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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

LKY Japan Study Trip 2017 2017年03月23日(木)

LKY GraSPP Day , [:en]Summary[:ja]概要報告[:]

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My home University, Seoul National University, has a remarkable program with Peking University and the University of Tokyo called ‘Campus Asia’. As a Campus Asia student, I am doing a double-degree program at the University of Tokyo and Seoul National University. I had an opportunity to stay in Tokyo for a year, and before I came to Tokyo, I thought I had so much time compared to my stay in China (Peking University), which was only a semester. However, as time flies like an arrow and now I only have a week left. I was sad that I had to leave and wanted to spend my last days valuable. Luckily, I got into LKY-GraSPP study trip and had my memorable last days in Japan.

Before the trip, I was under huge stress, so I was not feeling really well. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate in some of the events. The first impressions I got after meeting LKY students were 仲良し(close/friendly to each other) and 賑やか(lively and outgoing). Everyone was full of energy and eager to experience a new culture. They always had cute questions and smiles, so I felt like I was warmly welcomed on the trip. Throughout the trip, we were fighting against fatigue and sleep deprivation, because sometimes we gather around 7:30 am to follow busy schedules. For a week, we visited 5 cities in total (Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka, Oita, and Tokyo), which I could never have done if it was me alone. Under the sincere care of Yoshino San and other LKY committee members, we always safely arrived, had fun, and explored.

Japan is a very close country to Korea, yet we share different values in culture or societal phenomena. One thing I was really surprised to see at the Toyota Factory in Fukuoka was that all the engineers were very young, around my age or perhaps younger than me. In South Korea, the unemployment rate is a huge social issue because the job market is getting smaller and smaller. However, the demand for engineers from factories is increasing, but there are not many young people want to pursue their careers in manufacturing. It is really hard for manufacturing companies to find young people with the right skills to work in so-called labor markets. However, it was interesting to see that Japan has many young engineers to support industrial sectors and something Korea needs to change for further economic growth.

I thank each one of my friends and people whom I met during this trip. Now, I have so many friends who will welcome me when I visit Singapore. I was really sad when LKY students were leaving, but I always know that we will meet again in the future making a better world. I am happy that I met these warm and lovely friends in my life. Now, I am packing with happy memories I had from Tokyo. It was indeed a good ending to my journey. Thank you, GrasPP. Adieu!

Dong Yoon Won


Bringing A Taste of Home

It was a privilege to be part of this year’s Japan Study Trip, an annual undertaking led by Japanese MPP and MPA students in the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.  Within just a week, we traveled from Kyoto to Kyushu, followed by three days in Tokyo.  Our intense itinerary was packed with field visits to factories and steel mills, dialogue sessions with government officials and university students, and networking receptions in each city.  Needless to say, this was an incredible learning journey for all of us, exploring a country that has much to offer not just in history and natural beauty, but also in public policy lessons.  The wide variety of engagements gave us much food for thought to bring back to our classrooms, even as they enabled the students to interact and learn from one another.


One major theme during this trip was tracing the successes of the Japanese economy and society, and considering the plethora of long-term social and economic problems that Japanese policymakers face today.  The Yawata Steel Works, a steel mill with a history that stretches back more than a century and which intertwines with Japan’s development, was but one visit that reminded us of the heavy engineering and labour processes that often lie behind the policy papers that we write.  It was helpful to tap on the experiences of government officials and ‘practitioner’ academics to gain insight into different perspectives of the country’s most appropriate future direction.


There was no shortage of fun and memorable moments too, with outings to enjoy the nightlife in each city, and a one-night stop in the onsen town of Beppu, Oita.  The hot spring experience was a first for many of the students, but they quickly caught on and fully enjoyed it.  More than the activities, however, the conversations and lasting friendships forged over these recreational moments form the most valuable takeaways from this week-long programme.  It was enlightening to get to know our classmates and their diverse backgrounds, while exchanging stories of our personal experiences in our different professions.  I definitely look forward to these friendships becoming working partnerships when our paths cross again in the policy world in the future.


It is not easy to manage a hectic study trip, much less one with such a diverse group of participants in both age and personality.  What made it even more exceptional was the fact that this LKYSPP trip is entirely driven by student leadership in all aspects, from sponsorship to execution.  I hope to see more student-led activities of this nature in the University of Tokyo as well – it would add value to the educational opportunities afforded by a public policy school, outside of the classroom.  I also valued the diversity of the Singapore delegation, which brought a taste of home to me in Japan.  This programme has been a great opportunity to learn from and build bonds among friends from all over the world.  Many thanks to GraSPP and the LKYSPP students for the memories!


Issac Lee