Japan is about to see great changes. As the Heisei era will end in May of next year upon the
abdication of the Emperor, a new era will begin. The era generally changes to a new one when
the Emperor passes away. However, there used to be a custom to change the name of the era
based on a “cyclical disaster theory” to avoid disasters and uprisings, in the hope of renewing
society. On this historical occasion, I can’t help but hope the same for our country.
Osaka is the chosen venue for the World Expo 2025 . It will be the second time Osaka has
hosted this landmark event – 55 years after the 1970 Osaka Expo. With the “Tower of the Sun,”
as its symbol, the theme of the Expo ’70 was “Progress and Harmony for Mankind,” and many
exhibitions featuring the future of the Japan’s heavy industry during the period of rapid
growth were introduced.
The theme of the World Expo 2025 is “Designing Future Society for Our Lives,” and its
subthemes are “How to Lead a Healthy Life in a Diverse Manner” and “Sustainable
The Nobel Laureate, Shinya Yamanaka, the Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and
Application, Kyoto University, was a featured speaker at Osaka’s final presentation as part of
the city’s bid to host the World Expo 2025. Dr. Yamanaka appealed by saying, “Efforts toward
research into regenerative medicine and a society of good health and longevity can contribute
to solutions for global issues such as poverty and hunger. Expo 2025 Osaka-Kansai will be a
great laboratory which will enthrall and amaze future scientists from all corners of the world.”
It sounds exciting. However, I must question whether advances in economics and science can
create an affluent and mature nation in a true sense.
Here’s a true story of an actual event that occurred this year. Four brown bears were exhibited
in a museum in Hokkaido. Their cage was made up of a space of just around two tatami mats with
a damp concrete floor.
The Japan Animal Welfare Society received many complains from viewers about the poor
conditions, especially from overseas visitors. The Society visited the museum and learned that no
improvement in the living conditions for the bears would be made, even though the museum was
scheduled to be rebuilt this year. The Society then inquired across Japan for any facilities
that might be able to accept the brown bears. But no one wanted the aged bears. Then, Yorkshire
Wildlife Park in the UK quickly offered to accept the four bears. Surprisingly, they spent 75 million
yen, ordered safe and comfortable customized cages for transport, and made a very careful transport
plan. It is said those brown bears, who made it safely to the UK, rolled around on the soft dry straw
as if they had never seen it before.
People around the world will soon come to the Olympics and Expo to be held in Japan. In order to
be an affluent country that is attractive and appealing to the world, Japan needs to not only value
the lives of people, but also those of animals.
Although I have been writing this column as I have nothing better to do in my spare time, I’m taking
the liberty of stopping writing now. I hope I will be able to share my thoughts in a new project again.
Thank you very much for having taken the time to read my column.
I hope next year will be the best for all of you…
by Handsome Woman of Fukuoka