Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of all the members of Yokohama National University, I welcome
you to this First Seminar of the International Port City ? University League.
I am happy about that the idea of this interesting seminar of PUL has originated
from Yokohama National University and a number of leading universities
at famous ports in the world supported the idea.
I know that the famous port city in the world almost always has an excellent
university which is the center of culture in the country and acts as an
important cross point of international cultural information.
Yokohama has been an important port which was opened about 150 years ago in order to introduce western cultures to Japan. Before that Japan had been closed its door to foreign countries for 300 years. The Yokohama Normal School, one origin of Yokohama National University, was founded that time in order to train teachers of newly started schools in Japan. Also in Yokohama a little later, the school for trade and economics and the school for engineering were started. These three schools which had the history of more than 100 years, amalgamated into the Yokohama National University after the 2nd World War.
The city of Yokohama has been not only a center of trade and academic
cultures but also a center of international mind for Japanese people. Citizens
of Yokohama still keep the tradition to welcome foreign students and guests.
I hope the symposium will be an interesting and fruitful one. Please
have heated discussions and, after that, enjoy your short stay in Yokohama.