Let me introduce to you an essay written by one of my eldest son last week, who graduated from elementary school today. This is one of the many essays my son agreed to write in exchange for the permission to play games on the weekend. He is required to read an article in the Nikkei newspaper and write essays by every Friday. Last week’s topic was tuna diplomacy. The essay contained a revelation that delighted me as a parent.
“I was interested in the recent news that blue fin tuna trade had remained unbanned. The opinion that blue fin tuna trade should be banned was strong around the world, but Japan talked with a lot of people around the world, and it was finally decided that they would not ban blue fin tuna trade.”
“I heard this and learned the importance of having your own opinion at all times and of letting other people hear them. Whenever my opinion was different with somebody else’s, I tended to let their opinions take priority and I remained passive. But from now on, whenever my opinion is different from others, I will try and speak up my opinion.”
I showed this essay to Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Tetsuro Fukuyama at Tomamu, where G1 Summit was held. He was very pleased to read it and promised to show this essay to those involved in the diplomatic talk on tuna. One diplomatic act of Japan had provided an revelation for a young child.
Fukuyama-san, keep voicing your opinions. We’re counting on you.
March 25, 2010