JFTC Essay Competition

Words from Winners of JFTC Essay Competition 2015

I am extremely proud to have received the Prize of Excellence. Winning this prize serves as an acknowledgment of my hard work to date. The JFTC is a powerful organization, with links all over the world. I am extremely thankful to them for this amazing experience. I hope my success in this essay competition can help contribute to further personal achievements in the future. Receiving this prize also highlights to me how serious Japan is about embracing new ideas. All of this year’s winners provided fresh thinking on how Japan can move forward. In acknowledging these essays, the JFTC has put a spotlight on a number of highly innovative potential solutions to some of the challenges facing the country. I am confident that this determination and resolve can act as a catalyst for Japanese economic growth in the future.

What made me apply for JFTC Essay Competition

I was lucky enough to find out about the JFTC Essay Competition from a flyer at my university. Writing about Japan is always a challenge, and this essay was no exception. The country seems to defy economic logic in a number of key ways. Analysts often cite the apparent disconnect between the country’s debt-to-GDP levels and bond yields. Perhaps more relevant to this essay is the curious case of how Japan consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the world, and yet immigration is so low. There are of course reasons behind these contradictions to well established relationships. Analyzing and writing about Japan provides the author a chance to understand the country better. It is a fascinating nation to study; for me, this essay competition is both a source of learning, and enjoyment.

Mr. Kieran Hull (U.K., age 26)

First, I would like to thank Japan Foreign Trade Council for appreciating my proposals as outlined in my essay. This was a very tough competition as it generated hundreds of essays from all over the world. Winning the Prize for Excellence is indeed an honor. Second, I would like to commend JFTC for organizing this very worthy endeavor every year. I think this competition is representative of JFTC’s commitment to contribute in providing solutions to some of the most serious challenges facing Japan, today. This proves that JFTC isn’t only mindful of market conditions and profits but is also concerned about Japan, its place in the world, and its continued contribution to the 21st Century.

Reflecting on this year’s theme, I hope all our essays could trigger globalization in Japan to be promoted from within, in order to attract the resources of the world into this country, to make it remain competitive, and a preferred home for the smartest and most talented people. Only then can Japan continue to be a spring for innovation and a force for good in the Asia Pacific region in the years to come.

What made me apply for JFTC Essay Competition

Since I live in Japan, I wanted to share my thoughts on how I think this country could promote globalization from within. As a foreign scholar residing in Tokyo, I have first hand insights on the state of globalization within the Japanese Society. From opening bank accounts to eating at restaurants, from paying my credit card bills to online shopping, I feel and experience Japan everyday. I know its shortcomings and I have possible solutions. The JFTC Essay Competition then became a huge opportunity for me to finally voice out my ideas and suggest measures through which Japan could improve so that it could attract the brightest and most talented people, and the best ideas available anywhere in the World. Hence, upon learning about the competition and its theme for this year, I was so excited to join and contribute.

Mr. Manuel Jeffrey Sistoso (Philippines, age 28)

Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to the JFTC for organising a Competition that is open to everyone regardless of age, experience, or nationality. It has the ability to attract new ideas from around the world, while also providing individuals with an opportunity to improve their research and writing skills. I am honoured to have my essay selected for a Prize of Excellence, and thank the judges and the selection committee for both reading and providing feedback on my essay. It was a privilege to attend the award ceremony in Japan, and an experience I won’t forget. Being in Japan again, I can see that slowly but surely, Japan is taking steps towards globalisation. For instance, free public wifi for foreigners is now ubiquitous (whereas it used to be nearly non-existent) and I saw more foreign staff working here than ever before. These small signs of change make me optimistic that there is a deeper mindset shift occurring in the background, and that Japan will have a bright future.

What made me apply for JFTC Essay Competition

I first found out about the JFTC Essay Competition two years ago, when our Japanese class read through some of the winning articles together in class. I found the essays were well researched and well argued, and provided me with new insights into the issues faced by Japan. I thought that I would also like to enter the Competition one day. Fast forward to this year, I decided to apply this year as I both found myself with more time having entered work, and an interest in this year’s essay topic – the very important issue of attracting global resources. Further, given the increased emphasis on STEM as the driver of economic growth, within both Australia and other countries such as the United States, I thought it would be an interesting framework to examine how it could support future globalisation efforts in Japan.

Ms. Shuangyu Ma (Australia, age 25)