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[Tokyo Outlook] Celebrating the Women Lighting a Path to a Better World

Japan's first constitution tells us to "Cherish harmony above all else," and today it is remarkable women who are leaving their indelible mark on our world.



This year, JAPAN Forward featured the lives of remarkable women who taught us the power of believing in our dreams. Their stories stood in sharp contrast to the bleakness of the current global outlook.

Given how quickly the West's conflict with Russia and China has escalated in recent months, one might be tempted to believe that we are on the edge of another world war. Moreover, nuclear threats and unprecedented defense budget boosts are clear indications that military tensions will not abate anytime soon. Fundamental values such as freedom and human rights seem to be slipping from our fingers. And in its stead, a nationalism of exclusion is dividing an already uncertain world. 

One year after the invasion of Ukraine, small Ukrainian flags are lined up on Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine on February 22, 2023. (© Sankei by Ryosuke Kawaguchi)

Hope in the Darkness

COVID-19 struck the vulnerable especially hard. It dealt a crippling blow to the global economy, widening economic disparities even further. The Russian invasion of Ukraine exposed the weaknesses in the world's food and energy systems, causing further division. All of this was also exacerbated by the spread of selfish nationalism, whose motto is to take the best and leave nothing for the rest. 

In such a time, it can be easy to focus on the darkness. But there are beacons that remind us that hope will never die, as long as we know where to look. One such reminder was an article published by JAPAN Forward to celebrate International Women's Day on March 8.

We selected 14 women who had let nothing get in the way of achieving their dreams. They include:

Misaki Emura
Misaki Emura displays her women's individual sabre gold medal at the Fencing World Championships in Cairo on July 20, 2022. (© JAPAN FENCING FEDERATION via KYODO)

Diversity Will Be Our Guiding Light

From sports, culture, academic research, journalism, and human rights advocacy to business management for social change, these women are leaving an indelible mark on their respective spheres of influence. But they are united by a common purpose: to make the world a better place, one day at a time. 

Dr Ayuko Hoshino is a researcher exploring new avenues of cancer treatment. She was the first to discover that cell-released particles called "exosomes" are involved in metastasis. This was a pivotal discovery in humanity's fight against cancer. As Hoshino explains, "Once we figure out how to remove bad exosomes, we may be able to slow or even prevent metastasis."

She also believes that "great research can only be produced where there is diversity," and her lab is a reflection of this. It transcends gender, ethnicity, and educational background. In fact, more than half of her researchers are women. Furthermore, she promotes a flexible work style to make it easier for her team members to pursue their careers while also balancing their family life. 

Hoshino busy working at her lab (© Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Harmony in Diversity 

JAPAN Forward believes that diversity is a guiding light for humanity. Half of our teammates are women, and many of us come from different countries and educational and professional backgrounds. But what unites our diverse team is our common love for Japan. Our talents and skills are elevated by our passion to bring Japan forward into the world. 

Finally, it is said that Prince Shotoku laid down Japan's first constitution. The first article says, "Cherish harmony above all else," and the message rings truer than ever.

Although JAPAN Forward is still but a seedling, we will strive to play our part in bringing harmony to the world. 

Watch for the next issue of "Tokyo Outlook" in April. 

Become a Supporting Member of JAPAN Forward

JAPAN Forward will celebrate its 6th anniversary this June! Join us as we continue to share the true voice of Japan with the world. For inquiries, please call 0570-033-433 (Sankei iD) or email us at info@japan-forward.com.


(Read the article in Japanese)

Author: Yasuo Naito, Editor in Chief, JAPAN Forward

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