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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

Equipping new knowledge and insights as a journalist

Motonao Uesugi (from Japan)

Covering changes in leadership at financial institutions and the announcement of financial results through the press club at the Bank of Japan

― Tell us about how you came to study at GraSPP.
Having worked as a journalist at Nikkei for about 20 years, I have seen the industry undergo dramatic changes over the past decade. With basic news items now delivered over the Internet, the role of newspapers is shifting toward the publication of more in-depth articles. This in turn has transformed the role of my profession, away from simply seeking out news and toward providing readers with a “point of view”. It goes without saying that investigating what is going on in the world demands a certain level of knowledge and quantity of information. Realizing that I needed to acquire a new mindset and analytical capabilities different to those I had cultivated as a reporter, I decided to take the GraSPP entrance exam based on a recommendation from one of the newspaper’s more senior staff.

― How are you enjoying student life?
Just as I felt my studies were finally getting started, the coronavirus pandemic struck. My new life as a student began in unusual times, with faculty closures and the declaration of the state of emergency. All of my spring semester classes were taken online and at first I struggled with my lack of familiarity with Zoom. With all of the other major universities still dithering through the spring of 2020 about when and how to hold classes, I was grateful for the early decision to go fully online. It wasn’t until the fall semester when a single seminar-style class was able to be held face-to-face that I got to go to the campus itself. I went for a walk around the campus before and after class just to remind myself what a great place it is.

― What challenges do you want to take on during your time as a student?
As I very much enjoy going out for a drink with my colleagues, I hope I will get the chance to do that with my new university friends sometime soon. Even though it is all happening online, I can sense from the back-and-forth of class and so on that there are a lot of unique and fascinating people among my classmates who are full of enthusiasm. I would especially like to hear what those who have come to study at GraSPP from overseas have to say. One of the great things about GraSPP is how it brings together students of various different ages and nationalities. People I would have been unlikely to encounter in my work as a journalist, so I look forward to going out to have a proper drink together once the pandemic finally recedes. I hope you will join me!

― How do you expect to put your experiences at GraSPP to use in the future?

Speaking and listening to a wide variety of people around the world to get a sense of what is happening on the front lines of the economy (at an emerging business in Southeast Asia).

It is probably a rather boring answer, but it will mostly be about writing better articles of higher quality. I want to be able to write better articles tomorrow, ones that are better than that in a year’s time, and even better still in five years’ time. I am confident that my studies at GraSPP will nourish that goal. It is not just that study at GraSPP will equip me with new knowledge and insights; I also believe that by regularly exposing me to things I previously knew nothing about, it will teach me to realize my own ignorance. By stimulating me in that and other ways, I believe it is providing me with a very valuable experience.


(from Newsletter No. 61)