Toward a New Era of Knowledge Dissemination
From its base in one of the world's major metropolises, The Tokyo Foundation is working to disseminate the kind of know1edge that will help global society blaze paths into the new century. In the latter half of the last century, Japan's phenomenal economic development was largely a product of its people's mastery of skills and techniques. While this kind of expertise will, of course, continue to be essential in yielding steadfast results, the coming era brings with it a new set of theoretical dynamics. To extricate itself from the current morass, Japan will need to take bold steps, something akin to building new business models. In an era that thirsts for such new knowledge, it is The Tokyo Foundation's desire to be a matrix for generating and disseminating a constant flow of highly substantive, intellectual content.
In line with this objective, the Foundation took steps in the fiscal year 1999 to synchronize and strengthen the activities carried out by its three operating divisions―namely its Research, Scholarship, and Public Relations Divisions. It may be said that the most salient feature of the Foundation's 1999 program was the framework that these three divisions created for carrying out knowledge dissemination, while each advances its respective mandate.
As Japan's first genuinely independent policy think tank, the Research Division continued during the year to expand the scope of its policy research activities, the fruits of which it began compiling into a "Policy Research Series," co-published with Nippon Hyoronsha Co., Ltd. By its very nature, policy decision-making should be carried out through a democratic process involving the participation of a well-informed public. Accordingly, the accumulation of a large volume of policy research is essential to establishing an open process for resolving complex issues within a mature civil society. The Foundation hopes that through disseminating this "Policy Research Series," it can inform and stimulate policy dialogue among an ever wider body of the Japanese public.
As another step in encouraging wide policy debate, we introduced the active use of visual media. During the year, the Foundation mobilized its own resources to produce a television program series entitled "Policy Vision 21," which provides a platform for both analytical and constructive dialogue among leading experts in the area of policy research. The program was first aired in October 1999 via cable and satellite over the Nikkei CNBC and Kokkai (Diet) TV networks. Through this series, concrete policy recommendations based on the results of policy research are being introduced on a broad range of policy issues. While exploring other means and directions of promoting policy research and dialogue, the Research Division will, as its top program priority, continue to seek greater public empowerment through the fostering of these processes in Japan.
Turning to the Scholarship Division, the year saw it enter into a new phase of program development. A systematic approach was initiated, incorporating program review and assessment, refinement of specific programs and setting the stage for integrating existing and starting up new programs. A leading example of this undertaking involved the Division's flagship program, the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (SYLFF) Program. Whereas it had been on a course of expansion, with some 61 institutions of higher education endowed in 40 countries, and over 7,500 fellowships granted during the 13 years since its establishment, a move was made to also focus on the program's orientation toward greater depth vis-a-vis breadth. Though follow-up programs have been implemented to foster cooperative relations among the SYLFF Fellows both past and present, and among the SYLFF-endowed institutions, a new framework was designed for providing even greater depth to the program's networking activities.
A similar reorientation was also carried out in the Division's World Maritime University (WMU) Fellowship Program, through which 200 fellowships have been granted over the past 13 years.
Up until this year, neither program, though based in Japan, had awarded fellowships to Japanese recipients. The first SYLFF endowment in Japan was made to Keio University, finally linking Japan to the program's worldwide network. Under the WMU program as well, consideration was given to granting the first fellowship to a Japanese specialist in maritime affairs to enroll in WMU's graduate program.
In these ways, the Scholarship Division is working to develop programs tailored to meet the needs of the new era―initiatives aimed at fostering a new generation of young leaders with global perspectives and an appreciation and understanding of pluralistic values and diverse needs, and the ability to discern in their perceptions the Earth's potentials and limitations.
The Public Relations Division has, over the course of the year, worked to create a comprehensive system to promote international understanding of Japan. Its efforts have included the creation of contents for the Foundation's television programs and Web site and the provision of platforms, such as panel discussions and informal confabs, for generating information, which it actively disseminates through a variety of means, including publications, information packages, broadcast media, and the Internet. The Division considers it incumbent upon itself to generate the kind of innovative ideas that will help to advance the creation of a new society―one that endows the world of the 21st century with virtues of coexistence and prosperity. Vigorously disseminating the fruits of these efforts and demonstrating the kind of contribution that Japan is capable of making to international society are the Division's most vital pursuits. Doing so should also be instrumental in supporting and developing the leaders of the 21st century, From this stance, the Division is working to generate and disseminate information of a nature that is both welcome and useful to people around the world. At the same time, as the public relations arm of The Tokyo Foundation, the Division is also striving to enhance international awareness of the Foundation's existence and mission as a base for generating knowledge capable of contributing to both Japanese and global society.