Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for taking the time to attend this symposium today despite the bad weather this morning. I would like to extend my gratitude to Mr. Kamiko, the Deputy Mayor of Taito City, for his opening address, and Mr. Suzuki, the manager of the city’s department of culture and tourism, for their cooperation on behalf of Taito City. We are very happy that this symposium was held with much enthusiasm.
Today I was impressed that the speech by Dr. Schulz was delivered in beautiful Japanese. I had always believed that a compact city talked about rural areas with a declining population, as could be seen in Aomori prefecture, a drastic example. Today’s speeches explained how the idea of a compact city would be able to revitalize Asakusa, close to the city center, which I found most interesting. And I would like to say to Dr. Lockyer that I heard his speech with the fondest of memories, since I, too lived in London for two years. Thank you both very much. Also I would like to thank Professor Yamashita and Professor Kaneko for their continuous effort.
I believe that the International Asakusa Research is a wonderful approach in that it looks at Asakusa from an international perspective. On hearing today’s speeches, I renewed my reverence for the many people who were active in supporting Asakusa in their respective periods in time, and felt that it is important to show our appreciation of such people when conducting urban planning. I am also very grateful to Mr. Tsuji of the Asakusa Tourism Federation and Mr. Nobuyuki Suwa from the Joint Association of the Asakusa Shopping Districts for their encouraging suggestions, for which I express my sincere appreciation.
Meiji University is currently debating how to dramatically develop its research activities and globalize under the leadership of the University President and Mr. Nagahori, our Executive Director.
Yesterday, we officially concluded a university-wide agreement with Hiroshima University on the Global COE Programme titled the “Formation and Development of Mathematical Sciences Based on Modeling and Analysis.” This programme is a leading-edge study that will be developed among a number of researchers, and is too advanced for me to explain.
On the other hand, I found today’s symposium on International Asakusa Research notable. Research traditionally tends to be closed to researchers, but both the residents of Asakusa and young students are involved in today’s symposium, and actually engaged in discussions with researchers. Inviting academics from the Universities of London and Munich who give us their global perspectives also shows a new way of research, in that we work together in promoting research and laying out a path to a new age in this time of globalization. As pointed out, the economic crisis has brought a sense of stagnation, so now is a time when opening the way to the future with the force of everyone involved is very important. In this sense, I have high hopes for International Asakusa Research.
We at Meiji University will continue to support this project in any way we can, so I ask the continued support from everyone in Asakusa, and in Taito City.
In connection with the mention of the University of the Arts, I would like to ask you all to come visit us at Meiji University, just as we visit you at Taito City and at Asakusa. It is only about 20 minutes by subway, so please, do stop by. If you come by to the Liberty Tower, which is the tall building on campus, and ask for Vice-President Sakamoto at the reception, I will be down to greet you within 15 minutes. I won’t be able to come if I am teaching, but my secretary will be there to welcome you instead.
I hope that we will be able to work with you for the development of Asakusa, Taito City, and Tokyo. It would be an honour if we at Meiji University could be of assistance to you in any way, and I look forward to working with you in the future.
Professor Itoda is the ace, or the No. 4 pitcher, of researchers at Meiji University, and his efforts in Asakusa Research give us reason to have high hopes for its success. The continued support from all the professors who are here with us today will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to be with us today. (Applause.)
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