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UTokyo President’s Log

Ever since assuming the leadership of the University of Tokyo, I’ve wanted to share my thoughts and activities as president with members of the university, as well as the larger community outside our institution. With my research field being connected to the ocean, I’d always kept a log during my time conducting surveys and being out at sea. Now, having embarked on my journey as UTokyo’s skipper, I would like to share with all of you my record of this latest voyage, through the UTokyo President’s Log.

Teruo Fujii, 31st President of the University of Tokyo

August 2023

UTokyo PLog #2023-UT-16

Date & Time: August 30, 2023 
Location: Go Global Center, Hongo Campus
Latitude/Longitude:  35°42'49.3"N / 139°45'49.4"E Open in Google Maps別ウィンドウで開く

I attended UTokyo Africa Evening, an event to promote exchange with international students from African countries who are studying at UTokyo.


The students introduced their countries and gave presentations on their research. After their talks, I had a chance to chat with the students individually. The evening turned out to be a highly stimulating and educational experience.



UTokyo PLog #2023-G-12

Date & Time: August 22, 2023 
Location: Google Quantum AI campus

I visited Google’s Quantum AI campus in Santa Barbara, California, in the U.S. In May of this year, UTokyo, Google and the University of Chicago signed a partnership agreement for advancing research on quantum technology.


I met with Engineering Director Hartmut Neven, who leads the company’s quantum AI research, and members of his team, and we discussed various potential applications of quantum computing. I concluded my visit with a tour of the campus and its research facilities.



UTokyo PLog #2023-G-11

Date & Time: August 17-18, 2023 
Location: Microsoft Redmond campus
Latitude/Longitude:  47°39'08.2"N / 122°08'31.9"W Open in Google Maps別ウィンドウで開く

I visited the campus of Microsoft’s corporate headquarters in Redmond, a city near Seattle in the U.S. state of Washington. During my visit, I learned about the company’s various initiatives and exchanged opinions on applications of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in education, as well as efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, and the green and digital transformations, among other topics.


I met with Corporate Vice President Peter Lee, who heads Microsoft Research, and we discussed the history and various applications of the large language model GPT-4.


I also met and talked with UTokyo alumni who are now working as researchers at Microsoft Research.



UTokyo PLog #2023-UT-15

Date & Time: August 10, 2023 
Location: HASEKO-KUMA HALL, Hongo Campus
Latitude/Longitude:  35°42'48.9"N / 139°45'34.4"E Open in Google Maps別ウィンドウで開く

I participated in the symposium on the final day of the joint summer program between UTokyo and the Asian University for Women (AUW) in Bangladesh.

The 10-day program, held on the Hongo Campus, was designed for UTokyo and AUW students to join together to explore its theme, “Movement of people in the 21st century — ‘Migration, Immigration, and Refugees,’” and encourage them to actively engage in discussion and exchange opinions with each other. It was also aimed to provide inspiration for the students’ future careers.


Ms. Kanae Doi, Japan director of Human Rights Watch, gave the keynote speech at the symposium. This was followed by participants from the two universities presenting learning outcomes of the issues they focused on in their group projects.


The students offered a positive outlook in their presentations. Also, many of them came up to me after the symposium to express their appreciation.



UTokyo PLog #2023-UT-14

Date & Time: August 8, 2023 
Location: Faculty of Law & Letters Bldg. 2, Hongo Campus
Latitude/Longitude:  35°42'46.4"N / 139°45'40.0"E Open in Google Maps別ウィンドウで開く

We invited junior high students from the city of Shingu in Wakayama Prefecture to UTokyo and held a multiday seminar for them to learn about the historical and cultural signifance of the Kumano region and experience various activities. Shingu lies on the Kii Peninsula, south of Kyoto and Osaka, and is in the heart of the Kumano region, known for its sacred sites and pilgrimage routes.

This seminar is part of the partnership agreement concluded in March 2021 between Shingu and UTokyo’s Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, with the aim of revitalizing the region through various research and educational projects in Shingu and the surrounding Kumano region, and deepening exchanges with the people in the area.

We had to put off holding the event last year due to the COVID pandemic and are very happy to have been able to welcome the students to UTokyo for the first time this year.



UTokyo PLog #2023-UT-13

Date & Time: August 2, 2023 
Location: A virtual Yasuda Auditorium

At UTokyo Open Campus 2023, which was held virtually, I addressed student questions in an online talk session entitled, “What is the dream you wish to fulfill at UTokyo? Contemplating ‘a university that anyone in the world would want to join’ with President Fujii.”


The dialogue session was held among avatars, using a virtual Yasuda Auditorium as our platform.

Some of the questions could easily have been mistaken as coming from a graduate student for their complexity, while others dealt with specific, forward-looking goals, and I could feel the students’ strong enthusiasm.



July 2023

UTokyo PLog #2023-UT-12

Date & Time: July 31, 2023 
Location: Yasuda Auditorium, Hongo Campus
Latitude/Longitude:  35°42'48.3"N / 139°45'44.2"E Open in Google Maps別ウィンドウで開く

I gave opening remarks at this year’s meeting for donors of the University of Tokyo Foundation to report on the fund’s activities.


Following Executive Vice President Atsushi Tsuda’s report on the past fiscal year’s activities, UTokyo researchers and students introduced the latest initiatives with a sports-related aspect.

As a university serving the global public, UTokyo aims to contribute to the broader society by connecting with people in society, engaging in dialogue and gaining their trust.



UTokyo PLog #2023-UT-11

Date & Time: July 28, 2023 
Location: B2 Fukutake Learning Theater, Fukutake Hall, Hongo Campus
Latitude/Longitude:  35°42'41.0"N / 139°45'36.2"E Open in Google Maps別ウィンドウで開く

We welcomed Jeffrey D. Sachs, university professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University and president of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, to the Hongo Campus. We held a talk event in which Professor Sachs delivered a lecture and we took part in a dialogue session moderated by Executive Vice President Naoko Ishii.


Following our discussion on the topic of climate change, in which we covered the importance of dialogue transcending disciplinary and generational boundaries and the role of academia, we engaged in a lively Q&A session with the undergraduate and graduate students attending the event.



UTokyo PLog #2023-E-11

Date & Time: July 19, 2023 
Location: Sanjo Conference Hall, Hongo Campus
Latitude/Longitude:  35°42'43.2"N / 139°45'45.5"E Open in Google Maps別ウィンドウで開く

We invited members of the press to join UTokyo executives and me for an update and dialogue on the progress and future direction of our reform efforts to develop a new university model supporting autonomous and creative activity, as put forth in UTokyo Compass, a statement of the guiding principles of our university.


The press peppered us with questions encompassing various angles, and the occasion provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of views and enriching discussion.



UTokyo PLog #2023-E-10

Date & Time: July 19, 2023 
Location: Sanjo Conference Hall, Hongo Campus
Latitude/Longitude:  35°42'43.2"N / 139°45'45.5"E Open in Google Maps別ウィンドウで開く

President Fujii, left, and major donor Oki Matsumoto

The University of Tokyo received a significant finanancial gift from Mr. Oki Matsumoto, an alumnus, and we have agreed to use the funds toward the establishment of a research center focusing on issues facing Japan’s capital markets and to study their future direction.

From left, UTokyo Executive Vice President Hiroaki Aihara, Mr. Matsumoto and President Fujii.

At UTokyo, we are striving to create a new, endowment-based financial management model, to promote our university enterprise from the standpoint of enabling autonomy and sustainability in our operations. Mr. Matsumoto is backing us in this endeavor, and his generous support will help build UTokyo’s first endowment-financed research organization.

By promoting an endowment-driven financial management structure, we seek to contribute to solving global problems and various social issues, by fortifying our financial foundation and establishing a growth-enabling management mechanism that allows us to fulfill our aspirations.


UTokyo PLog #2023-E-09

Date & Time: July 4, 2023 
Location: Yasuda Auditorium, Hongo Campus
Latitude/Longitude:  35°42'48.3"N / 139°45'44.2"E Open in Google Maps別ウィンドウで開く

The symposium was attended by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who delivered a congratulatory address, and panelists from industry, government and academia, who engaged in lively discussions on the event’s topics.





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