to realize historical reconciliation, rebuild mutual trust among people, and to stabilize cooperative relationship in East Asia. The first step should be to “establish a dialogue” among the three national histories of China, Japan and Korea. Intellectual exchange among the respective “national historians” will lead to a “Shared History of Asia”. This roundtable discussion was the first of a series of 5 forums of the same theme aiming at establishing a “Dialogue among National Histories” among researchers from Japan, Korea and China. (Simultaneous translation between Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans) n  Roundtable Discussion “Religious Responses to Changing Social Environments in Southeast Asia” (Grant: Japan Foundation Asia Center)This roundtable discussion took into consideration the present situation wherein religion tends to be viewed as the cause of conflict and clash in recent years, despite its genuine aim of achieving the happiness of humankind and society. Based on Southeast Asian country case studies, which reveal the unique religious and social relations that form a mosaic of ethnicity and religion, invited researchers from this region, together with foreign and Japanese researchers active in Japan, actively discussed universal themes such as the relation of society with religion, as well as social changes and the role of religion. (Language: English) n  Roundtable Discussion “Humans and Robots: Towards a Society of Coexistence” (Grant: Kajima Foundation)In this roundtable discussion, after the introduction of the present situation of development of robots in Japan, Korea, Russia, Europe and China, the problems for the development of robots, which aim at coexistence with human beings, was discussed. The discussion about the society in the near future where human beings and robots can coexist was further elaborated by the comments of young scholars in the fields of philosophy and art. (Language: English) n  AGRI(?) Economic Forum “Population Problems and Solutions in Asia" (Host: Asia Growth Research Institute)Currently, many Asian countries are facing a variety of population problems including declining fertility, aging population, declining population, migration, urbanization of the population, the entry of foreign workers, and gender differences. For these problems, it is critical for each country to conduct comprehensive analysis and introduce solutions urgently. In this forum, four specialists from the Asian Growth Research Institute took up various population problems facing Asia and discussed these problems, their impact on the economy and society, solutions to these problems, and lessons for other Asian countries. (Language: English) After the lunch break, from 3:00PM, the Opening Ceremony commenced with a welcome speech by Dr. Michiaki Kondo, President of the University of Kitakyushu, followed by the proclamation of the opening of the conference by Mr. Yasushi Akashi, Conference Chairman. The keynote speech was given by Yoshikazu Tanaka, Chief Engineer of MIRAI, Toyota Motor Corporation on the theme “Development of the Fuel Cell Vehicle, MIRAI and the Challenges towards Hydrogen Society”. The Commemorative Symposium of the 70th Anniversary of Foundation of the University of Kitakyushu “Sustainable Development and Asian Civil Society -Toward the Hydrogen Energy Society-” started right after the Keynote Speech, in which researcher, NPO director, and entrepreneur reported their own activities. (Simultaneous translation between Japanese and English) Program of Forums, Keynote Speech and Symposium are available from the following link:http://www.aisf.or.jp/AFC/2016/conference-program/ At the end of the ceremony, after the speech of Vice Mayor of Kitakyushu City, Mr. Teruhito Matsumoto, the Sake Barrel Breaking Ceremony was held to celebrate the 70th Anniversary, using the sake produced in a collaboration between the University and local producer. When the participants went out from the Hall after the ceremony, 300 participants were offered this sake in the courtyard, where miraculously the rain stopped. After the participants, mainly from Asia, enjoyed casual food served at portable stalls (yatai), there was a local drum performance, followed by this conference’s highlight event, projection mapping, which showed the 1500-year history of Kitakyushu in 3 minutes on the big wall of Conference Center. On Saturday, October 1, all the participants went to the Kitagata Campus of the University of Kitakyushu, where 225 papers were presented in 58 panel sessions, including 8 arranged group sessions. As the Asia Future Conference aspires towards an international and interdisciplinary approach, each session was arranged by the topics such as “Peace”, “Happiness”, and “Innovation”, which the presenters selected during the submission process. As such, each session did not necessarily consist of specialists in a specific academic field. Although different from academic conference in specific fields, this approach helped foster many rich and diverse discussions. 109 people in total including invited guest speakers kindly agreed to act as the chairperson of the panel sessions. Poster presentations were displayed next to the coffee break corner. Piano performance and tea ceremony were conducted by the students and volunteers of the University of Kitakyushu. The Best Presentation was chosen by two chairpersons in each of the 50 sessions (excluding arranged group sessions). The list of Best Presentations can be found at the following link:http://www.aisf.or.jp/AFC/2016/files/2015/04/best-presentation.pdf Two Best Posters were selected by the AFC Academic Committee from the 10 posters that were displayed in the Conference.  The list of the best posters can be found at the following link:http://www.aisf.or.jp/AFC/2016/files/2015/04/best-poster.pdf In addition, the Academic Committee chose the Best Papers before the conference. and the awards were presented during the Farewell Party on the last day of the conference. 46 judges reviewed 115 full papers, which were uploaded to the AFC Online System by February 28, 2016 (with abstracts submitted by August 31, 2015). The papers were divided into 13 groups, and 4 reviewers read each group. Reviewers were asked to evaluate based on the following 5 criteria: (1) Is the theme of this paper in accordance with the AFC Theme "Environment and Coexistence"? (2) Is this paper perspicuous and persuasive? (3) Is this paper original and innovative? (4) Does this paper hold international aspects in some points? (5) Does this paper have an interdisciplinary approach? Each reviewer recommended two papers out of nine or ten in each group. After compilation, 20 papers were selected as the Best Papers. The list of the best posters can be found at the following link:http://www.aisf.or.jp/AFC/2016/files/2016/06/AFC3-BEST-PAPERS.pdf At 7:00PM at the Station Hotel Kokura, the farewell party started with the brief conference report by myself as the Organizing Committee Chair, followed by toast by the Vice-president of the University of Kitakyushu, Dr. Saeko Urushibara. Before dinner is over, AFC Academic Committee Chair, Dr. Hitoshi Hirakawa, Professor of Kokushikan University, gave a selection report and then the Award Presentation Ceremony was held. 20 authors of Best Papers came on the stage and the Conference Chair, Mr. Yasushi Akashi, handed a Certificate of Best Paper to a representative. Then 2 Best Poster authors and 50 Best Presentations awardees were commended. On Sunday, October 2nd, participants took part in organized study tours and excursions, which included a Study Tour to Minamata, going to Akiyoshidai Cave and old town Hagi, sightseeing in the City of Kitakyushu, Kitakyushu Environmental Study Tour, and a hot spring experience. The Third Asia Future Conference “Environment and Coexistence” was hosted by the Atsumi International Foundation Sekiguchi Global Research Association (SGRA), co-hosted by The University of Kitakyushu and City of Kitakyushu, supported by Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, received grants from The Japan Foundation Asia Center, The Tokyo Club, The Kajima Foundation, collaborated with Kyushu Economic Federation and Asian Growth Research Institute, and sponsored by Aso Cement Co., Ltd., Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo Co., Ltd., Honjo International Scholarship Foundation, JR Kyushu Railway Company, Kajima Corporation, Kajima Oversea Asia PTE Ltd., Kajima Road Co., Ltd., KOKUYO Co. Ltd, Kyudenko Corporation, Kyushu Electric Power Co., Ltd., Mera Group Corporation, Moji Koun Kaisha Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, PT Senayan Trikarya Sempana, TENO Corporation, TOTO Ltd, West Japan Industry, Trade Convention Association, The Yamaguchi Bank, Ltd., Yaskawa Electric Corporation, Zenrin Col, Ltd., The Organizing Committee and Academic Committee for this conference were organized by former Atsumi scholars (known as “Raccoons”), and together with the SGRA Steering Committee members, they voluntarily took part in almost all aspects of the holding of the conference, from planning the forums, maintaining the home-pages, selecting the best awards, to taking charge of the reception. A separate Organization Committee was established in the University of Kitakyushu with more than 120 professors, staff members and student volunteers. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the more than 400 participants, as well as to those who supported the holding of the conference and all of the volunteers who provided assistance in many ways and helped lead to the success of the Third Asia Future Conference. The Asia Future Conference is interdisciplinary at its core and encourages diverse approaches to global issues that are both mindful of the advancement of science, technology and business and also take into consideration issues of the environment, politics, education, the arts and culture. This conference is organized with likeminded institutions, in order to provide a venue for the exchange of knowledge, information, ideas, and culture, not only by SGRA members, but also by former foreign students of Japan from various educational institutions throughout the world, by their own students and collaborators, and by anyone interested in Japan.  The Asia Future Conference started in 2013 and was originally planned to be hosted five times within a span of ten years. After hosting AFC successfully for three times, the Atsumi International Foundation has decided to continue even after 2020. The Fourth Asia Future Conference will be held in Seoul, Korea, from August 24th to 28th, 2018. AFC#3 highlightshttp://www.aisf.or.jp/sgra/active/photo-gallery/2016/7596/ AFC#3 photos shown in the farewell party (movie)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAk_M934JmM&feature=youtu.be AFC#4 flyerhttp://www.aisf.or.jp/AFC/2016/files/2016/10/AFC4_Chirashi_light.pdf We would like to ask for your continued support, cooperation and, most of all, your participation.  Junko Imanishi,SGRA Chief Representative  
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    Asia Future Conference
  • Virag Viktor “How will the Young Generation study and make the most ― The 2nd Asia Future Conference:from the Fukushima Session―”

    On the second day of the 2nd Asia Future Conference, we hold displays and talk-session about the Fukushima Nuclear Accident. At the session, we set up a theme “Fukushima and its Aftermath:Lessons from a Man-made Disaster” and considered discussion which everybody can participate important rather than one-sided reporting.   As we have visited Iitate-Village, Fukushima twice, where was affected by radioactive contamination and designated as evacuation zone, it was a start of our holding the session. We liked to share our various thinking “knew, felt and thought” at ‘Study-Tours’ which SGRA sponsored in 2012 and 2013,with everybody in the world starting from Indonesia. And we planned our session.   We set up the place like exhibition hall which is opened all day long. For example, projection of short documentary films and pictures of ‘study tour’ which participants took and exhibit them. In the afternoon, we set up ‘talk session’ involving participants who visited our displays.   After our reports about every difficulties which Iitate Village, especially villagers there, are being faced and activities of our (SGRA) visit to Village, we introduced our (SGRA members) personal experience at the earthquake and counter measures against radiation in our daily life. From such reports and introduction, we have pick up such key words like “man-made disaster”, “damage by radioactivity”, “forced evacuation”, and “decontamination” and free discussion on such key-words forwarded.   Answering to the questions from floors, we asked their opinions like: -How did the image of Japan change in the countries where participants came from after the nuclear accident? -How do they think about issue of radioactivity and countermeasure of Japanese government? Some Japanese participants explained about experience and troubles of their relatives and friends. We have planned to develop our talking toward the issues like power shortage or possibilities and risks of nuclear energy, but, due to restricted time, we could not discuss them regretfully.   To our delight as the sponsor, students of Udayana University, Bali, Indonesia where the conference was held, participated positively. Some students, who are interested in our conference, brought their friends in order to show our exhibits. I had a chance to talk with two of them and made sense what they replied to question why nuclear issue is important. Those two students study electronics and urban planning at the graduate school. They are in the position that they have to study seriously about risk of radioactivity and disaster prevention/recovery. Moreover, Indonesia is young country in terms of demographic structure and economic vitality. So, the young have strong intention “We have the honor of future of our country. We build Indonesia hereafter.” It is remarkable comparing with Japan. They think strongly that they build “good country” by themselves .      According to those students of the graduate school, Indonesia, as a developing country, is expected to develop rapidly in the global economy. But, it is facing gradually with power shortage due to enlargement of industries, expanding of production and improvement of living standard and they are actually investigating building of nuclear power plant. Young intellectual class have possibilities of being involved directly in policy making for nuclear electricity generation. Then, how do they think and study the nuclear accident in Japan?   I do not think it easy to answer because this question is very important globally. But, I think we could go a long way toward continuing such discussion by offering chances to consider this question seriously introducing the case in Japan from a viewpoint “lesson from man-made disaster” as shown in the title of the session. Media by “picture” is stronger than “word” and gave the young participants stronger impact and impression. It goes without saying that the young keep thinking seriously of nuclear issue which is topical and urgent in Indonesia and keep going along with process for establishing their opinion. I hope domestic argument about this issue in Indonesia become active.   In Japan, the issue of the restart of nuclear power plant remains pending. And, on the other hand, an assertion of abandoning nuclear power station is keep continuing. I have an impression, however, that dialogue between both sides is hard to be materialized in the process of constructive arguments. Sometimes they become emotional as it is very important issue. Recently, for example, some people are labeled “anti-Japan” by stakeholders when they declare abandoning nuclear power station. Similarly, many people who oppose nuclear power station were unsuccessful to present alternative idea which is stated in figure. I cannot help feeling sense of danger about such labelling or emotional argument. I hope such confrontation would develop to cool-headed arguments which are based on facts and objective data.   I like to add the state of progress of establishing more nuclear power stations in Hungary, my home country. I reported this in the report of 2nd SGRA Fukushima Study Tour which was delivered by SGRA Kawaraban one year ago. We have decided two more nuclear power stations besides present four stations which supply 40% of national demand for electricity at present. When Mr. Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, visited Hungary, he provided sales activities for nuclear power plants although he was said to be imprudent because it was just few months after the Fukushima Disaster. After all, they contracted with Russia after evaluation of conformity between estimation and present technology. I personally have a doubt why only “Japan of Fukushima” and “Russia of Chernobyl” are the counterpart of the negotiation.   Session “Fukushima” in 2nd Asia Future Conference was planned and run by SGRA members, Park Hyun-jung (pictures and exhibition), Dale Sonja (moderator), Erik Schicketanz (speaker) and myself. We appreciated Director, Eiichi Tsunoda, very much including his persuasive opinion at the session.   SGRA will have a study tour at Iitate-Village this year. Please join us if you are interested in this kind of issue.   You can see the pictures of the day in:  http://www.aisf.or jp/spra/info/Essay424Pfotos.pdf You can read our report on our Fukushima Tour in :    http://www.aisf.or.jo/sgra/active/news/2sgra_1.php   (Part-time instructor at Showa Women's University / Jochi Welfare College Japanese Association of School and Social Works (International Office ))   Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Mac Maquito   SGRA Kawaraban  in Japanese (original)  
  • Bingyue Dong “Future of Asia from Two Places for Debating”

      The 2nd Asia Future Conference was held in Bali, Indonesia on August 22-23,2014. Atsumi International Foundation, sponsor of the conference, declared “the purpose of the conference is to give a place for discussion about the future of Asia to the scholars who have studied in Japan and are interested in Japan”.   What is the “Place” here? If you think it just as the place or the site of the conference, it would be too good. The place where the conference was held is also the “place”. According to such understanding, Bali Island is important and has another meaning in the conference. The sponsor gave two places (dual meanings) to the participants. “Asia” was discussed as an object of our study and, at the same time, the participants at could have personal experiences in Asia. I greatly appreciated it.   I, as a participant from Beijing, began to think differently when I heard about “the rise of China” from participants from the Philippines and Singapore. I understood they look at China differently from the outside or from the inside. Then, what is a “rise”? Did China really rise? We can say China is rising economically. It may be true, but, on the other hand, there are a lot of social problems which came from economic and rapid growth, such as environmental pollution, corruption of governmental officials, disparity in wealth, depravity of morality etc. etc. Given these negative aspects, I do not think China has risen yet. I like to say there are a lot of things for China to study, not only from Japan but also from Bali. I think China has to pursue its “rise” in a manner which can contribute to the general well-being of Asia.   I also learned a lot from the second “place”: “Bali”. When I checked-in the hotel in the evening of August 21, I was enchanted by a music coming from the corridor of the hotel. How lonely and romantic! I learned later that it was local music which was played from a small flute and bamboo koto. I can enjoy the music now in Beijing as I bought a CD in Bali. As I like Japanese enka (a popular song), folk songs of Okinawa and Khoomei (a ongol folk song by special vocalization), I can now enjoy more “Asian music”, with the Bali music added to my collection.   As I am a scholar of social science of humanities, I learned a lot from my observation of the life style in Bali. After the conference which ended on 23rd August, I joined a field trip on 24thAugust. To my surprise, there were many shrines of the Hindu religion everywhere I visited. Total building area of the shrines seems a quarter of the total area of the town. According to our tour guide, people visit the shrines at least twice a day. In other words, the people in Bali have their own religion, belief and life-style, distinct from those of the other inhabitants of Indonesia. How are ordinary Chinese people or intellectuals interested in Bali (and Indonesia)? I think they are not so interested as they are in America or Europe. England is called “British Empire” or “Great Britain” in China. If we call Indonesia, where the total area and population are far more than that of England, as “Great Indonesia”, we would be laughed at.   In China, where people concentrate their thoughts on their economic development, it will be difficult to understand the high “value” of life-style of the Balinese people. Modern oriental history is said to be an invasion from the West and the resistance of the East against the West. On the other hand, however, the East accepted ethics and values of the West. We have to look frankly at both these aspects. There is a word “勢利” (pronunciation “shi-li”) in China, which means “an attitude to be influenced by money and authority” .   Both, modern Japan and China today are in the “勢利” It is not only Japan but also China which have been taken ill by a sickness called “Western inclination”. Both of us pursue “development” in terms of”the wealth and military strength of the country”. Bali Island taught us that “development” and “the wealth and military strength” are not absolute but just relative values.   The Asia Future Conference was held at the beach in the southeastern part of Bali Island. There is no building except our ten-story high Hotel. After the construction of the Hotel, it was prohibited to construct buildings taller han the palm trees. This prohibition was initiated and adopted by the peoples’ movement. I have become increasingly disgusted with the high-rise buildings in Tokyo and Beijing after observing low buildings amid green flora in Bali. Ourlocal tour guide explained that the people of Bali “plant rice plants and trees as much as possible and never plant “cement”. I thought he was like a philosopher. He expressed the values of Bali beautifully. The economic development of Bali may be behind that of the Chinese coastal areas. But, we cannot say people in Bali are not always happy. Or rather, their life-style is more “reasonable” than that of ours who live in big cities.   It is indeed fortunate that the sponsor of the conference selected Bali Island as venue, but I think the appreciation and understanding of general theme “Diversity and Harmony” was greatly enhanced by holding the conference at Bali Island. Hundreds of participants from several counties enjoyed the “Shi-shi-mai” (Japanese Lion Dance) and Indonesian Barong Dance in Bali Island, where people adhere to Hinduism, with Indian and Chinese cultural influences.   I thought this is just wonderful manifestation of “Diversity and Harmony”. What I thought to be more important is the realization by the participants that the idea of “Diversity and Harmony” is highly desirable. I thought the objective of the sponsor who gave “two places” dual meaning, (though I think it may be more than two) to the participants from several countries was fully accomplished. The Asian Future Conference has established a community of values. Though the participants came from various countries and were engaged in various fields, they had or began to have “common values”. Common values include concern and sympathy about Asia and respect for the others. I believe the future of Asia will be certainly bright if such a community which have common values become bigger. There are many wealthy people in China now. I hope they contribute to cultural exchange across borders, modeled after the Atsumi International Foundations.   (Professor, Institute of Literature , Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)   Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Mac Maquito   SGRA Kawaraban 423 in Japanese (original)
  • Hajime Takahashi “Re-consideration of Diversity”

    The 2nd Asia Future Conference, sponsored by Atsumi International Foundation, was held on August 22~24, at Bali, Indonesia and 380 participants from 17 countries, including researchers, having studied in Japan, had hot discussions. Theme of conference this time was “Diversity and Harmony”. As the conference should be based on academic approach, a lot of sessions and lively discussion on extensive range, such as globalization, peace, sustainability, environment and communication, were held. I, myself, attended 3 sessions regarding main theme “Diversity and Harmony”. And as I co-chaired at the final session, I like to re-study about “Diversity” based on research publication and discussion at the conference.   When we think of the meaning of ‘diversity’ from daily context, we can say “to exist in diversely and differently”. Originally, this word have been used in the field of biology. But, we use this word very often in the field of sociology, politics and international relations now. Actually, in multiracial nations, a slogan “integration in diversity” is being used as racial integration. Indonesia, where the conference was held, consists of about 17,000 islands and around 228 million of people are living in those 9,000 islands. Around 490 groups of race are succeeding their own ethnic and diversified culture. (Official website of the Ministry of Sightseeing Creative Economy, Indonesia)   There were two publications this time regarding ‘BATIK’, Indonesian traditional clothes. It is said Batik, as a symbol of the integration of various races, played an important role when Indonesia became independent as a republic. They created special Batik of their own as a tool for integration of different races, which does not impartial to any races who had their own Batik and were adopted as uniforms of students of junior/middle/high schools and public officials. Indonesian Batik is now acknowledged as the World’s intangible cultural heritages and contributes to an establishment of identity of Indonesia in the world community. It is good example that variety of Indonesia, which have been said to be difficult to overcome, has been overcome by Batik which were the great common factors among variety of races, or by adoption of patterns which impartial to any races. I was impressed by the pointing out of Masakatu Tozu (honorary professor of Kokushikan University), saying “clothes are identities of races” in his speech titled “Trial of Establishment of National Culture in a Multiethnic Indonesia”. Needless to say, there is an existence of suzerain state as an external factor behind their foundation of country, which urge their standing together of Indonesian ethnics and overcame difficulties of establishing national consent.   The word “Diversity” began to be used, as globalization progress, in the context of regional cooperation and integration among nations. Actually, when we think of the future of Asia in the conference, “Diversity and Harmony” were discussed from various aspects and “Unity in Diversification” became an unavoidable theme on regional cooperation and integration. “Unity and Diversity” is the motto of EU which have accomplished unprecedented deepening of regional integration. EU explained on their official website that European people live and cooperate together for the purpose of our peace and prosperity in the form of EU and become rich by our diversified and different cultures, traditions and languages.   There is a picture card named “a perfect European” which I bought in Brussels as a souvenir in 1980s and have thought a great deal of it even now. This card explain diversity in Europe humorously making fun of characters of EU 15 members of country(at that time) saying paradoxically and ironically “driving a car like French, excel in technics like Portuguese, controlling themselves like Italian, carefully like Danish, humorous like German, being organized like Austrian, talkative like Finnish, famous like Luxemburg people, generous like Dutch, being good at cooking like English, few off duty like Belgian, flexible like Swedish, sober like Irish, and modest like Spanish. Number of member countries of EU is 28 now. They have a customs union, common international trade policy, market integration, introduction of common currency and common foreign policy. They verified toward international societies that it is possible to make an international connection by transferring sovereignties depending on the field of policies.    In Asia too, market integration, in the frame of ASEAN, is going to be accomplished. At Jakarta airport, immigration controls for ASEAN people are separated from non-ASEAN people like EU. It clearly shows harmony in diversity is being realized in Asia. At the sessions which I co-chaired, there were questions about concrete meanings in ‘unity in diversity’ in the context of Asia. Against such questions, presenters explained that each country shall recognize the difference mutually and produce new values which are more than their own. It is common with the motto of EU. Proposition which I encountered at the 2nd Asia Future Conference was “we cannot cooperate because of our differences” or “we should cooperate each other because of our differences”. Actually, in the case of North-East Asia or East Asia where cooperation or connection on regional revel fell behind most the world stream, people often say that it is impossible to make a framework for systematic connections. Dr. Maria Elena Tisi, University of Bologna, who introduced a trial to produce harmony from a comparison between children’s book of Italy and Japan, said “a word ‘difference’ does not limit to big difference, such as culture, language and religion, and small difference also can be a reason for big reasons, - - - It is important to make the most of such differences not trying to overcome.” It is very suggestive when we think of ‘diversity”. It is also pointed out at the conference that colors composed of multi-colors bring about complex tone in depth than single color. I talked to one of my friend who is musician about such context in the conference after I returned to Japan. He said promptly and flatly “in the field of music, harmony in diversification is the most basic of basics.” He said also “an orchestra is compilation of harmony of variety of musical instruments” and never forget to add pointing out “for this purpose, existence of conductor as a great leader of an orchestra is absolute condition”. It weighs on my mind when I re-consider ‘diversity’ in international context. Can I say the word ‘diversity’ has different meaning such as 多用性(multi-usable) or 他用性 (used in different way) ?   I dare to emphasize that it is important to consider geographical neighborhood when we discuss about ‘diversity’ in the context of Asian region. It is an undeniable fact that there are unavoidable relations among neighboring countries. When we discuss about ‘diversity’, it is also important to have viewpoints whether we understand the relations with neighboring countries positively or negatively.   The 2nd Asia Future Conference was a good chance for me to recognize that domestic political factors in the context of North East Asia and struggles for leadership among nations in East Asia are hazards for forming systematic frameworks for regional connections.   (SGRA Counselor)   Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Mac Maquito   SGRA Kawaraban 421 in Japanese (original)  
  • The First Asia Future Conference Report

    From March 8 (Fri) to 10 (Sun) 2013 at the Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao, Bangkok (Thailand) , the 1st Asia Future Conference was held with 322 participants from 20 countries. The general theme was “Asia in the World: Potentials for Regional Cooperation”, from which international and inter-disciplinary discussions were developed.The conference was the result of more than two years of preparations as SGRA’s new project, and brought together former foreign students of Japan, and promising researchers with an interest on Japan, with the objective of providing a venue for discussing about the future of Asia.From March 8th (Fri) 10 AM, the opening ceremony was performed solemnly. After Conference Chairman Yasushi Akashi proclaimed the opening of the conference, a welcome greeting was made by Rector Somkt Lertpaithoon on behalf of the main host Atsumi International Foundation and co-hosts Kita-Kyushu University and Thammasat University, followed by a congratulatory speech from the Japanese Ambassador to Thailand His Excellency Shigekazu Sato.From 10:30 AM, the Keynote Speech was given by Kengo Kuma renowned architect not just in Japan but throughout the world on the theme “Age of Location” about an architecture that designs with a keen attention to place. While showing images of architectural creations, he fascinated an audience of 1200 as he spoke of an architecture that uses materials that could only be obtained from the place, employs craftsmen that deeply know the place, harmonizes with the climate and environment, and truly fulfills the needs of people.In the afternoon and the following day, there were eight invited guest speeches and eight parallel sessions, wherein 219 papers were presented in 55 separate sessions in total. The invited speakers and their topics are as follows.Guest Speech (Social Sciences) Yasushi Akashi (former Under Secretary of the United Nations) “The Fragile Nature of Peace” Larry Maramis (Director, ASEAN Secretariat Cross-Sectoral Cooperation) Yang Dongliang (Professor, Nankai Univeristy) “Chu-Nichi Kankei no Kouzouteki Tenkan to Toumen no Kadai” (Structural Shifts of China-Japan Relations and Current Issues) Lee Won Deog (Professor, Kookmin University) “Higashi Ajia Kyoudoutai no Genjou to Nikkan Kankei” (The Current Situation of the East Asia Community and Japan-Korea Relations)Guest Speech (Humanities) Ge Zhaoguang (Professor, Fudan University) “Naze Higashi Ajia na no ka, Toua no Aidenthiti wo Ika ni Kouchiku suru ka” (Why East Asia, How to Build the East Asia Identity) Shin’ichi Yamamuro (Professor, Kyoto University) “Kuukan Ajia wo Umidasu Chikara – Kankyou wo Matagu Hitobito no Kouryuu” (The Force Created by Spatial Asia – The Exchange of People Straddling Environment)Guest Speech (Natural Sciences) Nakagami Hidetoshi (Head, Jukankyo Research Institute) “Promotions of Energy-Efficient Appliances by Using a Utility Bill-Payback Scheme in Vietnam” Tan Hongwei (Professor, Tongji University) “From Green Campus to City Sustainable Development”(Speeches with English titles were given in English, and those with Japanese titles were given in Japanese. With the exception of Prof. Ge whose speech was given in Chinese and translated to Japanese)Prior to the holding of the conference, 146 papers submitted online by the December 31st deadline were screened for 22 best papers. The best papers will be published within the fiscal year 2013 as a compendium of the best papers for the Asia Future Conference. Moreover, one person was chosen from each of the 48 sessions and were each given a best presentation award. Three posters from the 15 posters were chosen to receive the best poster award. These awards were given during the awarding ceremony held in the cheerful atmosphere of the Farewell Party. For a list of the awardees, please see the link below. List of AwardeesAt 9 AM of March 10th (Sun), a round-table discussion was held on the theme “The Current Situation and Issues of Japan Studies in the Era of Globalization” After Prof. Min Wang of Hosei University gave an introduction, there were reports on the present situation and issues of Japan Studies in Thailand (Assoc. Prof. Warintorn Wuwongse, Thammasat University), Vietnam (Professor Nguyen Bich Ha, Hanoi Foreign Trade University), India (Assoc. Prof. Ranjana Mukhopadhyaya, Delhi University), South Korea (Vice Professor Ki Jeon Nam, Seoul National University), Taiwan (Prof. Shing-Ching Shyu, Taiwan University), and China (Director Xu Yiping, Beijing Center for Japanese Studies). After a break, Kyoto University Professor Shin’ichi Yamamuro and four designated discussants (Prof. Yong Wang, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Prof. Zhongchen Wang, Tsinghua University, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Humanities Research Institute Research Fellows Jinghua Zhao, and Bingyue Dong, Prof. Won Deog Lee, Kookmin University) gave very interesting comments.For a more detailed conference program, please see the following link: Conference ProgramOther than the above academic program, participants enjoyed the welcome party held by the poolside, and excursions to Ayutthaya, Grand Palace, the Floating Market, etc.The First Asia Conference was hosted by the Atsumi International Foundation, co-hosted with the Thammasat University and Kita-Kyushu University, supported by the Ministry of Education, the Japanese Embassy in Thailand, and three other institutions, funded by grants from the Japan Foundation and the Tokyo Club, with the cooperation of the Honjo International Scholarship Foundation, the Kamenori Foundation, and three other organizations, and sponsored by Air Nippon Airways, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Chugai Pharmaceutical Corporation and 14 other companies. The Honjo International Scholarship Foundation sent 40 participants. Kajima Thailand gave its full cooperation in Bangkok. The full list of institutions and firms can be seen from the link below: Full List of Firms and Institutions I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the more than 300 participants, to those who supported the holding of the conference, to the volunteers who cooperated in many ways, for the success of the first Asia Future Conference.Pictures of the First Asia Future Conference could be found at the link below: Pictures of First Asia Future ConferenceThe Asia Future Conference is a new project that was planned on the occasion of the Atsumi International Foundation’s transition into a Public Interest Incorporated Foundation. Owing to the donation of the Asia 21 Scholarship Foundation, this will be a project that aims to hold this conference five times over a ten-year period. The 2nd Asia Future Conference will be held on August 22-24, 2014 at Bali, Indonesia. We look forward to everyone’s participation. For details, please see the link below: 2nd Asia Future Conference(Junko Imanishi, Managing Director Atsumi International Foundation/Chief Representative SGRA, translated by Max Maquito) Nihongo Version
  • Call For Papers (1st Asia Future Conference)

    Submit your paper abstract through your personal webpage on this website due by March 31, 2012 (Sat.).
  • Call for Papers (1st Asia Future Conference)

    Submit your paper abstract through your personal webpage on <a href="http://www.aisf.or.jp/AFC/"><u>this website</u></a> due by March 31, 2012 (Sat.).
  • Website for the 1st Asia Future Conference launched.

    Check it out here