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MAR 1, 2013

World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013: Part 4, Japan Night and GLOBIS Night

By Yoshito Hori

My GLOBIS colleagues have now arrived in Davos to help with GLOBIS Night. They are the PR office manager, a president’s office liaison staff member, and an English-language MBA marketing staff member―a Japanese man, a Japanese woman, and a Belgian―a team of diverse members!

The Belgian colleague, Sven, disguised himself as a CNN anchorman to introduce the GLOBIS Night in English in Davos.
1) Outdoor version in Davos “GLOBIS Night! Davos 2013”
2) Venue version “GLOBIS Night! 2013 No.2”

My wife changed into a kimono and left the hotel. I was her escort in snow-covered Davos. I have attended nearly 30 WEF events in my life, but it was the first time for my wife to accompany me. Well, as a matter of fact, it was the first time in 16 years that we had traveled together! We soon arrived at the venue of the Japan Night. Because I needed to check that all the arrangements were in place at the venue of the GLOBIS Night before the Japan Night started, I went back and forth between the two venues.

The Japan Night began with a powerful video message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who promised “I’m NOT easily fading away.”http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0iaqlkORk6E

For this year’s WEF Annual Meeting, Japan tried various new plans. One such plan was to introduce Japan in a speaker session.

The session started with a talk between renowned diplomat Sadako Ogata and Japanese pop star MISIA.
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This was followed by a talk between Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and Yasuchika Hasegawa, chairman of Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives); another one between Ian Bremmer and Atsutoshi Nishida, chairman of the Board of Toshiba Corporation; and finally between Klaus Schwab and Yorihiko Kojima, chairman of Mitsubishi Corporation. Each of these was a compact five-minute talk, but I thought it was quite a well-thought-out session.

When Klaus Schwab arrived at the venue of the Japan Night, I asked him to take a photo with me.

There were several hundred guests at Japan Night. Everyone was enjoying sushi and sake. Time passed quickly. It was nearly 9:00 p.m., the closing time. I had been, in fact, requested beforehand to do something to wrap up the event, which started with an address by Prime Minister Abe. After some thought, I decided to do ipponjime, a Japanese ceremonial hand clapping performed at the end of a special event.
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After the lively Japan Night was over, I moved quickly to the venue of GLOBIS Night. The venue was Schneider’s Café, a patisserie a short distance from the Japan Night venue. GLOBIS’ banner and sign were displayed proudly on the main street of Davos.
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Guests were already there. In Davos’ best patisserie, we offered champagne and Swiss chocolate. There were also sake (top grade (daiginjo) Urakasumi) brought from Japan and some snacks to eat with sake (Kakinotane rice crackers). The shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese musical instrument) music of Shibata Bros, which was played throughout the reception, was also pleasant.

Feel the atmosphere of the GLOBIS Night.
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Our first GLOBIS Night in Davos attracted nearly 300 guests and was a great success. Every time a VIP from abroad arrived at the venue, I was excited. These VIPs included the wealthiest couple in Indonesia, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore and his wife, a Swiss investor, the next president of China’s No. 1 management school, and a Nobel Prize-winning economist from the United States.

One thing that really excited me was to find out that many people remembered e-mails I had sent to the world after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and that this had prompted many VIPs to visit GLOBIS Night. I felt that our network was expanding gradually.

I was exhausted when I arrived back at the hotel. Tomorrow morning, I’m co-chairing the board meeting of the Community of Global Growth Companies. I’m also playing an important role as the discussion leader in the afternoon. I had better go to bed soon to conserve energy for tomorrow.

PS: I’d like here to express my gratitude to the GLOBIS staff who supported GLOBIS Night. Because all the hotels in and around Davos were full, they had to stay in Zurich and spend three hours each way driving on snowy roads to and from Davos. I’d also like to thank the staff of Japan Night.

A tweet from an employee: A shot taken with three other operational staff members at the end of the day. I believe we could help VIPs from around the world to gain a better understanding of Japan. We will do it next year as well!!
Source: “GLOBIS Night!@Davos 2013”
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January 31, 2013
At home in Ichibancho, Tokyo
Yoshito Hori