Highlights of the Japanese Development Experiences:
Lessons for JJ/WBGSP Alumni
Tokyo/Kyoto, Japan, October 25-30, 2010
The Japan World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) delivered a one-week study tour in Japan during the week of October 25-30, 2010. This study tour was designed exclusively for alumni of the JJ/WBGSP who completed their Masters’ degrees outside of Japan during 2008 and 2009, and have returned to their home countries. The fifteen participants were competitively selected from 110 applicants from around the world.
The course offered an opportunity for JJ/WBGSP alumni to learn development lessons from Japan's experience - its post-war reconstruction and rapid economic growth, socioeconomic policy, business practices, culture, and more.
Participants attended a series of lectures, company and site visits, meetings with the Ministry of Finance of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), discussions with current JJ/WBGSP scholars studying in Japan, and cultural experiences.
The study tour was organized in cooperation with the Ritsumeikan University, who was selected through a competitive procurement selection process.
At the Ministry of Finance, the group met with Director General of the International Bureau, Mr. Takehiko Nakao who emphasized the importance of acceptance and co-existence of different cultures. He believes this diversity in values and new ideas promotes growth and is what allowed Japan to achieve sustainable growth after the World War II. It is also what continues to keep Japan strong today.
Participant Aderonke Hunmi Abokede, General Manager of Osun State Agency for the Community and Social Development Project, Nigeria agreed. “It is hard to deny that the combination of behavioral norms with practical business has certainly played a major part in Japan's astonishing economic success,” He added “Lesson learnt, which I will apply in my country Nigeria, is that culture interacts with development in many different ways.”
At the site visit to Lake Biwa Environmental Research Institute and the Konan Chubu Water Reclamation Plant, participants observed Japan’s latest eco-technologies. The 86-year old founder and still active, hands-on manager of Horiba, talked about his corporate philosophy and the importance of being happy and having fun at work.
At the closing session in Kyoto, Mr. Nobumitsu Hayashi, World Bank Executive Director for Japan said, “I was very moved by the presentations of the scholars, who one after another testified about how their scholarship had changed their lives and their plans for the future in the 15 countries.”