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October 2000

Review and Future Plan of the GLOCOM Platform

Shumpei KUMON (Executive Director, GLOCOM; Chairman of the Core Committee of the GLOCOM Platform)

I would like to submit to you the following mid-year report on our Global Communications (GLOCOM) Platform activity.


It has been almost six months now since we launched GLOCOM Platform for the purpose of providing an online venue where Japanese opinion leaders express their views in English and exchange ideas freely with the global community on issues relating to Japan's domestic and international affairs. It is time to reflect upon what we have done so far and to identify our strengths and weaknesses in order to achieve our objectives most efficiently and effectively.

We have been working closely with the other Core Committee members (Professor Masahiko Aoki, Mr. Toyoo Gyohten, Chairman Takashi Imai, Chairman Yotaro Kobayashi and Chairman Jiro Ushio) in consultation with Senior Advisor Sohei Nakayama. The Core Committee members have been taking turns to choose monthly themes and to recommend authors for position papers and panelists for debates.

There is no doubt that our strength lies in our close working relationships with these prominent opinion leaders in the academic and business worlds. As a result, our activity has become quite visible within Japan as well as overseas: since April the total number of visits to our website has exceeded 23,000, with at least one third from overseas.

However, we perhaps have relied on the Core Committee members too much, especially in the selection of monthly themes and authors for position papers. Themes have changed from month to month without any common thread, other than the fact that they are all related to Japan. In this kind of arrangement it was almost impossible for any single paper to stimulate our audience to the point of generating truly interactive communications.

In fact, very few responses to the position papers have come from outside Japan. In addition, although two to three position papers are posted on the website each month in contrast to only one monthly debate, the position papers have been accessed fewer times than the debates.

Future Plan:

In response to these experiences, we would like to proceed in the next six months as follows:

  1. In close consultation with our Core Committee members and our Senior Advisor, and also by activating our Editorial Committee, we will choose two to three common themes throughout the next six months.
  2. One of those common themes might be "Deregulation Reform Towards a New Japan in the 21st Century." For example, we could contact the governmental Deregulation Reform Committee to have a committee member contribute an essay on this topic to our Platform.
  3. Another possible theme could be "Japan's Individualism in Globalization Trends," where we would take up such issues as Japan's morality and religion, family and formal education, and volunteer activities at home and abroad.
  4. We hope to hold off-line, face-to-face forums, like the one which is being held now in New York City (see announcement at in order to advertise our Platform activity among opinion leaders overseas and to generate more interactive responses to our contents from outside Japan.
  5. We will set up a monitor system in which one or two opinion leaders with significant human networks in selected major countries act as contact persons willing to send us on a regular basis his/her own reviews and/or peer evaluations of our contents (especially newly posted papers or debates).

We will try harder to achieve our objectives at GLOCOM Platform, and we ask for your support and cooperation in this regard.

Thank you,

Shumpei Kumon

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