Fourth G1 Summit (2): Scenes from the First Day of the Summit

(I produced this column based on my own tweets. I made minimum corrections and additions to my tweets, thinking that columns like this should communicate how I felt and what I thought at each point.)

The G1 Summit finally gets underway today. Since the first time, we have held this conference in remote locations, following Davos as an example. But unlike the Davos Forum, our G1 Summit has changed its venue from one year to another. We have hosted this meeting in Bandai, Tomamu, and Kobuchizawa in that order. The latest one takes place in Aomori. All G1 Summit participants get to know each other quite well because they spend nights together in a remote location, which is one of the advantages of our conference. On the other hand, wintertime access is a drawback. Two years ago, an airline cancelled a flight to Tomamu because of a snowstorm. The flu going round may cause several people scheduled to speak to miss the meeting this year.

Starting this year, we will be connecting with speakers who had to cancel at the last minute via the V-CUBE web conference system. We will also be streaming conference proceedings with the speakers’ approval. People who are unable to attend the G1 Summit in person can take part through the V-CUBE system. We are hoping to further strengthen this conference by taking full advantage of the technologies available.

The G1 Summit has three basic policies. They are (1) to make proposals rather than mere criticisms, (2) to take actions, not just form ideas and (3) to foster awareness as Japanese leaders. This year, I chose to drop the expression “next-generation” from the third policy and simply state “leaders”. It’s time for our generation to take the leadership in this country. The question of “how” will be discussed at this G1 Summit.

I’m moving from Morioka to Misawa now. The G1 Summit will begin at long last. I’m beginning to feel uplifted. I arrive at Hachinohe Station. It’s clear and sunny. Access to the venue should be no problem in this weather. I’m in a cab now, traveling to the Hoshino Resort Aomoriya, the G1 Summit venue for this year.

I arrived at the Hoshino Resort Aomoriya. It’s finally time for the G1 Summit. After inspecting the venue, I welcomed the visitors. Participants arrived one after another. LDP politician Hiroshige Seko and 25 other interested people are inspecting a suspended spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho Village. The G1 Summit 2012 will start with the first session from 1:30 p.m.

Participants continue to arrive at the venue in light snow. The uniting theme for this fourth G1 Summit is “A Vision and Actions for Rebuilding Japan.” Young leaders from across Japan gather here to discuss this theme for moving their country forward. The conference is about to start at any moment now.

The first plenary session that kicked off the G1 Summit is live-broadcasted online. Regrettably, CEO Yasuyuki Nambu of Pasona Group Inc. cancelled his participation at very short notice because he had come down with the flu. Daisuke Iwase and Kazuo Noda sit on the panel for this session. The two panelists, close to 50 years apart in age, are going to discuss “Expectations for G1 Summit Leaders.” I’m going to moderate their discussion as a stand-in for Nambu.
(Click this web link to watch the archived video.)

Breakout sessions followed afterwards. One of them looked into “Utilization of Women as Social Capital”. Yuko Kawamoto from Waseda University, Naoko Banno from NonStress, and Lin Kobayashi from the Foundation for International School of Asia, Karuizawa served on the panel for this session. William Saito moderated their discussions. Saito is a member of the WEF Global Agenda Council on women.
(Click this web link for the session proceedings.)

We are offering a streaming broadcast of a session on tourism now. President Yoshiharu Hoshino of Hoshino Resort Co., Ltd., Suguru Tomizuka from the Jalan travel magazine, graphic designer Kenya Hara, and Hitoshi Maeyama, the managing director of a fund that invests in the Hoshino Resort Aomoriya and other resort facilities, serve on this panel moderated by Takashi Mitachi from the Boston Consulting Group.
( Click this web link to watch the archived video.)

The third breakout session titled “Thinking about New Capitalism” is going to take place at the former residence of Eiichi Shibusawa located on the premise of the Hoshino Resort Aomoriya. Ken Shibusawa, a direct descendant of Eiichi Shibusawa, and Hiroshi Tasaka will speak at this session.

I’m taking part in the “Thinking about New Capitalism” session at the former residence of Eiichi Shibusawa now. Sliding doors were taken away to hold the session in the substantial reception room filled with old books. A snowscape extends beyond the windows. Session participants are huddling around a kerosene heater to keep warm. The atmosphere is excellent. Good discussions are likely to take place here.

I’m on my way back to the main conference venue. In fact, I wanted to listen to the panelists more, but as the organizer of the G1 Summit I have to see as many sessions as possible. I made the difficult decision to leave the former Shibusawa residence.

Returning to the main venue for the G1 Summit, I took part in a session that began at 4:45 p.m. I’m participating in the breakout session on “The Impact of Social Networking Services and Cloud Computing” now. Minoru Imano of Globis Capital Partners (GCP) is serving as the moderator for this session, which is streaming online now. Entrepreneurs in their 30s, including Yuki Naito from Drecom Co., Ltd., Daisuke Yanasawa from KAYAC Inc., Naoaki Mashita from V-cube, Inc. and Tetsuro Yoshimatsu from istyle Inc. are on the panel.
( Click this web link to watch the archived video.)

In my assessment, moderator Imano ranks with GCP’s Shinichi Takamiya as the venture capitalists most acquainted with social networking services and cloud computing in Japan at the moment. A long list of prominent companies, such as GREE Inc., istyle, Lifenet Insurance Company, V-cube, KAYAC, and Oisix Inc., comprise GCP’s investments. Incidentally, all their CEOs are taking part in this G1 Summit.

The session is about to end. The four entrepreneurs offered interesting perspectives during the course of their discussion. I wanted to stay, but I had to go. The program advanced at a relatively leisurely pace on the first day. The schedule will be tight from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow. I’m on a bus now, moving to another venue on the same premise to have exchanges with participants from 7 p.m.

I returned to my hotel room after the third post-session party on the first day of the G1 Summit. The party has just ended. The IPO decision made by Lifenet Insurance Company warmed the party tremendously. I drank and chatted a lot there and I’m in high spirits now. Tomorrow, we will be joined by VIPs such as Seiji Maehara, Shigeru Ishiba, Heizo Takenaka, Chairman Yasuchika Hasegawa of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, Chairman Masahiro Sakane of Komatsu Ltd., and Minister of the Environment Goshi Hosono. I should prepare for tomorrow by getting a good rest.


February 2012
Yoshito Hori
Written on the basis of my own tweets

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