Cool Japan Seminar
Sometimes it’s the journey alone that teaches you a lot about your destination.
Having the opportunity to attend the Cool Japan Seminar (CJS) 2015, held in Hachinohe from 25th of April to 2nd of May, was indeed an eye opener. The CJS which aimed to strengthen the interpersonal skills of leaders tomorrow, had allowed us to further broaden our horizons in discussing global issues. This year’s theme - Revitalization, revolved around the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake in Hachinohe area. Through various debates and proposals, it is hoped that the participants of CJS will be able to arrive at a comprehensive and holistic solution to address the challenges faced by the local companies.
Japan, being located along the Pacific “Ring of Fire” is prone to earthquake. On 11th of March 2011, Japan was shaken by the largest earthquake ever. Following that, Tsunami strikes along the coast of Japan, and Hachinohe is one of them. It is believed that Tsunami rose as high as 5-6 metres and caused major damages in the Tohoku District. Many houses located near the shore were destroyed and residents had to relocate temporarily.
Located at the peak of Noda Village, most of the victims of tsunami climbed up to seek shelter in the shrine. Fortunately, the shrine is located high enough such that it was not struck by tsunami.
Upon completion of the learning trip to Noda Village, I reflected upon our country. Singapore, being one of the world developed countries is disaster-free and located strategically on the major sea route between India and China. It is indeed a blessing to live in such a beautiful city free from natural disasters. As much as Japan being a first-world country, they had to face many ongoing challenges in the event of natural disasters. In fact, these disasters had impacted many lives, causing casualties and traumas. Economy of Japan turned stagnant due to the rising radiation levels following the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear reactor. Till date, they are people who felt unrest for their days are numbered. It disheartened me to see many innocent lives taken away in just a blink of an eye.
As for me, I was assigned to research on the fishery industry based on the theme “Reconstruction” wherein we visited Hachinohe Kanzume (Kanzume means canned food in Japanese). In recent years, they have been increasing their production steadily and ventured into agricultural and livestock products. Nonetheless, due to the Great East Japan Earthquake, the company suffer from a drastic decrease of sales and incurred huge capital losses.
In view of these circumstances, we suggested that Hachinohe Kanzume should opt for a radiation free badge. This badge should be recognised by the local authority such as the Tokyo Metropolitan of Public Health to gain the public’s confidence that the seafood are safe to consume. In addition, we had proposed that Hachinohe Kanzume should also venture into the Halal Market. With the growing Muslim population worldwide, the ability to capture a significant market share in the Muslim’s market will help boost the company’s revenue.
Ongoing discussions for the final presentation!
Eventually, we managed to get the first place in the final presentation competition held in National Institute of Technology, Hachinohe. According to the principal of NIT, Hachinohe, he was impressed that we were able to identify and solve the challenges faced for our ideas was genuine and feasible. The Halal market is one of the potential markets to venture into. While the radiation free badge would work to change public’s perception. In fact, the CEO of Hachinohe Kanzume is starting to work on our proposals. All of us are looking forward to contribute more to the global society
Good job - Team Fishery!
In a nutshell, I’ve learned a lot from this seminar. Understanding the aftermath of Great East Japan Earthquake, a sense of gratefulness enveloped me as I felt blessed to live in a natural-disaster free from country. Coming from different backgrounds, we managed to get along well and came up with constructive solutions to solve the problems faced by the local companies in Hachinohe. Language barriers did not deter us from communicating, instead it pull us together. In addition, I was also given the chance to exercise my leadership skills whereby I try to bring people from all walks of life together during the seminar. At the end of the day, it is not about the destination, but the journey you embarked on.
Apart from the seminar, we had also formed a mini club called GTA- Global Team Association. In view of the overwhelming responses, we will be launching a worldwide recruitment soon. So stay tune and do remember to sign up!