The Fourth JAFE Seminar held
The fourth JAFE Executive Seminar was held on September 17, 2015 at Tokyo American Club with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Akitaka Saiki as our guest speaker. We had initially planned to have Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida as our guest speaker. However, due to an urgent official duty relating to the peace and security legislation, he was unable to attend the seminar and named Mr. Saiki to speak in his place. Mr. Saiki spoke on the theme of "Challenges for Japan's Diplomacy," explaining various challenges facing Japan, including their backgrounds, in a detailed and easy-to-understand manner.
Excerpt from Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Akitaka Saiki's Address at the Executive Seminar
- ◆ Domestic politics and diplomacy are closely intertwined
(1)Peace and security legislation: The enactment of this legislation has great significance that is directly linked to Japan's security and defense policy. It has a great impact on Japan's external relations and how it is viewed by neighboring countries.(2)Relocation of the Futenma base: The central government and Okinawa remain sharply divided. At the same time, however, as we must keep our promise to our key ally, the United States, this is a matter that has significant bearing on the very foundation for mutual trust between the two countries.(3)Abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea: Since 2002 when then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited North Korea, the Japanese government—despite changes in the political leadership—has been consistently working toward solving this problem in order to protect the lives and properties of its people.(4)Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): With each country having its strengths and weaknesses, efforts are being made to coordinate conflicting interests so as to reach agreement in such a way that each country will have some wins to bring home and explain to its people.
- ◆ Shifting power balance
(1)Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin has very high approval ratings in Russia. Although Russia has been facing an economic crisis due to Western sanctions over the Crimean issue, President Putin's hardline foreign policy remains intact.(2)China: President Xi Jinping has been pursuing high-handed diplomacy similar to that of Russia, for instance, by advocating for the "Chinese dream," in which he is linking people's sense of rivalry against the United States, Europe, and Japan to nationalism.(3)Middle and Near East: Syrian refugees are flowing into Germany and other European countries. Due to the expansion of Islamic State, the governments of Middle East countries are paralyzed.(4)International organizations: The Chinese economy has a significant impact as seen in the expansion of the Group of Seven (G7) into the Group of Twenty (G20) and the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), an international financial institution led by China, as a counter-power to the existing international financial regime led by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
- ◆ Cooperation to developing economies
More women than men are active in this field. Women are playing a very important role with their scrupulous consideration to details.
Introduction of Members
Ms. Aiko Okawara
Honorary member of JAFE and Chairman of JC Comsa Corp.
Ms. Aiko Okawara came to Japan in the 1960s after graduating from the University of Geneva, and started up her business two years later. She believes that selecting a niche market, making strenuous efforts to pursue the niche, and moving ahead of time are what are required of entrepreneurs. She is counting on JAFE to disseminate more information and let the world know the presence of outstanding women in Japan.
Ms. Makiko Eda
President of Intel K.K. (Japan)
Having started off her career after the introduction of a law for equal employment opportunities and treatment for men and women, Ms. Makiko Eda has acquired various work and management experiences both in Japan and abroad. She says she can find a silver lining even in very difficult times thanks to what she has experienced to date. She wants to help create a more enabling environment for Japanese women so that they can play more active role in the business world.
Ms. Atsumi Arima
Executive officer and the Head of the Corporate Advisory Division, Mizuho Bank
Ms. Atsumi Arima joined the bank in the year in which the law for equal employment opportunities and treatment for men and women entered into force. She spent three quarters of her career to date working in the area of sales and services to customers. She says that pleasing customers is a pleasure to her. She has been participating in the activity of JAFE as she feels she can learn new and valuable information from other JAFE members who are playing active roles in various fields, just as suggested by the theory of "the strength of weak ties."
JAFE organized its second summer camp at Poppins Training Center in Tateshina, Nagano Prefecture for two days from July 19, 2015. We had Ms. Mariko Bando, an honorary member of JAFE and the president of Showa Women's University, as our speaker on the first day, and Ms. Masako Mori, another honorary member of JAFE and a member of the House of Councillors, on the second day.
During the luncheon meeting on the second day, participants put together a set of policy proposals as "Tateshina Appeal" and submitted it to the government.