On December 19th, a talk between Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka, UN Under-Secretary-General, and Chuo University students was held at the United Nations University Headquarters. The talk was held for approximately 20 minutes before the lecture A Fast-Moving World and Japan-Young People, Take Action! which was cosponsored by the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) and the Global Model United Nations Japan.
The talk was attended by Mr. Akasaka, Ms. Mari Yamashita of the UNIC, and Chuo University Vice-Presidents Toshikazu Kato and Shigenori Wakabayashi. Together with 14 students who had applied to participate in the talk, these members sat around a table and held an informal discussion.
Mr. Akasaka opened the discussion by addressing how 2011 in Japan was defined by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Also, when focusing on the world, he noted that 2011 was a year of social media revolution as symbolized by the Arab Spring which took place in Arab society. "The power of internet blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube was fully utilized in order to enable timely communication between large numbers of people," observed Mr. Akasaka in regards to the Arab Spring. "Social media has become a major threat to dictators."
"Currently, it is said that more than 800 million people in the world actively use Facebook," explained Mr. Akasaka. "Also, Twitter is said to have 100 million users. The world has changed dramatically since Facebook was established not even 10 years ago. We must constantly be on the look for new information."
Next, the talk shifted to a Q&A session. "How will the UN respond to pirates?" asked one graduate student. "Also, in the future, how will the UN intermediate in countries like Somalia from which pirates originate?" "The issue of pirates is very difficult," responded Mr. Akasaka. "Currently, there is no international institution for holding judicial trials once pirates have been captured. Moreover, political conditions in Somalia remain unstable, so it is extremely difficult to devise a method of support. I believe that we need further cooperation within international society."
Mr. Akasaka ended the short talk by giving the following message of encouragement to the students: "In order for Japan to regain its vigor and be respected by other countries throughout the world, it is essential that young people like you perform in international society. Be outgoing, be confident, and take your talents to the world."
Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka, UN Under-Secretary-General (center), with students who participated in the talk
(Student Reporter: Reina Kajiwara, 2nd year student in the Master's Program of the Graduate School of Public Policy)