Regarding the commentary “Making Tokyo more competitive” by Haruaki Deguchi in the Aug. 27 edition, a moderate climate makes life pleasant, but weather is not holding Tokyo back from being a leading world city. The city already has a first rate communications and transportation infrastructure, and with the current speed of moving people and information, the city has quick access to global resources.
Plus, Japan needs to change its habit of buying concrete and steel to maintain the economy, and it is prudent to keep debt within a comfortable range to be able to manage changing financial circumstances. I vote for the need to incrementally increase infrastructure usage efficiency through better information management.
To me, the core issue is how people interact with others from different cultures and traditions, but while also being able to speak your own mind with consideration to others.
Teaching English from early childhood is a move in the right direction, but it is not enough. In additional to reading, speaking and writing, one needs to learn to interact with different people, to enjoy people with different ideas and to find solutions together for the benefit of everyone. There are no easy guidebooks on learning to cherish cultural and traditional differences, or how to use diversity as energy for human betterment.
The graying of the population and concentration of people in large metropolises seem to be a natural consequence of higher education, modernization and urbanization. If you accept that these forces are the result of human development, the relocation of young people or better child care programs won’t be the answer to change to them. Why not slowly position and change where people live and match areas of economic activities to changing population demographics. Human capital, innovation, knowledge, AI and emerging new concepts should show us the way.
The Silicon Valley approach to quickly nurture new industries has worked well in the U.S. and is being used in some areas in emerging countries. Instead of merely repeating this in Tokyo, why not further the concept and connect all leading education institutions and private research centers using the information highway to make a single platform for sharing national knowledge that can be accessed from any device.
Then use this national knowledge platform to better learn to appreciate others, to reorganize where people live and work, and come up with Japan-specific ideas and industries that typify its culture and which cannot be easily copied by others. However, to successfully implement this idea, one first needs to develop methods to counter hackers who will be spending sleepless nights to try to take a look inside the treasure cove.
May the future be with Japan!
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.