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東京大学公共政策大学院 | GraSPP / Graduate School of Public Policy | The university of Tokyo

GraSPPers Voice GraSPPers Voice

Unknown environments lead to the rediscovery of oneself

Prof. Hikaru Ogawa (from Japan) Professor

I specialize in public economics, building theories to understand the modalities for taxation in a global society where people, capital, and corporations move across borders. In my classes, I teach a wide range of fundamental ideas that are essential as an entry point into economics. As well as broadening one’s insights through a wide variety of classes, I hope that students will take the opportunity to go back to the basics, handle figures themselves, and reacquaint themselves with theories and ideas at GraSPP.

I specialize in public economics, building theories to understand the modalities for taxation in a global society where people, capital, and corporations move across borders. In my GraSPP classes, I teach a wide range of fundamental ideas that are essential as an entry point into economics. Applying these fundamentals, we also engage in exercises using concrete figures, including making measurements based on economic theory to consider the sustainability of Japan’s public finances and the arguments for and against a reduced consumption tax rate, and examining the extent to which the government is interested in realizing a “fair” society. Addressing Japan’s current taxation and public debt-related issues in this way may provide a reference for other countries that are likely to face similar issues in the future.

As someone born and raised in Tokyo,  I found myself stunned to imagine my future life if I were to simply remain in Tokyo and find a job, being endlessly jostled on a commuter train every day thereafter when I was a high school student. I therefore extricated myself from this imagined future and left Tokyo. I went to Nagoya University and immersed myself in a different environment, both physically and mentally, and ultimately discovered a field of study that I found both enjoyable and interesting. As I followed in my mentor’s footsteps, I too found myself on the path to becoming a researcher. Since GraSPP is also a unique environment, I hope it will be a place where students can change their existing perspectives and make new discoveries.

GraSPP provides a rich variety of classes, both in quantitative terms and also in the breadth of fields covered, and you really get a sense that the students are enjoying the learning experience itself. There are also opportunities to learn together with international students from various countries. GraSPP is an excellent place for students who want to transform themselves in order to advance their public service careers, but are unsure of how exactly to do so. Here, they can hope to eventually acquire perspectives through academic interaction that they would not have contemplated previously.

It is a tremendously valuable opportunity to gain a global learning experience here in Japan. Students’ ability to consider and discuss multifaceted perspectives that can be put to future use in international organizations will be greatly enhanced by being at GraSPP. As I touched on above, students should enjoy being inspired by the environment and embrace the process of change. However, students should also remember that self-transformation is not the only thing and that it is also important to understand the quality of the opinions and the theory behind them too.

In society, it is very often the case that the places where ultimate decisions are made, such as those relating to policy, and the places where analysis is conducted are separate from each other. Of course, this is the result of labor being divided on the basis of professional expertise, but when a group of people with decision-making authority blindly trusts data without understanding or even paying attention to the way in which the materials used to arrive at a decision were prepared, are they truly able to make the best decisions? At GraSPP, as well as broadening one’s insights through a wide variety of classes, I hope that students will take the opportunity to go back to the basics, handle figures themselves, and reacquaint themselves with theories and ideas.