Here you will be able to learn more about Toshio Harigaya, vice president and Professor of School of Agriculture, Meiji University
Thank you for the introduction, and to you all for coming here today. The address was to be given by our President, but today he is abroad on business, so I will give the address on his behalf.
As Mayor Yoshizumi mentioned in his opening address, Meiji University and Taito Ward have launched a joint project entitled: "International Asakusa Studies Project", to study Asakusa from a global perspective. I'm very pleased by the launch of this project. As the Mayor has mentioned, this project is led by Professor Itoda, who will give a keynote speech later. Thanks to the efforts of Meiji alumnus Mr. Nagabori, who is also President of the Meiji University Council, we developed a plan for the project with Taito Ward, and yesterday our President and Mayor Yoshizumi signed the agreement at our university. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your visit yesterday.
The theme of today's symposium is "Possibilities of International Asakusa Studies". For this symposium, we have invited Professor Linhart and other excellent speakers from abroad. I would like to thank them for joining us.
As many of you may know, Meiji University was founded in 1881 and celebrates its 126th anniversary this year. It is one of the leading private universities in Japan. Yet when it comes to activities with local and regional communities, the university has not been very active. In the past, most universities were isolated from the outside world, and professors who were busy teaching and researching were inclined to hide themselves in their ivory towers. It is only recently that universities have begun to engage with the business and public sectors. This project is an example of a collaboration between the academic and public sectors. In recent years, contributing to society has become the third important pillar of Meiji's activities, along with education and research.
Over the past decade we have been involved in many activities with local communities, particularly in areas hosting our campuses. Since our Surugadai campus is in Chiyoda Ward, we have participated in many social activities there.
Our Izumi campus is near Meidai-mae station on the Keio line in Suginami Ward, allowing us to get involved in collaborations there. In our Ikuta campus, Kawasaki City, where our School of Science and Technology and School of Agriculture are located, we work with Tama Ward. We have other facilities in the cities of Chofu, Fuchu and Mitaka, and we are working with those cities too.
Recently, we have been active working with local governments, including Narita City in Chiba Prefecture, a project that is ten years old this year. In cooperation with the city's adult college, we have been offering programmes to the working people of Narita. So against this background, today we are launching this new project with Taito Ward. I very much look forward to its success, and am very pleased to be holding this inauguration symposium today.
Meiji University will be creating a new faculty, the School of Global Japanese Studies, next year. Indeed, we held a symposium for its inauguration yesterday. Our panelists today also gave speeches at Meiji University yesterday, and have graciously agreed to speak again at this symposium. I want to express my sincere thanks to them.
We hope to establish cooperative relations with you. We also expect to develop our relations with Asakusa through this project. I very much hope that our project will be successful and that it will lead to more cooperation in a variety of fields between Meiji University and Taito Ward. Thank you. (Applause.)
Moderator Thank you Professor Harigaya. Next, we will hear the keynote speech from Professor Itoda of Meiji University, the head of the executive committee of this project. After that we will have the pleasure of listening to presentations by the six international representatives who are sitting in the front row. Following their presentations we will discuss the Asakusa project, for as long as time permits. The symposium is expected to end at 5pm. We then have a party at Seiyoken on the 8th floor, 1 floor below us. If you have time, please join us. By the way, it's free of charge. (Laughter.)