Keyword search
Tag search
Career Success
JUN 14, 2013

Tour of seven Asian cities, Part I: scenes from Sendai, Fukuoka, and Jeju Island

By Yoshito Hori

This business trip is going to be tough-I am covering seven cities in nine days.

Whenever I go on a business trip, I try to make the most of it by accomplishing many tasks. My principle is to kill at least two or three or even six or seven birds with one stone. The idea for this tour of seven Asian cities took shape when the date of the seminar featuring Governor Yoshihiro Murai of Miyagi Prefecture was set on May 29, when I had already been booked to attend the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2013 in Myanmar from June 5 through 7. Consequently, I was invited to speak at the Jeju Forum on May 31. So I decided to fill in the days between these events with the President’s seminar in Fukuoka and GLOBIS Seminars in Shanghai, Singapore and Bangkok.

As a result, I am on a very tight schedule, with seven Asian cities to visit in just nine days (“visiting Asian cities” does not only mean going abroad, for Sendai and Fukuoka are also in Asia, which includes Japan).

I hope that by compiling my tweets and Facebook photos and captions I will be able to provide you with a vivid scene-by-scene account of my tour.

Wednesday, May 29
I’m meeting Governor Yoshihiro Murai of Miyagi Prefecture at GLOBIS Sendai at 7 p.m. I feel highly honored to welcome Governor Murai to GLOBIS, the first and only graduate school of business administration in the Tohoku region. I’m looking forward to his talk, which will likely touch on the disaster, restoration and leadership.

I welcomed Governor Murai at the basement porte-cochere of the AER Building, in which GLOBIS Sendai is located. I led him to our “campus” on the 26th floor. His lecture began. He had generously prepared a 56-page reference file and two video presentations. His lecture is titled “Business Creation in Miyagi, Tohoku.” Can’t wait!

Leadership in emergency situations - key points within an organization: 1) communicate clearly and concisely, starting with the most important element; 2) identify problem areas, and clarify 5Ws and 2Hs (who, what, when, where, why, how and how much) on the spot; 3) prioritize actions, always anticipating the next step; 4) protect subordinates.

Leadership in emergency situations 2 - key points in interactions with those outside the organization: 1) reassure affected people; 2) provide information actively; 3) always stay calm (keep a calm appearance even if you’re emotional inside); 4) never stay away from the principles, except when making changes that benefit all.

Leadership in emergency situations 3 - key points for mental stability: 1) think positive (to attract good luck); “Things will always get better if you keep plugging away at what is right.” “This is a great development opportunity for Miyagi.” 2) Take full responsibility for what you do. “Fear the risk involved in hesitating, instead of the risk of being criticized.”

Examples of post-disaster restoration through private investment: 1) privatization of Sendai Airport and regional revitalization; 2) designation of special restoration zones for the marine products industry; 3) endeavors to promote the sixth industry.

Rich content, and more to come. After his one-hour speech, my interview with Governor Murai will begin at 8 p.m.

I finished my interview with Governor Murai. He’s an ardent reader of Konosuke Matsushita and the philosopher Shinzo Mori. His personal motto is “Do my very best and leave the rest to Providence.” He’s currently working on projects related to privatization of the airport, special fishery zone designation, and liberalization of agriculture and medical care. I expressed my strong support for private equity participation in agriculture and liberalization of medicine. He is the kind of governor I want to support. I’m grateful for this encounter.

After a party, I had a relaxing meal of ramen noodles with GLOBIS staff and then went to bed.

Thursday, May 30
Soon after rising, I headed for Sendai Airport on the airport access line. I’m flying out to Fukuoka. On this trip, I’m covering a total of seven cities. In each of these cities, I am taking the stage either in a panel discussion, an interview session or in a lecture. My speaking tour began in Sendai in the north and is now moving to Fukuoka in the west-southwest.

Upon arriving in Fukuoka, I enjoyed a bowl of tonkotsu ramen (pork broth-based noodles). While flying, I finished Governor Murai’s Fukko-ni Inochi-o Kakeru (Dedicating My Life to the Post-disaster Restoration). I was deeply touched by his positive attitude, strong will and noble ideals. I’m now on my way to a radio station to do a recording. In the evening, I have the President’s Seminar at GLOBIS Fukuoka.

GLOBIS Fukuoka, GLOBIS’ fifth “campus” was completed in April 2013 in ACROS Fukuoka (a public/private event and commercial complex). It began with single-subject graduate-level courses in April. The school attracted over twice as many students as initially estimated, and two or three courses were added in a hurry. I’m looking forward to today’s seminar at GLOBIS Fukuoka, which I’m visiting for the first time today.

The radio program recording was completed at KBC (Kyushu Asahi Broadcasting) in Fukuoka. Here’s a photo of myself with Mr. Hiroyuki Takeuchi, the program host, doing the “thumbs up” pose together. My appearance in Mr. Takeuchi’s program was realized thanks to his most kind and earnest invitations via Twitter and Facebook. The program will be broadcast around 7:30 a.m. on Friday, May 31. 

GLOBIS Fukuoka, which I visited for the first time, turned out to be more nicely compact and functional than expected. The view from the classrooms was great. Having transparent and frosted glass partitions installed between the classrooms and the lounge was the right thing to do. The natural light and the views make the place seem spacious. I feel very grateful that nearly 100 people came to the President’s seminar today. I’m counting on your support for GLOBIS Fukuoka!

After the seminar and a party, I had pleasant conversations with Mr. Takeuchi and others. I drank wine outdoors while watching the Naka River tranquilly flowing along the sandbank. Feeling great!

Friday, May 31
KBC’s “Friday That’s on Time! ” was broadcast this morning, and my part appeared at 7:35 a.m. Since the program was recorded yesterday, I was in bed sound asleep while it was being aired.

At 9:30 a.m., I visited Mr. Soichiro Takashima, Mayor of Fukuoka City, at city hall. We first met at the G1 Summit, and since then we’ve been discussing new ways that the public and private sectors can work together. Looking back on my interview with the Governor of Miyagi Prefecture the day before yesterday, I can say that both leaders want to (re)vitalize their cities and spread energy to the rest of Japan. Here’s a photo of Mayor Takashima and me at Fukuoka City Hall.

I had tonkotsu ramen again, for the second time in two consecutive days! Then I headed for Fukuoka Airport by taxi. From there I’m flying westward to Jeju Island, South Korea, the third destination of my tour of seven cities. I’m speaking at an international conference there. This will be my second time in Jeju. It’s extremely close to Fukuoka. This convenience is unbeatable.

Arrived on Jeju Island - only 45 minutes from Fukuoka. So pleasantly convenient. Fukuoka is closer to Seoul and Shanghai than to Tokyo. While talking with Mayor Takashima, the idea of offering a special course at GLOBIS Fukuoka came to mind. It’d be called something like Course in Asian Strategy. At Sendai, we held a special course in social entrepreneurship, partly influenced by the local post-disaster restoration movement. In Fukuoka, the focus will be Asian strategy.

A black car sent by the conference organizer was waiting for me at the airport. I arrived at the hotel, the venue of the conference, in 45 minutes. I was received at the hotel entrance and escorted to my room. I changed into a suit there and then went to the venue. My talk is scheduled to begin at 16:10. The theme of this session is “Internationalizing Education in Asia.” I’m feeling relaxed about my talk since I only have to share my GLOBIS experience.

This conference is called the “Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity.” Other speakers from Japan include Hakubun Shimomura, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and Yukio Hatoyama, former prime minister of Japan. Among the speakers from other Asian countries is Mahathir Mohammad, former prime minister of Malaysia. These names should indicate the importance South Korea attaches to this event. The total number of participants is about 3000. It’s my turn soon. Here I come, doing my best!

At Jeju Forum, in front of the GLOBIS logo:
At the end of the event, with the other speakers 

Mr. Shimomura was speaking in the session held in the room next to the one I was in. Our sessions were the last on the program. I’m now at the Farewell Dinner. Mr. Shimomura is seated at the head table. I was glad that I was able to exchange a few words with him earlier, for the first time in a long while. The other participants from Japan include Yoshiki Otake, Chairman of Aflac Japan, and Tetsuo Gyotoku, philosopher, calligrapher and founder of the Japan Institute for Research of BE (Basic Encounter).

With Mr. Hakubun Shimomura

I have known Mr. Shimomura since his Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly days. I have been supporting him since those days as a member of his supporters’ association. I’m glad that he’s assumed a ministerial post. I hadn’t seen him since the kickoff ceremony for the Lower House election campaign last year.

Saturday, June 1
I spent a quiet day on Jeju Island. I visited Jeju Folk Village Museum which is located next to the hotel. I stood on the vast museum site, on which old houses were gathered for preservation, reflecting on the Japanese Consul’s words: “the Korean public opinion appears to have become increasingly narrow-minded. It is critically important that Japan rationally responds to the views of the Koreans in their 30s and 40s who grew up receiving biased history education.”

I have many Korean friends and adore Korean culture and cuisine. Still I can’t help but bear bad feeling toward the prejudiced anti-Japanese attitude and distorted view of historical events that are widespread among certain Koreans. It’s fine if Japanese and Koreans have differing views but we should never stop active dialogue. Last night I pointed out to my Chinese and Korean friends that Japan is always ready to talk and that it’s the Chinese and Korean sides who refuse to come to the table.

After a short break, I worked out in the outdoor swimming pool at the hotel, training for the swim part of an upcoming triathlon. From there, I looked up and found a Korean entrepreneur taking a walk. We had met several years ago and had a heated debate over the history issue throughout the night. This had brought us very close. We chatted for about 10 minutes and promised each other we’d be in touch. He left, and I went back to my swimming.

Sunday, June 2
I woke up in the morning and immediately set out to write. I stayed put in my hotel room and completed the defense section 1 of the “100 Actions.” For lunch, I had samgyeopsal (grilled pork). Jeju Island is famous for Jeju Black Pig. I tried a popular Korean restaurant near the hotel. I placed my order by fully mobilizing my body language skills. After enjoying the pork dish, I headed for the airport. The black car was marked “VIP” in large letters.

I arrived at Jeju Airport in about 50 minutes. Flying southward from here to Shanghai, the fourth city of the tour.

June 2, 2013
In the plane from Jeju Island to Shanghai
Yoshito Hori