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100th Anniversary Celebration of the MIT Association of Japan

On November 11, 2011, the association of MIT alumni of Japan held the 100 anniversary celebration at Ark Hills Club in Akasaka area in Tokyo. MIT of course stands for Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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I was invited to give a memorial lecture in that very special event. This was because of the earnest request and recommendation of Mr.Yoichi Yokomizo,the former president of the association whom I used know well as a member of college swimming club which I used to belong, and Mr.Hikaru Shimura, the current president of the association, and perhaps because I was associated with MIT in 1986 as a visiting professor to Sloan School of Management.

The celebration event brought together more than 150 alumni, and the gathering was quite lively, informative and instrumental particularly in networking and making friends. The alumni association of a foreign university kept acting for 100years and still is able to bring together such many alumni, who are playing important roles in their respective profession, seems unique and outstanding. The effort of organizing committee, headed by president Mr.Shimura, must have been exceptional.

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The celebration started with the welcoming address of Mr.Hikaru Shimura, which was followed by the anniversary lecture of myself. Then, congratulatory words were given by Mr.Kiyoshi Tsujimura of NTT-DOCOMO, and Mr.Takashi Oyamada of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. Then, speech was made by special guest, Dr.Susan Hockfield, the 16th president of MIT. After awards were given to the recent presidents to thank their efforts to maintain and develop the association. At the end of celebration part, Dr.Hiroya Fujisaki, president of the association from 1982 to 1990, gave a brief greeting in 100 year retrospective, and taking advantage of this opportunity donated 100million yen to the association and 150million yen to MIT to celebrate the recent 150 anniversary of MIT. His timely and cordial donation was applauded and respected. After the celebration, the lively and fruitful reception was held.

It was amazing the Dr.Suan Hockfield joined the celebration rushing directly from Narita airport. She left California where she had her business to do only half a day earlier. She visited us managing her very tight traveling schedule. Dr.Hockfield is a renowned life scientist, and contributed greatly to make historic convergence of life sciences with the engineering and physical sciences in fields of from clean energy to cancer. She co-chairs a President Obama's initiative of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. Busy as she is, impressive was the fact that she made special effort to join this 100th anniversary and presented well organized speech explaining the status quo of MIT and encouraged Japanese alumni.

I gave a speech entitled, "Japan at a Crossroad: 3.11 and Japan's Recovery," in which I made a rather critical appraisal of our experience of historic disaster, delineated my own view as to what Japan could have done to re-create Japan taking advantage of this historic crisis, and explained challenges and tasks which the new Noda administration is faced. After the speech I received many encouraging comments. This was a good experience for myself.

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