I am happy to extend my heart-felt congratulations on the launching of the JCAN (Japan Chevening Alumni Association) website.
I came down from University College, Oxford in 1968, after reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) there. Throughout my diplomatic career spanning 4 decades, including 8 years in Britain, these two years at Oxford helped me in many ways, not just in making friends but also in opening my eyes to the pragmatic yet critical way of British thinking.
In March 2017, Mr. Itsushi Tachi came to see me, asking if I would be interested in joining JCAN in an honourary capacity. Thus I came to learn about the Chevening Scholarship, which was launched 15 years after I left Oxford. I have since enjoyed my contact with the dedicated group of Japanese Cheveners. I have been impressed by their esprit de corps, based on their shared fond memories of British university life. I am delighted to see that they are contributing the benefits of their Chevening experience to government, business, finance, academia, arts and culture, and other fields in Japan.
Amid the challenge of COVID 19, where one is tempted to sit quietly to weather the storm,
it is more important than ever to maintain free and open discourse with those outside one’s own circle. JCAN is already a circle open to such discourse. I look forward to the JCAN website playing an important role in further widening the circle not just in Japan but abroad as well.
Honorary Chairman (Japan)