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Noboru Maruyama Speech at 2006 Uehiro-Carnegie-Oxford Workshop

December 8, 2006

Carnegie Council Speech 2006

Noboru Maruyama
General Secretary, The Uehiro Foundation

Dr. Joel Rosenthal, and distinguished participants, I would to like to say a few words on behalf of the three hosts in closing this significant conference with the theme of "Free Trade, Fair Trade, and Sustainable Trade: The Case of Resource Extraction."

Standing here in front of you reminds me of the first joint conference on ethics and education in the United States and Japan, which was held on December 8, 1990, exactly 16 years ago.

Dr. Robert Myers, the former president of Carnegie Council and Dr. Joel Rosenthal, the current president, have generously guided us as mentors with their philosophy and management experience. Without their meticulous tutorship, our Foundation would not be what it is today. The relationship between Carnegie and Uehiro has been an ideal model of a very reliable partnership not only in the United States and Japan but also in the international community.

After 16 years of faithful collaboration, we are now sharing the same conviction that we can work together for the betterment of the world by advancing ethical awareness of the world citizenry.

Four years ago, a remarkable event, which made our relationship more firm and solid, occurred after the Uehiro Foundation set up a professorship on practical ethics at University of Oxford. Prof. Julian Savulescue, as Uehiro Chair and director of Oxford Uehiro Center, has made enormous contributions to the past joint conferences on environmental ethics, bioethics, and information ethics in these three years.

Thanks to the academic resources of the University of Oxford and the international reputation of the Carnegie Council, we have been able to provide the conference tables with unique and high quality theoretical discussions on various ethical issues of the current times.

Today and yesterday, we have observed a workshop with most excellent academics and professional experts of world trade and its related issues. This is a very exceptional conference thanks to participation of all of you here.

We owe realization of this gathering to genuine leadership of Dr. Rosenthal, Devin Stewart, and the Carnegie Council staff. Let us thank them again for their hard work to make this opportunity happen for us.

Three weeks ago, I hosted a symposium in Japan at Inuyama Castle, which is approximately 400 years old. The City of Inuyama was very close to Nagoya, the third largest city in Japan or the City of Toyota where Toyota Automobile Industry was born and been developed into a world business corporations.

Talking about the region of Nagoya, there was a revolutionist named Oda Nobunaga in the middle of the 16th Century. I believe that he is completely unknown to all of you here. While young, he was a mere local feudal lord in Nagoya region. With his pioneering spirit, however, he gradually moved forward to a political position to look for the opportunity to unify Japan, which was governed by countless local federal lords.

I would like to refer to the two of his great achievements, which were reported to the Vatican by Jesuit missionaries as historical documents.

First, he was successful in destroying the medieval social system by depriving radical Buddhist organizations of their military power and political power for taxation. He never deprived them of the freedom of religion. We Japanese people owe our domestic peace for these four hundred years to Nobunaga’s firm determination that he made in the middle of the 16th Century.

The second is concerned with free trade. He was a pioneer who put free trade policy into practice in larger scale in his domain. His policy was called Rakuichi Rakuza, which meant giving freedom to the market and depriving temples and shrines, which imposed many taxes, of resources. In medieval times, markets were bound by many regulations and taxes, causing stagnation of distribution.

Oda Nobunaga abolished duties on the items sold and purchased in the markets. No one except a few could think of penetrating such economic policy in the medieval age of Japan. He in return received enormous profits by giving freedom to the market. This has enabled him to attract excellent people of various professions and good quality merchandise to his domain.

It is said that his success in commercial policy of Rakuichi Rakuza enabled him to create a big city like Gifu or Azuchi. They became the primitive forms of big cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya with castles at the center and markets at the fringe.

As I am a layman in your specialized field of word trade, I cannot express how grateful we are for your fruitful discussions in this conference. Nevertheless, I would like to ask you to keep in mind the name of Oda Nobunaga, the first Japanese leader who courageously gave thought to providing freedom to the markets, which had been suffering from heavy burden of duties on commodities and transactions.

I would like to close my speech with the words of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. He said in his inaugural speech in 1961:

To those people in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

The agreement establishing the WTO commits its member states to a variety of noble objectives: Improved standard of living, full employment, expanded production of and trade in goods and services, sustainable development, and an enhanced share of developing countries in world trade. It is my understanding that the WTO has been contributing to realization of President Kennedy’s above-mentioned pledge.

Recalling Oda Nobunaga’s execution of his trade policy and Kennedy’s speech, I remember the poem that a Hike poet named Matuso Basho loved during his life in the 18th Century. That is, "Aspire not for the footprints of the predecessors but aspire for what the predecessors aspired for." I have also treasured this poem as Japanese substitute for a Greek word Phronesis.

I would like to expect all of you to make further contributions to constructing a free world with free trade, serving the welfare of mankind. Thank you very much for your participation. I wish you a good journey back home.

Read More: Economy, Trade, Japan, United States, Asia, Americas

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