公益社団法人東京青年会議所

Message

Updated date 2017/01/13

Spreading the Japanese Spirit of “Wa” to the World
The Realization of Tokyo as an International City Overflowing with Virtues

 

Foreword

From time immemorial, Japanese people have believed that deities dwell in not only people, but also nature and objects, hence respect is shown accordingly. By considering others and valuing the concept of “Wa” (harmony), Japanese people are known for their ability to amicably settle conflicts or disagreements and blend the old with the new to create new value. Indeed, it is the deeply-rooted concept of Wa within the Tokyo Junior Chamber (Tokyo JC) that has enabled us to establish programs which impact positively on society such as the Komatsugawa Program and Wanpaku Sumo. Times have changed, and the problems and challenges we face as members of international society now transcend national borders, making cooperation between countries a critical factor in order to find effective remedies. Now more than ever, we at Tokyo JC need to realize Tokyo as an international city overflowing with virtues, spread the Japanese spirit of “Wa” to the world, take on the world’s problems and challenges and lead the way towards lasting world peace. Tokyo as an international city overflowing with virtues means that its citizens possess self-awareness and pride as Japanese people and proactively interact with the world fostering an awareness of the importance of diversity and harmony, produce new value and demonstrate ongoing growth. Tokyo JC members are expected to create value in Tokyo as pioneers taking the initiative in connecting regional areas to the world. Let us value the ever-strong spirit of Wa passed down from our forefathers, reform individual consciousness and social systems to achieve our goal of realizing Tokyo as an international city overflowing with virtues.

 

As the Youth of Japan

Accomplishing our Mission as Youth

During the establishment of Junior Chambers in countries which lacked them as part of a program promoted by Junior Chamber International’s (JCI) Asia Pacific Development Council, we met youths with an overwhelming sense of duty towards the country they loved and grieved for. The light in the eyes of these youths conveyed their feeling that “we are the only ones able to carry our homeland forward” and they became members of JCI with the conviction that by forming friendships with people around the world, they could contribute to their own individual growth and the development of their country. This symbolized the high hopes these youths had for a better future. This undoubtedly echoes the sentiments of our founding fathers who established the Tokyo Junior Chamber based on the spirit of “the rebuilding of the country into a new Japan is the duty of the youth”, which is set out in our Prospectus. This convinced us that, despite being a different country and a different era, the actions of a nation’s youth for the sake of their country and the sense of mission to contribute to society are universal. We must proactively take action in order to accomplish the mission of the youth and carve Tokyo’s future.

Self-Awareness and Pride as a Japanese Person

How interested are we in the fact that we are Japanese?
Being able to speak with pride about one’s identity in international society is extremely important. As Japanese who place harmony at the center of our lives and culture, we are characterized by the virtues of maintaining order and courtesy as a group of people that considers the feelings of others, as well as our humble and moderate conduct and wholehearted hospitality. We must be self-aware and take pride in the fact that we are Japanese in order to solve the various problems that plague the present and realize a bright and rich society. We need to think of what we can do for our country, our region and our community as a stakeholder and take action accordingly. Furthermore, we must spread the Wa spirit, not only throughout Tokyo and Japan, but also the world. If the people of the world can act with the harmony of Wa in their hearts and accept a diversity of values without discarding empathy for the vulnerable, the many problems of the world will surely be resolved with cooperativeness and peace. Demonstrating harmonious conduct based on Wa, spreading this to the people of the world, and contributing to establishment of lasting world peace can be considered our responsibility as Japanese driving international society forward.

Truly Global Citizens Spreading Wa to the World

Promotion of Citizen Diplomacy Leveraging Tokyo JC’s Strengths

The youths which established Tokyo JC did so with the aim of “enhancing Japan’s economy” and became a member of JCI in order to “closely cooperate with the international economy”. This was prior to the conclusion of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which marked Japan’s return to the international community. Throughout the sixty-odd years that have passed since then, Tokyo JC has not only utilized JCI’s network, but we have also repeatedly interacted with many different economic organizations of various foreign countries, building relationships of trust based on the Wa spirit and promoting inter-governmental diplomacy as truly global citizens. This interaction with our comrades across the world who act for their region and country has been a truly wonderful experience that has helped us to develop the activities we engage in today. This year, Tokyo JC will proactively promote civilian diplomacy through participating in ASPAC and APICC to be held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and a world conference to be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We will also strengthen our alliance with the Japan Asia Youth Exchange Association, with which Tokyo JC has independently built a friendship with over the course of many years, and contribute to the advancement of a solid relationship unshakeable by inter-governmental friction. We will share the history of our civilian diplomacy efforts to date with new members and utilize global opportunities to drive the international community forward in the way that only Tokyo JC can.

Making Tokyo the World’s Greatest City

There are kaleidoscope changes taking place in today’s global environment and, as represented by IoT (Internet of Things), people, objects, money, information and services are transcending national borders therefore cities and regions are now being defined by units of economic growth. In order to make Tokyo the world’s greatest city, there is a need to nurture truly global citizens able to develop the region taking international society into account, as currently there is a shortage of people to trigger regional vitalization and create international alliances based on the Wa spirit. As Tokyo Ambassadors, we will have self-awareness and pride as leaders of Tokyo’s future and disseminate the spirit of Wa to the people of the world as a concept intricately interwoven into Japan’s history and culture. When we have fulfilled our responsibility as truly global citizens, Tokyo will be able to welcome the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as an international city overflowing with virtues.

Programs with More Significance from the Perspective of Citizens

Creating New Value From Tokyo Citizen Awareness Surveys

In 2016, thanks to the invaluable cooperation of our members, Tokyo JC conducted the 5th Tokyo Citizen Awareness Survey, targeting approximately 10,000 people living and working in the 23 wards of Tokyo, where we focus our activities. The results of this survey helped us to not only ascertain the essence of the problems and challenges faced by this region but also enabled us to extract and verify the problems and challenges that we, Tokyo JC, must overcome in order to become an organization capable of implementing programs with more significance to the community. In 2017, we will utilize the verified results to the maximum extent in order to develop programs which will create new values for society while thinking five, ten years, and even further, ahead into the future.

Programs Aimed at Becoming a Role Model for the World’s Future

Japan currently faces various challenges such as a declining population, aging society and low birthrate. The 2015 census showed the first population decline since 1919 with Japan’s overall population recorded at 127,110,000. As of October 1, 2015, 60.6% of the overall population comprised of people in their productive years (aged 15 to 64) while 26.7% were aged 65 or over. This indicates a more rapidly aging society than any other country in the world, and it is predicted to result in a decline in regional vitality and drop in economic growth rate. Not only Japan, but also other advanced nations such as Germany and Italy face this issue of an aging population and it is feasible that other countries will be in the same predicament as Japan in the not so distant future. Now more than ever we must embrace domestic policies focused on promoting diversity and international policies focused on promoting globalization in order to stir innovation in society and propel economic growth. As citizens of Tokyo, the capital of an advanced nation facing tough challenges, we must not merely be spectators but support each other, young and old, as role models supporting economic growth while maintaining the vitality of regional communities, thus paving the way for the rest of the world.

Creating a Society in which Diversity is the Strength of an Organization

Within Japan, great reform is being sought in relation to the working environment, and the government has established an initiative of “Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens” in an attempt to encourage people with various personalities living in Tokyo to become involved in the local community. By simply incorporating diversity through initiatives such as these, all the extraneous elements would create friction and conflict, lowering the productivity of a team and having an adverse effect on companies. Innovation and creativity are born from the synergism created by the mutual stimulation of differing views, experiences, ideas and so forth. We must not only accept various personalities and demonstrate conduct leveraging each other’s strengths, but also reform consciousness in order to ingrain this practice as a culture. Society is overflowing with a diversity of values, and there are many opportunities to accept different personalities. First it is important to accept various personalities for oneself on an individual level, then acquire a consciousness to produce innovative ideas and solutions. As a group of young businesspeople serving as leaders, we must not be bound by existing values, but rather promote diversity management and use it to achieve economic growth. Together, let’s produce new values for society and lead the times in creating a community in which all types of personalities can contribute.

Launching Programs by Elevating the Uniqueness of Ward Commissions

One of Tokyo JC’s greatest strengths is the existence of its Ward Commissions. Through programs spanning over forty years, these Ward Commissions have placed importance on close connections with government and educational institutions, as well as regional communities. The human networks and experience obtained through such action are invaluable assets essential to Tokyo JC’s ability to implement our programs. But, are we fully capitalizing on this uniqueness as our greatest strength? Is Tokyo JC not losing our sense of unity as the program element as the organization grows smaller? An organization is able to unleash its strengths to the maximum extent only when all its members come together to achieve a common goal. Tokyo JC’s programs will continue to shine if the unique qualities of each Ward Commission can be elevated into programs that Tokyo JC should aim for in the name of society. The 5th Tokyo Citizen Awareness Survey served to elucidate the sociodemographic makeup and associated problems and challenges of each of Tokyo’s wards. Even if there is a common goal, in the context of each ward’s unique sociodemographic mix, the techniques used in programs will no doubt differ. Tokyo JC will have a significant impact on local communities by sharing a common awareness of our goal and creating programs from the perspective of the citizens.

Disaster Prevention and Mitigation as Preparation for Future Natural Disasters

Due to the extremely high risk of natural disasters, represented first and foremost by an earthquake occurring directly under Tokyo, many disaster prevention and mitigation measures are underway. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government predicts the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will attract up to 920,000 spectators per day and there is concern of the potential chaos which could arise if a natural disaster occurred during the Games. In order to minimize the extent of damage, it is necessary to regularly raise people’s awareness of disaster prevention and mitigation. Tokyo JC has established a Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Committee comprising of the 23 Ward Commissions and is leveraging the strengths of each Ward Commissions’ networks to build human network infrastructure focused on disaster prevention and mitigation in local communities.

The Creation of New Values through Branding

Establishment of a Valuable Brand for Tokyo JC and Dissemination of Fresh, New Movements

Tokyo JC, based on our founding spirit and history of programs that have impacted society, continue to engage in various activities in order to realize a bright and rich society. However, the 5th Tokyo Citizen Awareness Survey revealed that approximately 70% of citizens did not know what type of activities Tokyo JC engages in. One reason for the low awareness of Tokyo JC could be that citizens and members do not have an established set of values with which to define us by. In order to build robust relationships of trust with citizens and further advance our programs, we must solidify our foundation through branding and disseminate fresh, new movements not bound by stereotypes in order to clearly show the people what Tokyo JC should be. Our members will unite to refine our sensitivity in regards to all domains, disseminate movements as Tokyo JC, and carve a new identify for ourselves. By establishing a valuable brand and disseminating fresh, new movements, we will raise awareness of our organization and programs and achieve the ideal vision for Tokyo JC as a group appealing to society.

Building Relationships with New Supporters

As an organization comprising of young businesspeople of the generation with responsibility, Tokyo JC has driven the region forward by reforming individual consciousness and social systems. In order to have an even greater impact on society, we need to foster a common goal and be supported by many of Tokyo’s citizens to help disseminate our programs. This year, we will not only focus on our existing supporters, but also proactively promote alliances with external organizations who sympathize with our philosophy and are willing to offer us their support. By mutually leveraging the respective strengths of each organization, we will further enhance the potential of Tokyo JC’s programs. Through demonstrating leadership to society, we can expand and reinforce Tokyo JC’s networks even further and continue to advance our programs.

Achieving Sustainable Program Development by Changing Sympathy to Capability

As a public interest incorporated association that runs projects in the name of public interest, we must increase the number of our supporters in both the private and public sector. In order to continue running programs which positively impact society we must establish cooperative frameworks with many supporters and create a stable asset base. Once we have achieved the three pillars of a stable asset base, a Tokyo JC brand and a bond between members aspiring to contribute to their community, we will be able to create the society we aim for through our programs. Let us unite as one and inspire other members of society to become involved in implementing programs with impact.

Regular Meetings to Disseminate Tokyo JC’s Programs in Society

Regular meetings are places for all members to participate so that Tokyo JC may disseminate its programs in society with a sense of unity. These are opportunities we must use to disseminate information on which policies should be implemented to solve the various problems Tokyo faces and what action citizens should take. To achieve this, it is imperative that the participants in such regular meetings engage in thorough discussions to deepen their knowledge and enrich their views so that they may fulfill their duty as a public interest incorporated association by disseminating information on programs in a straightforward way. This process will serve to develop our members as individuals and create a robust organization with a sense of unity. By disseminating our programs in an appealing way, Tokyo JC aims to be regarded as a society deemed necessary by citizens and build relationships with new members and supporters.

Increasing Members with a Groupwide Effort

Last year, Tokyo JC launched an initiative to increase members with the ultimate aim of achieving 1,000 LOMs (local organization members). In order to successfully roll out programs which impact society, many members must work together. This initiative aims to secure 1,000 LOMs through the short-term goal of member expansion and long-term strategy of having all members proactively participate in member expansion while sowing seeds in order to enhance Tokyo JC’s appeal. To this end, we will offer our members a variety of opportunities through transversal collaboration between Ward Commissions and vitalize our organization in order to realize robust programs which change society for the better. If each Tokyo JC member shares the experience they have gained through our activities with their future comrades, the circle of companions actively engaging in activities will widen and sustainable expansion will be possible. By moving forward hand in hand with likeminded, passionate people, we can change our numbers into our strength and have an even greater impact on society, thus making Tokyo JC shine even brighter.

Nurturing Our Youth who are Responsible for Tokyo’s Future

Obtaining Tokyo JC Membership through Multilateral Activities

As one of the oldest youth organizations in Japan, Tokyo JC has taken up challenges in a variety of areas while leveraging the strengths of living in Tokyo, Japan’s capital and the heart of the political economy. We are capable of multilateral activities precisely due to the fact that Tokyo JC comprises of members with a diversity of talents, therefore giving us the capacity to create ripples of innovation in society. By providing a platform where our members, with their myriad of backgrounds and personalities, can fully unleash their respective capabilities, our bond as an organization will grow firmer and our membership will be enhanced in a way unique to Tokyo JC, which will ultimately afford us even more valuable opportunities and experiences. This is precisely why we must increase our opportunities to build networks between members and obtain various experience to achieve our ultimate goal of enhancing Tokyo JC membership. Tokyo JC will deliberately and strategically establish activity plans and create an environment in which the activities of our members are more meaningful in order to ensure that each and every individual in our organization may gain more experience, both quantitatively and qualitatively, through their activities. Only people can refine other people. In order to produce as many leaders as possible, Tokyo JC will offer its members a variety of invaluable opportunities to grow.

The Arrival of an Era where the Future is Shaped by the Choices of the Youth

In 2016, Japan’s voting age was lowered to 18, instantly creating 2.4 million new voters. According to a survey on election participation by age group (18 and 19 years old) conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, when compared to the voting percentage for all age groups in Tokyo of 57.50%, the voting percentage for voters aged 18 and 19 collectively was relatively high at 57.84%. This was the highest voting percentage in Japan, and Tokyo was the only location where the voting percentage of the 18/19-year-old age group was higher than the overall voting percentage for all age groups. Meanwhile, the voting percentage for people in their twenties and thirties remains low. With the issues of an aging society and falling birthrates gaining momentum, if the percentage of young people voting does not grow it will ultimately lead to the prioritization of policies which benefit middle-age and senior citizens, as opposed to the younger generations, and notably increase the political impact of senior citizens. It is imperative that young people regularly debate about Japan’s constitution, show interest in politics and act upon this by taking to the tolling booths, thus realizing a society whereby citizens proactively participate in politics. For this purpose, Japan’s citizens must foster an awareness that they hold the key to Japan’s sovereignty, and must therefore capture the true essence of matters, identify policies with a vision of the future and vote to see such policies realized. Tokyo JC will contribute by ingraining on our youth that they are participants in Japan’s sovereignty and running programs to enhance political literacy. We will help build a society where citizens are aware they hold the power to change Japan’s future and proactively vote to make politics better.

Deepening and Evolving Wanpaku Sumo Tournaments

Last year Wanpaku Sumo celebrated its 40th anniversary by holding a total of 234 tournaments in various regions throughout Japan. Through participating in these tournaments, children not only experience the etiquette and spirit of honoring one’s opponent as part of the Sumo culture, they also gain firsthand experience of the joy of victory versus the frustration of defeat, as well as the importance of exerting an effort with clear-cut goals. In 2017, in order to further evolve this as a youth development program, Tokyo JC is focusing on deepening the children’s understanding of Japanese culture through Wanpaku Sumo. We are also encouraging our LOMs to participate in the tournament in order to spread the appeal of Wanpaku Sumo to as many regions as possible. By spreading the splendor of the Wanpaku Sumo spirit far and wide and increasing our comrades throughout Japan who sympathize with the purport of the tournaments, we will help create regional communities in which children and adults show courtesy to one another and support each other towards the accomplishment of self-initiated goals.

In Closing

History proves that the actions of the youth can significantly impact society and change people’s consciousness and Tokyo JC is confident that we can do the same. As an organization, Tokyo JC has unlimited potential. Tokyo’s future will be created from the actions we take today. As the youth of Japan, we will not merely criticize other people and matters, but be active participants who act autonomously. Let us implement programs which lead the times by cherishing the founding wish of our forefathers and spirit of Wa to achieve our ultimate goal of realizing a bright and rich society.