JFTC Essay Competition

Words from Winners of JFTC Essay Competition 2012

It is truly indescribable to put in words what winning this competition has meant to me, and I can’t thank the JFTC Selection Committee enough for choosing my essay to win this prestigious award. This is the first time I have ever entered any kind of competition like this and I would never have had the opportunity to do so if it wasn’t for the sheer openness of this contest which welcomes submissions from anyone, anywhere. It is unique, and for this reason very special, that in order to obtain fresh ideas and thoughts the JFTC is pro-actively seeking out new answers to the problems that Japan faces. I sincerely hope that the suggestions that myself and the other winners have put forth will spark a new discussion in Japan on the issue of depopulation.

What made me apply for JFTC Essay Competition
As a part time student of Japanese language and culture I have continuously worked hard to gain an in-depth understanding of Japan, by luck I gained a free subscription to a Japanese magazine and it was only by chance that one day I put down an issue that I had received several months previously and happened to see the JFTC Essay Competition advertised on the back. The topic immediately attracted me as it had been touched upon several times in Japanese exams, while several ideas quickly sprung to my mind in light of my own research into immigrating to Japan, as well as how an event like the London Olympics can galvanise a nation. After a few days of thought I decided that I did have something to say and that it wouldn’t hurt to at least just try and have my voice heard. It is a decision that I will never regret.

Michael SULLIVAN (The United Kingdom)

I am very honoured to have been selected by the JFTC essay committee for the Prize for Excellence. I would also like to thank JFTC for the great possibility to attend the award ceremony in Japan and for organising this essay competition. Such an international contest with participants from all around the world is a great way to help find solutions to the depopulation problem in Japan and elsewhere. I believe that sometimes an outsider’s point of view is a good way to reflect on issues and get inspiration for new kinds of answers. I am glad to have given my contribution, especially as the essay was on a topic I believe needs more global attention. I also hope that some of the ideas will inspire decision-makers in Japan to take more action.

What made me apply for JFTC Essay Competition
When I first heard of the essay competition, I encouraged people who had lived in Japan to participate because I thought they would be more competent to write on the topic thanks to their living experience. However, the more I thought of the subject, the more I realized that the challenges Japan faces with depopulation may be directly linked to the problems in its society and an outsider’s perspective might come in handy. I find that often one can solve issues better by taking a step back and looking at the entire system, thus I tried to do the same in my essay. I am in general very interested in political and socioeconomic issues and I saw this competition as an option to express the ideas I had in relation to Japanese society and the challenges it faces. I hope that many other people take a chance and try to offer their ideas next year because we all gain from an exchange of thoughts!

Kadri METSPALU (Estonia)

I am honored to receive this Prize for Excellence and I am grateful to the Japan Foreign Trade Council for organizing this competition. By welcoming entries from everyone, regardless of age or nationality, and by allowing essays to be submitted in English as well as Japanese, the organizers have made this a truly worldwide contest. It has allowed people like me, who are fascinated by Japan, to further our interest. My congratulations to JFTC for the exemplary manner in which they have organized and conducted this contest.

What made me apply for JFTC Essay Competition
The topic for this year's competition, "Strategies for a Depopulating Japan", was intriguing and thought provoking. As soon as I read it, I knew that I wanted to participate. I am very glad that I did because I enjoyed every aspect of it. I enjoyed doing the research. I enjoyed writing the essay and I enjoyed every minute of the presentation ceremony, the New Year reception and my stay in Japan. I hope that some of the ideas put forth in the various essays will be of use in tackling this problem of depopulation which has such grave implications for the future of Japan.

Anil NIRODY (The United State)


What made me apply for JFTC Essay Competition

Takashi ASANO (Japan)