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Imagining Japan's Social Landscape:

Phronetic Leadership Post Abenomics

5th Topos Conference (Outline)

Political leaders of the world have always had a strong interest in "the rise and fall of nations", but in this day and age, leaders of global businesses must join those lofty ranks in being concerned with "changes in the world order."

That books analyzing the rise and fall of countries, such as "Why Nations Fail" by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, “The Great Degeneration” by Niall Ferguson, and Francis Fukuyama’s new work “The Origins of Political Order”, have become required reading for these leaders is evidence of this trend. Deciding on the path one’s country will take among the shifting world order, especially political and economic systems and making effective use of society’s capital, requires big-picture and practical discussion. In Japan's case, this means rather than riding the emotional roller coaster that is Abenomics, looking ahead to future issues, such as Japan's sustainability. At this 5th TOPOS conference, we will ponder Japan's future direction together with the following guests.

From France, we have invited Emmanuel Todd, who, one year after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, warned in his global bestseller “After the Empire” that “America’s fall would be a danger to the world.” A historical demographer, Mr. Todd looks at history through the expert lens of demographics in order to analyze the world. Of course, he has looked at Japan through this lens as well, and he is known for presenting truths that Japanese people have not realized before, or if they have, they pretend to know nothing about.

Known as a "Japan optimist", economist Jesper Koll will speak on whether a country’s obsolescence can be seen in its industrial and economic systems. We will also be joined by Mr. Yoichi Funabashi, 2013 recipient of the Oya Soichi Nonfiction Award. Mr. Funabashi has expressed his approbation of w3i, and as chairman of the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation (RJIF), he is uniquely qualified to talk about the ideas and design behind "Japan's New Form". He will be joined by his fellow board member at RJIF and CEO of Lawson, Inc., Mr. Takeshi Niinami.

Currently performing research together with Paul Krugman, the winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economic Science, and head of the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, Dr. Masahisa Fujita will speak from the perspectives of urban economics and regional economics to enlighten us on how cities and rural areas can use self-organization and diversity to create innovation.

We will also be joined by Mr. Kosuke Motani, a regional economist and senior researcher at the Japan Research Institute, Limited who has done survey research in every corner of Japan. Author of the bestselling "The Truth about Deflation", Mr. Motani writes in his new work published last year, "Undeveloped Woodland Capitalism", that change and innovation are born on the frontier. His pragmatic, field-based solution received acclaim not only from municipalities and social entrepreneurs, but from industry pioneers as well. Furthermore, rural areas must activate in a connected and concerted manner in order for a country to remain strong. Chuo University’s Professor Mikiko Ishikawa will speak on this matter and how towns and landscapes can be used as shared social capital. Finally, Mr. Masahiro Negishi of Yakult, a company which invests heavily in social capital, will talk about Yakult’s mission to connect people in rural areas and its activities to that end.

We must ever be vigilant against the risk of leaving everything in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats. The wisdom and practical skills of wise leaders in industry are especially important in regaining Japan's vitality and creating anew a healthy country. We hope you will join us in thinking about and discussing these issues.


The 5th Topos Conference has ended. Thank you for your participation.

Conference Details

Date and Time
Thursday, March 13, 2014; 13:15-20:30 (Doors open: 12:30)
Venue Roppongi Hills Mori Tower 49th floor, Academy Hills’ Tower Hall
Address: 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato ward, Tokyo [Map] Phone: 03-6406-6649
Sponsors Host: World Wise Web Initiative
Sponsors: TKC Group, Japan Tobbaco Inc., Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company, KOZO KEIKAKU ENGINEERING Inc.
Support: National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, FRI
Admission ¥20,000 (tax incl.)
Languages Japanese, English (simultaneous interpretation)


*Programme subject to change

13:15-13:30 Prologue
13:30-14:40 Dialogue Session 1
" Without Wisdom, A Country Will Decline "
14:40-16:30 Dialogue Session 2
" Escaping Overconcentration: Self-created Social Design "
16:30-16:45 Intermission
16:45-18:00 Dialogue Session 3
" Wise Leaders Invest in Social Capital "
18:00-18:30 Overview
Ikujiro Nonaka (Professor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University; w3i co-founder)
18:30-20:30 Networking Session


*Speakers subject to change

(Alphabetically listed)

Masahisa Fujita Head of Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry;
Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University
Yoichi Funabashi Chairman, Rebuild Japan Initiative
Foundation Former Editor-in-Chief, The Asahi Shimbun
Mikiko Ishikawa Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Chuo University
Jesper Koll Managing Director of Research, JP Morgan
Kosuke Motani Senior Researcher, Japan Research Institute, Limited
Masahiro Negishi Director, Senior Managing Executive Officer, Yakult Honsha, Ltd
Takeshi Niinami CEO and Representative Director, Lawson, Inc.: President, Lawson University
Emmanuel Todd Historian; Demographer







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