Table Speech


Initiation Speech

February 29, 2012

Mr. Takashi Sasaki
Mr. Toshihiko Fukui

Initiation Speech

“Inbound Tourism after the Great East Japan Earthquake”

Mr. Takashi Sasaki
Chairman of the Board, JTB Corp.

 The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 inflicted triple disasters to this country: massive tsunami, destruction of nuclear power plants and radiation leakage. Inbound tourism has suffered significant losses as many foreign tourists hesitated to travel to Japan. In this world of global tourism, we have experienced such widespread hesitation in many countries in the past, but subsided as time went by.

 Radiation contamination, however, gives a different picture. Fear and harmful rumors for radiation exposure still remain strong and tourists from European countries stay as low as 20% of the previous year, coupled with the recessions in European economies. Tourists from Asian countries are returning to western Japan, yet hardly any tourists are seen in Tohoku area due to rumors.

 Various efforts are being made by both the public and private sectors to regain inbound tourists to Tohoku. The Global Travel & Tourism Summit will be held in Sendai and Tokyo from April 16, where chief executives of the world’s leading tourism industry and journalists will convene to discuss about sustainable development of this industry. Taking this opportunity we will promote the safety and vitality of Japan throughout the world and also discuss how to overcome the unprecedented disaster of radiation contamination.

 Now, let me touch upon the much-talked-about “Visit Japan Campaign”, a national campaign to make Japan a tourism-oriented country. This campaign has two aspects. Firstly, tourism stimulates the regional economy as it has broad supporting industries. Active inbound tourism will boost the Japanese economy. The second aspect which I want to emphasize is that Japan must further promote international exchanges to maintain its presence in Asia. Let me share with you what I experienced when I made a business trip from Kansai International Airport to Dubai about 10 years ago. The Cathay Pacific flight I took from Kansai was almost empty. When I returned from a transit room at Hong Kong, however, I was astonished to find the aircraft was fully packed. Already back then, the flow of people was much stronger between Hong Kong and Dubai than between Japan and Dubai. Many Japanese tend to think that departure and arrival flights from and to Japan is the trunk air route, so did I. The reality, however, is that it is merely a local flight in Asia.

 Towns along a deserted road will become desolate. Towns along a busy road where people actively exchange will prosper. I am convinced that the Visit Japan Campaign will make Japan an energetic country where people from around the world exchange actively.

Initiation Speech

“Three Paramount Questions Surrounding the Economies of Japan and the World”

Mr. Toshihiko Fukui
The Canon Institute for Global Studies

1. Will the global economy be heading towards stability?
●Inhabitants of planet earth live by different sets of values and developed distinctive histories and cultures of their own. In other words, the world is filled with conflicting values and uncertainty from its start.

● Despite such circumstances, in the world preceding globalization and IT revolution, people that are relatively homogeneous have congregated within national/regional borders and worked to build their respective “ île de stabilité isolé”.

●At present, however, I believe we are returning to the original world full of uncertainty, as people, goods, money and information are able to flow freely, conquering national borders and regional barriers.

● Likewise, on the economic front, advanced economies are currently under tremendous pressure from the emerging economies, the late entrants to market economy. Although the emerging economies must perform their role as robust bolsters of the world economy, they will inevitably be affected to some extent once the advanced economies enter a deadlock.

 In addition, over the longer run, emerging economies are expected to encounter the issues of declining and aging of population currently experienced by advanced economies, which is likely to drag the social unrest to the surface.

● This, as I see it, is ushering into our era the “world economy lacking in steady state.”

2. Is Japan about to embark on a continuous decline after stepping down from the number two position as economic superpower?
● Japan must walk away from its waiting stance and move up a gear to advance into the storm without hesitation.

● That being said, Japan, for now, must deal with two compelling issues common to the other advanced economies (US and Europe).

 For one thing, Japan must endow its economy with dynamics and fortify its growth capacity.

 For another, it needs to ensure steady progression of fiscal consolidation.

● Declining and aging of population have added further burden to the two issues.

● The burden is undeniably heavy, but Japan is fortunate to have more than a few territories for new challenges.

 First, is realizing “true global development” in the economic arena.

 To this end, the private sector is required to complete an optimal business model to take full advantage of the developing overseas markets.

 Also, Japan must become attractive to competent human resources from in and out of the country and solidify its foundation for innovation.

 Second, is to start rebuilding the local communities on full scale.

 In particular, forestry, agriculture and fishery industries have to find ways to draw young workers for continuity.

 Third, is to disseminate Japan’s exceptional quality of “finance for clientele” to entire Asia.

 That is, making the most of its financial philosophy based on fiduciary duty to differentiate itself from US and Europe.

3. Can the perception gap regarding nuclear energy safety cause distortion in the world’s energy supply?
● Long-term fix of energy security is a prime prerequisite to economic growth. Existing potential seeds for international dispute that lie beneath procurement of energy resources must be reckoned with.

● Important points for Japan’s basic plan for energy:
One, that it clearly specifies the goal for enhancing energy self-sufficiency.
 
 Two, that it calls for developing renewable energies and to lead the world with policies consistent with countermeasures for global warming.

● However, it is impossible to accomplish nuclear power phaseout immediately.

● As a first step, it is necessary to establish through international collaboration a line for sharing nuclear energy safety standards at high levels.

●Public insurance should cover the costs incurred by possible accidents despite these efforts. Furthermore, the responsibilities, if any, of the power company must be clarified retroactively, and, to prepare for possible bankruptcy of the utility, a bailout mechanism should be installed against the risk of severed power supply system that might follow.

 Also, these schemes must be internationally commonized