President’s Message

Background and Objectives

EAJ President
Yoshimitsu Kobayashi

On June 2, 2020, I assumed the presidency of the Engineering Academy of Japan Inc. (EAJ). I intend to dedicate myself to developing the EAJ further with the support of the vice presidents, directors, and committee chairs, and look forward to serving this organization.

As I take up the reins of the EAJ presidency, I would like to use this opportunity to assess the prevailing global situation, and set out my thoughts on the role the EAJ should play within this environment.

Society today is subject to the three rising tides of post-globalization, digitalization, and socialization, * driving rapid and continual change in the world around us. Indeed, the modern era could be said to have entered a genuinely revolutionary phase, as evidenced by developments such as the UK's withdrawal from the EU, the rise of global platform providers led by the GAFA companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple) and the BAT companies (Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent), and the dramatic advances in AI and quantum technology. At the same time, the world is beset by challenges such as climate change, issues around food and water supplies, and the marine plastic problem. And on top of all this, the current global pandemic of novel coronavirus has triggered a major downturn in the global economy that is set to profoundly transform the way we live. As a consequence, we currently face a plethora of worldwide challenges requiring solutions.

The EAJ has a fundamental philosophy of engineering the future for human security and well-being. We could be described as a group of experts who possess a wide range of knowledge in all areas of engineering and technological sciences. As a public-interest association, our mission is to contribute to the sustainable development of Japan and the world by endeavoring to promote engineering and technological sciences overall and to maintain and improve ties between these areas of endeavor and the general public. I am convinced that, by pooling the wisdom of our diverse membership to co-create and collaborate, we can make a major contribution toward solving the worldwide challenges outlined above. With that aim, I intend that the EAJ should pursue the following activities:
 

  1. Generate policy proposals based on a broad range of engineering and scientific knowledge that can serve as a "compass" for government
  2. Create a space for co-creation that transcends even the barriers that separate the natural sciences from the humanities and social science
  3. Seek to ensure a full range of diversity among members to breathe new life into the design of future society

I belong to the world of industry, and for many years I have been mindful of the need for sustainable coexistence between humans and the planet as I seek to increase corporate value. However, despite Japan's unfortunate lack of progress in a great many areas over the past 30 years, Japanese society has allowed itself to become perfectly satisfied with its circumstances. That is why I have been saying for some time that the frogs sitting comfortably in slowly boiling water need to have a snake thrown in among them. And now, novel coronavirus has become the snake that is about to transform society. In light of this transformation, therefore, and with the active support and cooperation of the EAJ's members, I want to apply the knowledge I have acquired as a businessperson to dedicate myself to the development of all forms of engineering and technological sciences and to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society.

 

* In this context, the word "socialization" is used to describe a contemporary society where a broad spectrum of entities are in constant contact with each other. Today, it is easier to bypass boundaries that separate businesses from individuals and cities from outlying areas to create new communities and societies. This environment allows social entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, and others to contribute more effective solutions to our global problems.