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IIMB’s Mizuho India Japan Study Centre celebrates its 5th Foundation Day on the theme ‘Connect Explore Develop’ on 16th September

The event, held on the hybrid mode, included addresses by eminent speakers from academia, industry, policy making areas; and release of publications by MIJSC

16 September, 2022, Bengaluru: “The Mizuho India Japan Study Centre has been making commendable efforts in deepening the bond of Indian and Japanese industry among the government, academia and business communities, in both our countries”, said Sanjay Kumar Verma, Indian Ambassador to Japan, in his keynote speech on: ‘Perspectives on India-Japan relationships’. 

He was speaking during the 5th Foundation Day celebrations of the Mizuho India Japan Study Centre (MIJSC), an IIMB Centre of Excellence, on 16th September 2022 (Friday). The event was held on a hybrid mode, on the theme: ‘Connect Explore Develop’. The event included three sessions, the first focusing on reaching out to the centre’s stakeholders to understand their perspectives on the nuances of India-Japan relationship. The second session saw a video being played detailing activities of the centre, especially the achievements and initiatives in the last year. The session also saw leading academics talking about strengthening research and related academic bonds between the two nations. Another highlight of the session was the release of two major publications. In the third session, the highlight was on how Mizuho Bank visualizes its partnership with MIJSC at IIMB. 

In a recorded message that was played out at the venue, Sanjay Kumar Verma highlighted that India and Japan have had a history of 70 years of established diplomatic relations. “There are strategic and global partnerships in areas like trade and investment, industrial development, infrastructure, digital, energy, human resources, critical and emerging technologies, climate change, health security, space security, defence, and overall regional and global security and prosperity. Other than the economic cooperation, our strategic convergence has gained new meaning in recent years since there is deep commitment between the two sides on bilateral relations and security, as reflected in various bilateral engagements. For example, under the Act East Forum, several developmental projects have been implemented in India.”

“Economic cooperation is also pronounced between the two countries. Japan supports flagship Indian projects and is one of the largest investors in the country. Bilateral trade is booming. It is important for both the countries to cooperate in sectors that can help ensure economic security for both countries. There is also the India Japan Industrial Competitiveness Partnership, to promote ties on manufacturing, MSMEs and supply chain. The countries are dedicated to work towards setting up of reliable, resilient and efficient supply chains.” 

He listed some key areas that can contribute further to the economic security of the two countries. “Skill development and mobility of skilled workers from India to Japan is one such area. Digital partnerships will bring the countries together closer for innovation and product development. Energy partnerships and healthcare cooperation (which has gained more relevance with the onset of the pandemic) should be enhanced as well”.

Pointing out that people-to-people ties are the bedrock of any relationship, he said that the two countries have an ancient history of scholarly and spiritual linkages. “Japanese language education has immense potential to facilitate cultural ties, higher education, as well as academic, parliamentary, industrial, media, youth and sport exchanges. There is an increased interest in Japanese language education in India. Language is the key to building long lasting understanding and people-to-people linkages”. 

Earlier in the evening, while delivering the welcome address, Prof. Rishikesha T Krishnan, Director, IIM Bangalore, said that MIJSC was the first country-focussed centre in IIMB which has fostered various interesting projects. “The Mizuho Bank has provided generous support not only financially, but takes active interest in the centre, which is very valuable to help us in building and developing the centre. Today’s forum with your participation and interaction will enable us to understand your expectations which we can translate into reality in the years to come.”

Prof. D Krishna Sundar, Chairperson, Mizuho India-Japan Study Centre, while welcoming the audience, gave an overview of MIJSC. “With industry support, especially from the Mizuho Bank, we have been able to initiate activities with focus on research, outreach and industry connect, of interest for both the nations. MIJSC has sponsored 10 funded research projects. Few elective courses are being offered as part of our degree granting MBA programme. Books have been published and a monograph has also come out. IIMB faculty is also involved in supporting industry needs. Student exchange programmes are another area of collaboration. New programmes are also on the anvil. There is work in progress to provide a Japanese language section in the IIMB library. These are small steps towards achieving a much larger agenda in the future.”

Nakane Tsutomu, Consulate General of Japan in Bengaluru, taking the audience through ‘Fostering Industrial-Academic linkages between India and Japan’, said that MIJSC has continued doing tremendous work despite the disruptions brought about by the pandemic. “MIJSC aims to become a networking hub between the two countries and fosters research, policy, innovation, sustainability, IPR development between the two countries, as well as cooperation between industry, government and well-known universities. There is vital human and academic exchange. MIJSC places great importance on partnership with start-ups. Japan is aware of India’s high economic potential and MIJSC’s position to promote further cooperation in promising areas of IT, start-up, digital, finance, science, technology, and more.”

Talking about ‘Building India Japan Business Relationships’, Toshihiro Mizutani, Director General of JETRO (Bengaluru), which is a Japanese government organization that supports business collaboration between Indian and Japanese companies, said that JETRO aimed to promote cooperation between the two countries on several areas of mutual interest, especially on Indian IT and start-up sector in recent times. “IJSC is also engaged in a lot of work which opens new business opportunities. Japan supports talented Indian students who play an important role in changing the mindset of Japanese youth. I hope we continue to contribute to each other.”

The next session saw a video being played out showcasing the milestones of MIJSC in the past year, including the webinars/talks it holds such as the ‘Tatsujin-Speak’ or ‘Expert-Speak’ and ‘Meijin-Samvad’ or ‘Expert-Conversation’ series; funding of research projects by faculty including Prof. A Damodaran, Prof. Rupa Chanda and Prof. Tirthatanmoy Das of the Economics area and Prof. Ishwar Murthy of the Decision Sciences area; publications released like coffee table books and a monograph; academic initiatives such as Elective Programmes like BPIM-J, J-EMPS, Executive Development Programmes like IJLP and BOM-J, retraining faculty, focus on Japanese language inputs, developing MOOCs for students and faculty, and more.

Prof. Tarun Panda, Dean of International Relations, IIT Hyderabad, gave his insight on ‘Building strong bonds between India and Japan through Academia’. Explaining that to make any bond we need two elements – ionic which is fragile and covalent, which is stronger and more stable, he said, “Sustainable relations between the two countries should be through the covalent bond, that the stakeholders can nurture. IIT Hyderabad is also doing valuable work for India-Japan relations. With similar goals, IIT Hyderabad and MIJSC, by working in sync, can make academic and industry relations between the two nations stronger and take that to the next level.”

Prof. H. S. Prabhakar, Japanese Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, spoke on ‘Strengthening research linkages between India and Japan’ and said that from an academic viewpoint, there were quite a few areas of great potential of conducting research on contemporary Japan. “I am happy that MIJSC is also covering the social science dimension”, he added. 

Masahiko Kato, Mizuho President, shared his views on ‘Building India-Japan bonds through MIJSC’, through a video message. “We have always supported business activities in India. There is high possibility of business expansion in India as the country has a lot of potential. We have seen how the country fought Covid and sustained its developmental agenda. India has a strong process to nurture and attract talented people.” Talking about Mizuho Bank’s engagement with the centre, he said, “We have been offering both financial and non-financial support to MIJSC. We have offered lectures for student delegations at our head office in Tokyo, have supervised business case studies on India-Japan collaboration, and more. We look forward to further strengthening our ties by continuing to offer expertise gained from years of experience engaging with clients in India.”

MIJSC has also integrated learnings from research projects and the seminar-webinar series into a coffee table book and monograph book, which were released by Nakane Tsutomu and Prof. RT Krishnan, during the event. Toshihiro Mizutani and Prof. D Krishna Sundar declared Volume 2 Issue 2 of the MIJSC newsletter, capturing the activities of the centre and highlighting upcoming programmes, officially open. There was another video presentation on the newsletter and preview of an upcoming publication.

The wrap up and vote of thanks, was delivered by Saideep Rathnam, Chief Operating Officer, Mizuho India Japan Study Centre.

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