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  • DALE Sonja “I participated in Asia Future Conference from home”

    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
  • Khin Maung Htwe “Asia Future Conference – As a participant after an interval of twenty years”

    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
  • LI Kotetsu “The 6th AFC INAF Session Report ‘Let’s learn more about Taiwan’”

    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
  • AFC 6 RoundTable 2 Report

    SGRA Report Special Issue   AFC6 Round Table 2 Contemplating the World from Southeast Asian Lens 1:  "Community and Global Capitalism ~ It’s a Small World After All ~"   Date:August 29, 2022 (Mon) Venue:Taiwan (via ZOOM) Organizer:Atsumi International Foundation Sekiguchi Global Research Association (SGRA)   Abstract In a world that seems to misconstrue globalization as global standardization that is based on establishing hegemonies, ASEAN stands in stark contrast with its respect for diversity based on a principle of non-interventionism. This call for harmony amidst diversity is in fact the hallmark of the Atsumi International Foundation’s vision of good global citizenship. This in turn has been imbibed by the Sekiguchi Global Research Association, which has been organizing various seminars, one of which is the sustainable shared growth seminar series in the Philippines.    These sustainable shared growth seminars have always been concerned with communities. This proposed session is in line with the seminars’ focus on decentralization as a major principle in attaining sustainable shared growth. In the roundtable, this focus on communities is taken using international, interdisciplinary, and inter-sectoral lenses, with a strong Southeast Asian perspective.   The term ‘small world” is understood in two senses. In the first sense, we borrow from social network theory, which looks at nodes in a complex network as being effectively separated by small degrees so that everyone essentially lives in a small world. In the second sense, we refer to the small worlds of communities, the microcosms of our societies.   Social Network theory tells us that a small world network, especially with scale-free tendencies, tends to create hubs, which make the network more efficient, as well as more robust against random shocks, such as natural disasters, but less robust against orchestrated shocks, such as simultaneous terrorist attacks. The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us once again that the global economy is a small world after all. While conspiracy theories would tell us that this was a concerted attack that brought the global economy to its knees, latest evidence-based analysis tells us otherwise. In either case, the pandemic is similar to an orchestrated terrorist bombing attack as it almost simultaneously struck the major hubs of the global economy. This is a natural result of the hubs being the major points of entry of people or virus carriers from all over the world.   This roundtable brings together those from Southeast Asia who are contemplating communities in a turbulent global economy. The pandemic has also reminded us that the small worlds of communities may just be important after all.    Click here for the report.   Sekiguchi Global Research Association (SGRA) Atsumi International Foundation
  • 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 [email protected] 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 highlights AFC#3 photos shown in the farewell party (movie) AFC#4 flyer 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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  • 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 :   (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)