Okinawa

Together with the Nordic Ambassadors I recently visited Okinawa to get a first-hand impression of the prefecture which is so often discussed in Japanese media. We met Governor Nakaima and officials from the prefectural office  and discussed both political issues and the particular culture of the islands. We also visited U.S. military facilities, had meetings with U.S. Consul General Green and his staff. One of the most destructive and key battles of the Pacific war took place in Okinawa and many of the issues are still somehow related to the war. It was very enlightening to listen to both Japanese and American officials and get a closer understanding of how important Okinawa is to both Japan and the U.S., in fact to the whole East Asian region.

Although Okinawa is an important part of Japan, the ancient Ryûkyû Kingdom has left its traces, giving the culture of the islands a distinct flavour. Perhaps the natural beauty of the surroundings and the history of the islands make it a perfect place for both contemplation and creative solutions. It is, anyhow, not so surprising that Okinawa has been chosen as the site for the newly established Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology, OIST, which we also visited. It is a graduate university and a research center in newly built facilities that harmonizes well with the surrounding nature and where the atmosphere is one of true creativity. International and Japanese researchers from different disciplins share resources in a very unique way, and the research projects that have already commenced are nothing but impressive. Don’t be surprised if researchers of the institute will be awarded several Nobel prizes in the future.

The trip to Okinawa followed a couple of intensive weeks with, on the one hand, a visiting delegation from the Standing Committee on Culture of the Swedish Parliament  and, on the other, the visit by our Trade Minister, Dr. Ewa Björling, and her delegation. A team from Swedish Television was here at the same time, mainly to make a program about the chef at the Embassy, Mr. Richard Finnman.


01 comments Send comment

  1. 01

    Good initiative to visit Okinawa!

    My wife and I love to come to Okinawa for vacation, not just because of beautiful beaches but also due to the open mentality there.

    Okinawa and Hokkaido are similar in the sense that both are far away from “real Japan, i.e. Kyusyu, Shikoku to Honsyu” not just geographically but also mentally.

    In Okinawa and Hokkaido there is unusual openess and tolerance which is an important source for creativity.

    Look forward to seeing Nobel prize winners from OIST.

Comment on post

To post a comment you need to log in with Facebook:

Read our netiquette

Latest posts

Sweden in the UK

Comment
Thomas Heatherwick speaking about The Garden Bridge project

Skanska – Fast forward thinking

26 September 2014 at 10:35

The Skanska UK Future Day conference was a very timely event. Its focus…

Schweden in Deutschland

Comment
staffancarlsson

Das transatlantische Freihandelsabkommen TTIP und die schwedische Wirtschaft

25 September 2014 at 14:20

Ich habe gesehen, dass die deutschen Sozialdemokraten auf ihrem Parteikonvent vor knapp einer…

Sweden in Greece

Comment

Η αρχή του φθινοπώρου!

23 September 2014 at 12:00

Οι διακοπές φαντάζουν ήδη μακρινές και όλες οι δραστηριότητες μας κατακλύζουν. Είναι πολύ…

Sweden in Poland

Comment
Staffan Herrström

Back from Opole and Sosnowiec

22 September 2014 at 07:33

I woke up this morning to the great news about Poland winning the…