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President Greeting

Inaugural Address
Hiroshi Nagano, President

I was elected at the last general meeting as the new president of Minato UNESCO Association (MUA) succeeding Mr. Kenzo Tange, the first president, Dr. Kimitada Miwa, the second, and Ms. Mitsuko Takai, the third and immediate past president. I am determined to contribute to the further advancement of MUA, building upon the groundwork laid by these past respectable presidents.

I have long been involved with science and technology-related issues of the government, but have not had as much association with UNESCO activities. I happened, though, to have assumed the office of secretary-general of the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO after the merger of the two ministries, which established the current Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Upon assuming that role, I at once recognized the importance of the grass-roots activities of UNESCO societies all over Japan, and made it my urgent mission to connect these movements with the Japanese National Commission and with UNESCO's headquarters in Paris. As part of my efforts, I had the pleasure of directly communicating with the front-line staff of this grass-roots movement, although such interactions were rather unusual in the government where the top-down system still prevailed. In those days, I had an opportunity to participate in the Kanto-Block UNESCO Study Forum in Tochigi where I met Ms. Yoshiko Nagato, Director of MUA. Such experiences influenced my interest to take part in MUA.

I am sure that the UNESCO Constitution, which begins with the well-known phrase - "since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed", moved the hearts of exhausted Japanese people right after the war. The fact that Japan acceded to UNESCO in June of 1951, 5 years before entering the United Nations, and even prior to signing the San Francisco Peace Treaty, clearly demonstrated the firm will of the Japanese people, who were encouraged by the UNESCO Constitution, to build a new country in peace.

However, the times have changed. Contrary to the original expectation of the people about the peace dividend after the end of the cold war, we are now facing emerging uncertainties all over the world, not to mention the terrorist attacks caused by people influenced by IS. Meanwhile, Minato City should play a critical role in supporting the international city of Metropolitan Tokyo as it prepares to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the year 2020. Minato City should also strive to build a pleasant environment for the people, where they can live and work comfortably and vivaciously.

It appears that we at MUA face various challenges, one of which is to encourage greater involvement of young people in activities related to “peace.” As I commit myself to take on such challenging issues, I sincerely expect to receive your utmost cooperation and assistance.

(Translated by Y. Suda, the PR, Bulletin & Internet Committee)