News — May 24, 2002

Happiness at the 52nd Area B Conference

Part I JCI Executive Vice President Marcelo N. Fernan Jr., who chaired this Conference, had been confident that Conference Director Chikara "Dave" Sakagami and his team would do their best to ensure the success of this event. ?When I came to Sendai for the first time in December of last year, I was impressed with the beautiful city and felt the passion of the Conference Organizing Committee members for the success of this conference,? he said. The hard work of the Sendai Conference Organizing Committee, with the support of the Sendai and Japan Junior Chambers, finally came to fruition. An extraordinary event, the 52nd Area B Conference (JCI-ASPAC), took place for the benefit and enjoyment of thousands of Junior Chamber members. ?It has been such a big dream for us, Sendai Junior Chamber members, for the last seventeen years, to convene the JCI-ASPAC Sendai under the theme of "Happiness Sendai," expressed Wataru Takahashi, Sendai Junior Chamber President. ?Holding this event brings us much ?happiness?? I believe all Junior Chamber members, including us, have already discovered that real happiness exists through close relationships with others,? he added.
Chairman Press Conference JCI President Salvi Batlle and Conference Chairman Marcelo N. Fernan Jr. held a press conference on the 52nd Area B Conference at the Koyo Grand Hotel on Thursday, May 16. JCI Secretary General Benny Ellerbe, Japan Junior Chamber President Syusaku Matsumoto, Sendai Junior Chamber President Wataru Takahashi, Conference Director Chikara "Dave" Sakagami also attended this press conference. Media representatives asked numerous and incisive questions reflecting the local citizens? keen interest in Junior Chamber. Conference Chairman's Reception To celebrate the opening of the 52nd Area B Conference, Chairman Fernan, hosted a reception at the Koyo Grand Hotel on Thursday, May 16. More than 100 guests were invited, including current and past JCI officers, chief delegates and Japan Junior Chamber officers. NICHIBU, a traditional Japanese dance show, was performed during the reception. Magnificent Opening Ceremony Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino honored Junior Chamber International by attending the Opening Ceremony of the 52nd Area B Conference, held at the Yume Messe Miyagi in Sendai at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17. More than 3,000 members attended the ceremony. The ceremony was designed to help the audience focus on the Conference slogan, "Happiness, Sendai!" The slogan was chosen to promote the understanding and appreciation of other cultures and traditions?transcending the differences of languages, religions, and national borders?as well as the creation of a new network embracing every member. Opening of the First Paperless General Assembly in JCI History Chaired by JCI Executive Vice President Fernan, the paperless General Assembly of the Area B Conference opened on Saturday, May 18, at the Koyo Grand Hotel in Sendai. Each JCI officer and chief delegate received an IBM-sponsored laptop to follow the Conference agenda and presentations. Rather than being distributed as paper documents, the Conference agenda and various files were placed in the laptops, where JCI officers and chief delegates could easily access them. Several reports were received and JCI Foundation donors were recognized. Hirotaka Takeuchi, a professor of Hitotsubashi University, delivered the keynote speech. New Energy Seminar for Future Citizens A seminar and an open forum were held at the Sendai International Center at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. Open to educators and other local citizens, it aimed at preventing environmental destruction, one of the major global concerns, and at proposing solutions. Dr. Toshinori Kanaya, assistant professor at the Keio University, delivered the keynote speech on ?The Fuel Cell Energy Revolution.? He also served as a coordinator for a panel discussion that ensued with six leading figures. One of them, Shizuo Sato, Senior Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, focused on "What should energy and education be in the new energy generation?? Discussions were informative and interesting, as panelists focused on the need for energy education among young people. It helped attendees learn about the advanced new energy technology and consider how educators should develop school programs to help students understand these issues. Entrepreneurs Plaza Opening The opening of the Entrepreneurs Plaza was held at the Koyo Grand Hotel at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. Encouraged by enthusiastic participants, JCI President Salvi Batlle and ASPAC Chairman Marcelo Fernan Jr. led the ribbon cutting ceremony. The venue became a landmark for exchanging information on prospective businesses, expected to boost the economy in the Asia-Pacific region. After the opening, approximately 50 booths received the public. The local private sector, research institutions, major energy companies, and leading enterprises used the booths to offer their products and services. Their objective was to enhance their profile on high technology, quality products, and the new energy generation. With a sponsorship from the Sendai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, business visitors were offered opportunities through information exchange. Visits began at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 18. Visitors went to local firms, factories, and research institutes, such as the New Industry Creation Hatchery Center of Tohoku University; Tsuken Electric Inc., Co., Ltd.; Miyagi University; Abe Kamaboko Co. Ltd.; and Sendai Port. The final stop of the tour was the Japan Highway Public Corporation. For more details, please go to
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