I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Nikkei Inc on the 20th anniversary of the international Conference on the Future of Asia.
When Nikkei first approached me in the early 1990s regarding its proposal to convene an international conference on Asia, I readily offered my support. The Cold War had just ended. Asia was on the rise, with many predicting that the 21st century would be an Asian Century. It was hence timely to have a conference by Asians on Asia, where political leaders, businessmen and opinion shapers could come together and exchange views on their hopes and visions for the future.
Asia has risen over the past twenty years, as exemplified by the shift in the economic centre of gravity to the region. In 1995, when the Conference was first held, Asian economies only contributed around 20 per cent to the global GDP. Today, a third of the world’s GDP comes from Asia. This is expected to increase to over 50 per cent by 2050. With an increasing population and a growing middle-class, Asia will continue to provide much of the momentum for the global GDP growth.
Asia’s continued rise is however not a given. As their economies develop, the Asian governments find themselves tackling more complex challenges such as increasing inequalities and the Middle Income Trap. Regional frictions can also threaten Asian and global economic growth. It is hence important for leaders to be able to meet and exchange views on how to resolve the issues facing our countries and the region. I hope that the Conference, which has thus far provided an excellent platform for such exchanges, will continue to attract key players from around the region for quality discussions.
I would like to express my appreciation to Nikkei Inc for inviting me to the Conference in the past many years. I enjoyed participating in the Conference because it afforded me the opportunity to deepen my understanding of the Japanese society and to share my views on key issues facing Asia.
I wish the Conference every success in the years ahead.
There was already much talk 20 years ago about the 21st Century
being the century of Asia when Nikkei Shimbun decided to convene a forum
on the future of Asia.
This forum proved so useful and enlightening that Nikkei Shimbun decided to organize the forum on the theme of Asia’s future every year.
This was indeed useful for the participants and the public to appreciate the changes taking place in Asia and make intelligent guesses, if not predictions,
as to the future of this vast continent.
The views expressed by leaders of largely Asian countries and other
speakers reflect not just their hopes and expectations for their countries but also their fears regarding certain trends and developments.
China figured largely in the discussions. The experiences in the past
kept creeping into the dialogue especially as China began to prosper, to
become a powerful factor and influence in the affairs of Asia and indeed the
rest of the world.
I was fortunate to be invited to this yearly forum very early after its
launch 20 years ago. I have found the discussions most enlightening and in
many cases quite accurate in forecasting at least the immediate future.
Nikkei Shimbun is to be congratulated on organizing and hosting this
very important forum. The country representatives not only reflect their
country’s perception of the future of Asia but must have also influenced
their preparation to meet the challenges due to the resurgence of Asia.
Having attended this forum for over 14 times and finding them very
useful in my understanding of the minds of Asians and their expectations, I
hope Nikkei Shimbun will continue to host this forum far into the future.
My congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the Nikkei Conference
on the “Future of Asia”.