Why did you apply for GSPM?
I was strongly impressed by the Graduate School’s philosophy, which encourages us to try hard to address the serious social problems confronted by countries around the world, including Japan, to find the best solutions, and to help build a better society. I decided to apply for GSPM to learn how to face these problems. More specifically, there is a growing gap between metropolitan areas, where Japan’s economy, information, and labor are concentrated, and local regions with problems like depopulation and a high unemployment rate. This is a serious situation that could determine Japan’s future, so I wanted to learn about sustainable development for local regions by studying theories and doing practical training, and to find an answer.
I am still strongly influenced by “Internship (Diet/Waseda Tomonkai),” a course set up by Waseda Diet Tomonkai – a parliamentary association organized by alumni of Waseda University. I did my internship at the office of a Lower House member from my hometown. I made an appointment with the office by myself, visited them for an interview, and was accepted for an internship. Four days a week between classes for about two months, I gained hands-on practice in the office with the member’s secretaries. This gave me real experience in the world of politics, such as managing a Diet member’s schedule, creating materials for meetings, dealing with the media, responding to petitioners from the hometown, and negotiating with officials from governmental agencies. I saw how Diet members exchange ideas and work hard on various social problems confronting Japan. As a result I felt closer to politics. Moreover, I got to know many people I wouldn’t have met otherwise – a series of encounters that gave me new connections and a wider horizon. It was a very valuable experience.
Your research theme
I am interested in urban development by local companies and residents as well as administrative authorities – a part of local revitalization policies. Currently, I am working on a Type I Urban Redevelopment Project for the Makishi-Anri district of Naha City, trying to work out how to coordinate administrative authorities with local companies and residents. I want to know how a future model for the region can be envisioned through the policymaking process. Furthermore, I would like to find out what kind of contributions I can make toward sustainable local development by uniting the government, companies, and residents together in role-sharing and active participation.
Why did you apply for GSPM?
I am currently working on an international exchange project for a regional government in China. In my daily work, I strongly feel the need for international vision and specialized knowledge in various fields, in addition to language skills, in order to understand better the changing and diversifying world. I wanted to study at Waseda, a university with a high reputation in China, to understand the current status of public policies in developed countries like Japan, the administrative methods of each municipal government, and on-going problems. In addition to this, I wanted to apply the experiences and lessons I would receive to the reform of public administration systems in China.
I greatly benefited from all classes, each of which I found highly impressive. Particularly memorable were the “Local Autonomy Advanced Course,” which introduced problems concerning resident self-governance and local assemblies in Japan; “Policymaking,” which examined methods of planning and designing policies; “Public Personal Administration,” which studied the process of civil-service reform; and “Social Policy,” which investigated the effects of social security policies in both China and Japan.
The class I found most interesting of all as a foreign student in Japan was “Regional Revitalization.” Themed on the regional revitalization of Atami City, a famous hot-spring resort in Japan, my class visited the city twice for fieldwork. I exchanged opinions with local administrators, people from the Tourism Association, and private operators, and I was able to learn much about Atami City, including hot-spring spots, the scenery, food, and culture. It was a very meaningful time, and I realized the importance of learning both theory and practice when studying public management.
Your research theme
Currently, I am conducting research on “Disaster Relief Seekers.” Various administrative offices must draw up countermeasures to help those in need after a disaster, such as future disaster prevention, public welfare, and civic life, in cooperation with regional communities and other support bodies. In other words, this area involves studying how self-help, mutual help, and public aid should take shape, which is definitely worth studying.