2017 President's Statement

Junior Chamber International Osaka
Michinori Okabe

Realizing Osaka's "Creative Force"
- Forging the Future with Soft Power -

The future is forged by the people.

The future is shaped by the power of mankind.

Creating the future is the complete fusion of human potential.

The development and spread of IT has brought us unprecedented convenience. During this time of accelerating technological progression, we may have lost our perspective as a people to view and utilize technology as a tool, and not as a way of life. Should we not take pause in becoming aware of our situation, we may jeopardize our way of life in the impossible task of keeping up with the speed of technological progress. It is now fifteen years since the internet captured the attention of the masses, and IT as a tool has become fully established in our lives. Now more than ever, we must appreciate the greatness inherent in the human spirit in order to create limitless value. Towards the end of Japan’s Tokugawa period, a time that marked the start of Japan’s modern era, a man named Tomoatsu Godai devoted his life to the reconstruction of the Osaka economy. He persisted in the challenges in the development of human resources for the future, and the construction of a working societal system. Such perseverance is rare in modern times, and is reflective of the waning power of individuals to create change in today’s world. As a people, we must awaken and realize that our power to spur the future of Osaka is something inherent in our people. We must aspire to create a unifying “Creative Force”, to raise our future aspirations for the public interest and face challenges with change through original ideas.

I will continue to face the challenges that come with in our transformation. I will work to realize my vision and unlock the doors to a future that produces immense value through strength and acute situational awareness. I will honor the power of the human spirit. I will collect, nurture, evolve and unite it to utilize its limitless power to force a path into the bright future that lay before us.

It is Joseph Nye’s concept of the “soft power” of the people to transform, create, and embrace the future, no matter the advancements of IT or AI. We are calling for the mobilization of our “Creative Force” to help solve many challenges. Changes in demographics, the acceleration of population decline Japan, terrorism and global economic issues which occur frequently in globalization. Many of our challenges are borderless in their scope, and we must overcome them to achieve a bright future the next generation will inherit.
For 66 years, we have been working with Junior Chamber International Osaka, who have always been pioneers of searching for, discovering, and uniting the “soft power” of the people, opening up the future of Osaka. We should continue to give birth to the infinite value we can provide for future generations. We must take the long view, and not be seduced by current value. We must accept diversity as it exists, without fear of the unknown. We must take pride in creativity, and spire to the future. We must continue to face the challenges in transforming our city, and realize and embrace the full “Creative Force” of our citizens so they may spread their enthusiasm and inclination towards action.

Let us grow our area's ambitions for the future!

The environment that our children grow up in is changing rapidly, and it is they who will be responsible for future generations. Competition for student attention and a shortened school week are just a few of the new issues facing our society in terms of educating our children. The deficit in educational achievement resulting from such modernization has reached a point where the problem can no longer be overlooked. Education, said to be the source of all power, must be shaken to the core by the strength of the Japanese spirit.
Children need a flexible environment conducive to learning, with the opportunities to acquire the experiences and knowledge to feed their young minds. The experiences they have during their formative years will expand their horizons for judgement and thought, integral elements that will open up the paths they will take in life. They can learn the vast importance of community, through stories of the city’s history and its role in the global stage. We can cultivate generosity with a willingness to accept everything as they are, and we can promote appreciation and caring for others. We should strive for a virtuous morality in our children, one that we can all be proud of as Japanese citizens. For it is with a generous heart, with good judgement and morals, that are children will be more adept at accurately communicating their ideas. They can master their senses and embrace their dreams, with courage and a strong will to realize their goals with the force of action. By being equipped to achieve, their knowledge and dreams can be passed on to their children.
To achieve such aims, we must understand the importance of nurturing the mind. Conventional studying cannot be the sole answer, as we must understand the circumstances of today’s children, surrounded in a world of overflowing information. We must take opportunities as they are discovered, and act in solidarity as a community. We must be kind, yet firm, when it comes to educating our young. We must work together to stimulate the potential for the future of our children. In order to solve these daunting issues, we must be strong.
If we can create the opportunities for experience, knowledge, and critical thinking, we can cultivate a generation of strong minds to pave the future. For our children, we will be united to realize the infinite potential of Osaka.

Let's Create Human Resources full of Global Leadership!

With about 20 million foreigners visiting Japan, TPP and other borderless economic proposals have gained prominence. While physical and economic globalization is progressing, a trend towards isolationism is also gaining a foothold. Much of the movement towards prioritizing domestic issues are due to the vicious economic loop created by the pursuit of profits, as well as the threat of terrorism and other global challenges that the world faces. However, we must not shun reality to favor isolationism, as moving forward solely reliant on our own country is an impossibility, as it exists with many economic links. We must strive to gain understanding about the world as a whole, and practice behaviors that take advantage of the strength through diversity. A solution to our problems must also be mainstream and sustainable.
Osaka has an identity and personality rich with a history of accepting diversity, new things, and the unknown. It is a strength that our city has used to continually to be creative, evolve and grow. That is why our companies and the products they manufacture are world renowned, and we currently have an established role as a city welcoming to foreign visitors to Japan. Those traits have lead the nation to recognize this regional administration as one with great responsibilities. As the globe has been integrated as a single market and the threats many threats we face have arisen, we must be conscious of our responsibilities. We must utilize our individuality to the fullest extent possible to produce a community rich in leadership who are active in every field on the global stage.
We will strive to solve problems and achieve a permanent world peace through collaboration, diversity, creativity, and respecting the values of those with differing perspectives.

Let's Build a Mechanism to Produce Perpetual Value!

Osaka stands at the crossroads of our destiny. If we can transform in time through accepting diversity, evolving our culture, growing the power of the people, and reducing our energy requirements, Osaka can scale as one of Japan’s major cities.
We can also look at our current relationships and strengthen the economic connection with other Asian countries, including visiting foreigners. As the power of Tokyo becomes increasingly concentrated, Osaka’s reach can expand. It is one of the regional cities that moves at an accelerated pace, and one that is at the crossroads in the challenges of a declining birthrate and an aging population. We must build up a mechanism to open things up. Looking to our history, we have achieved great things with our generosity, tolerance and extraordinary temperament. Osaka has had a diverse set of ideas, and created many things ahead of its time. It has provided the world with unique ideas, strength, a willingness to face challenges. It is all that combined with the power of the people that makes up our great city. Finding opportunities in our current situation could lead to a role as an Asian hub city, which plays a core role as a gateway to Asian culture, information, people and business.  It is the future that Osaka and its people should move towards.
To that end, each citizen must recognize their importance and responsibilities in deciding the future of the city and the country. Moreover, it is necessary to spread that notion, especially among young people, so that their participation in the developing community rises. Furthermore, we require the relationships for creating a sustainable development of a city with unique, powerful ideas that move beyond trivial differences in the perspectives of the people, companies, public bodies and administrative organizations, etc. A youthful Osaka also needs a strong core of leadership at its center.
We are prideful of our city and move forward together to create the future. We will look past our differences to cooperate and in the spirit of our town, we will connect for sustained development and prosperity.

Let's open up the future with "Creative Force"!

IT and AI provide promises that can never be fulfilled. It is now necessary to rethink the greatness of the "soft power" that captures individuality, morality, and diversity as a beautiful strength. With minds being continually challenged until reaching achievement, the “soft power” creates infinite value with original ideas.
Our Junior Chamber International Osaka continues to walk together with the city towards the future without interruption. From the devastating period after the war 66 years ago, to the present, we view the future with an accumulation of invaluable wisdom and effort. It was the “soft power” that provided a preemptive understanding of what was necessary to move forward, and was the exemplification of the "Creative Force".
It is now that we must combine our aspirations and "Soft Power" to spread our ideas, and flood our city with "Creative Force" With a foundation of the trusted relationships we've cultivated all over the world, we must serve as a conduit to use our "Creative Force" to respond to a bright future that calls out to us. Together, we will unlock the future.

For Osaka, For Japan, For the world, it is a time of dramatic change.

We at the Junior Chamber International Osaka shine brightly with the "Creative Force" of the city's future.

We will aim to continue being ambitious, and using "Creative Force" to realize our future.