I am glad to have the chance to address you in English. Actually, the usual situation is reversed today as President Iida usually gets to listen to my bad Japanese; today I get to listen to his very good English. It's a great pleasure.
When I moved to Yokohama two years ago it took me six weeks to find an
apartment I liked because I wanted one overlooking Tokyo bay. There is
something special about port cities; they are romantic, they are hubs of
transportation and industry, and they are centers of recreation. From my
verandah I can watch the commerce of the world go by and watch yachts racing.
Port cities feature specific industries such as tourism, aquaculture,
and transportation and also face specific problems such as rising sea level
as a consequence of global warming or the latest terrorist threats to port
security. However, what really makes port cities unique is that they are
on the edge. They represent the cultural, commercial, and political receptors
of our respective countries. I believe that port cities are often more
cosmopolitan than cities of the interior because they are populated by
peoples from many different cultures. As a Bostonian I am reminded of the
Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, to name but a few, who immigrated
to the United States through the Port of Boston as an arrival point to
go somewhere else in United States but they never did go anywhere else
and stayed on to build their communities. That's why Boston is a cosmopolitan
city and I believe that applies to all port cities.
Yokohama was one of the first treaty ports in Japan, was built in part
by foreigners, and it retains that character today. The fact that Yokohama
City University was the first public university in Japan to select a foreigner
as its president is an indication of the continuing international character
of Yokohama developed from its roots as a port city.
The mission of the City of Yokohama and Yokohama City University is to
combine regional and international perspectives. As far as PUL is concerned,
that means bringing together the resources of various universities around
the world with their simultaneously similar problems and different approaches
and ways of thinking. If port cities are on the leading edge, then their
universities must be even more so. It behooves us to work together to solve
our problems through research, education and advising our cities for the
good of the whole.
In this increasing complex world there are increasing complex problems
such as port security, the need for new transportation technologies due
to pollution and oil depletion, global warming, rising sea levels, etc.
It is only through collaborative efforts that we can solve these problems.
Therefore, let me issue a plea. Please don't make this just another international
forum. Let us focus on producing results. Let us focus on translating our
discussions to creating solutions and using those solutions to produce
So, in ending, I would like to welcome you all to Yokohama and I look
forward to good results over the last three days.