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Number 1 Shimbun

Voices of 2016

Over the past year, the dais of the FCCJ hosted a wide variety of newsmakers – speakers who offered their views and opinions and answered probing questions about a wide variety of issues . . .


Jan. 14

“At projects I have done overseas, I’ve felt a very welcoming environment for architects from other countries. However, considering English communication issues and the very particular ways of proceeding with meetings and conferences, I think that there are still many aspects in which Japan could make more efforts to open its doors and make it a more welcoming environment for people from other countries to work in.”

Kengo Kuma Architect: On the conditions facing architects working in foreign countries



Feb. 8


“The effect of internal exposure to radiation in Fukushima is very much less than we initially feared, and right now is almost no problem . . . which was not the case after the Chernobyl accident.”

Ryugo Hayano Professor of Physics, University of Tokyo: On the radiation from the 3/11 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant



Feb. 17


“Prior to the nuclear power plant disaster, the population of the town was more than 70,000. As a result of the disaster, however, it fell below 10,000. It has now recovered to the point where we have 57,000 residents in the town of Minami-Soma, but a lingering problem is that many young people have left – the working and child-rearing generation.”

Katsunobu Sakurai Mayor of Minami Soma: On the devastation suffered by his town from the 3/11 disaster



March 22

“The structural lack of data is something we hope to fill by using the power of ourselves. . . . From there we can have more informed dialogues and make more informed decisions. We strongly believe that data is the starting point, not opinion.”

Peter Franken Safecast volunteer citizen monitoring project: On data activism around Fukushima


March 24


“It is clear that what she said is against the Constitution and against the Broadcasting Law. If she doesn’t know them, then as a minister, she is disqualified. If she knew them and distorted the interpretation, then it is taking us a step closer to speech control.”

Shigetada Kishii News 23 commentator and special senior writer at the Mainichi Shimbun: On communications minister Sanae Takaichi’s comments about suspending the licenses of TV stations that didn’t follow the rules of fairness in covering politics.


April 4

“If I were Japanese, I would feel exposed, because so much is riding on the assumption that the U.S. will always be there. You can see from [Trump’s] election campaign that there is a current of thought in the U.S. that is asking, ‘Why should we always be there and what real interest do we really have? Why should we be facing off against China all the time.’ The fact that these questions are being asked suggests the possibility that America might not always be there.”

Clyde Prestowitz Author of Japan Restored: On Japan-U.S. relations


June 3


Wang Dan leader of Tiananmen democracy movement: On Chinese President Xi Jinping


Aug. 28


“While we were only able to achieve our medal in the relay this time, at the next Olympics I believe that all of us will be able to achieve a medal in the individual races as well.”

Aksa Cambridge Anchor, Japan’s Olympic Silver Medal-winning 4x100 relay team: On aspirations for the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo


Aug. 31


“Creating a transparent Tokyo Metropolitan Government is my main goal. Public information disclosure is the first step toward improving its transparency. I want to create two-way communication where we talk openly with Tokyo citizens about city government and city government affairs and invite frank feedback from third-party observers. I believe this is the way to run a city government that puts its citizens first.”

Yuriko Koike Governor of Tokyo: On her goals following her recent election victory


Oct. 27


“My knee was hurting so I went to the hospital. I went to the restroom and when I was coming out, a woman was exiting the women’s room. Our eyes met. We kissed. It was instant love. She’s cute. She’s pretty. She looks like a piranha. She’s so charming with her teeth sticking out. Her name is Tami. Her hobby is peeling bananas, arranging the peels and taking photographs of them. She’s 78 years old.”

Pikotaro Comedian/media phenomenon: On his wife of two years


Nov. 22


“Putin is probably the only leader Russia has had or will have, for as far as we can see, who’s capable of giving up territory and getting away with it in terms of domestic Russian opinion. And Abe is the only prime minister that one can imagine in Japan who’s capable of settling for less than the return of all four islands. So you put these two together and you have the possibility of a deal.”

Gerald Curtis Professor of Political Science, Columbia University: On Japan/Russia relations


Nov. 24


“I’m not thinking about becoming president. My main focus is to change our country and help the president. The president and I are very close, and I honor him because he’s the only president who fights illegal drugs and this is an opportunity to bring back harmony and peace in our country.”

Manny Pacquiao Boxing world champion: On his political aspirations


All videos of these press conferences are available to watch on the Club’s YouTube channel:




Published in: January 2017

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