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HOME  >  About Us  >  Message from the President

About Us

Message from the President

Message from the President

The Toyota Foundation’s multifaceted grant-making activities, characterized by its far-sightedness, have been constantly changing in tune with the times.  I would like to take this opportunity to introduce our major grant-making activities in fy 2020.  To begin with, the Specific Subject program, which is in its third year and intended: to razor focus on the pressing issues of the times; to enhance the social impact; to seek a roadmap toward the problem-solving, will call for the project proposals, as in the last fiscal year, addressing the two of the contemporary issues of importance, namely: “Foreign Talents and the Japanese Society,” and “Co-Creating New Human Society with the Advanced Technologies.” 

Next, the Grant Program for Community Activities in Japan will support the projects toward a sustainable community, while attaching special importance to invigorating the localities and developing human talents.  The International Grant Program, while keeping its basic framework of mutual learning with regard to the common issues in the Asian countries, will deliberately avoid fixing its theme.  I expect that premiere projects keeping an eye out for the times would be planned flexibly and proposed.

On the other hand, the Research Grant program will pause this year. Because we have sensed its theme for the past nine years, “Exploring New Values for Society,” has already lost its cutting-edge.  Though the Research Grant program is proud of its long history, it is utterly overshadowed by the overwhelming presence of public grant-in-aid by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).  The big challenge here is how to differentiate from these dwarfing grant programs.  Therefore, we will deep dive into the aim and significance of the Foundation’s Research Grant while taking the pause.  Toward the next fiscal year, we would like to come up with the Research Grant program of the next generation, based on a novel concept.

We are going to embark upon a new initiative, “The Toyota Foundation’s Day” from this fiscal year.  It is scheduled to be held at around the Toyota Foundation’s anniversary, October 15th.  In conversing with the people from the many corners of society, I often heard they told me that the Toyota Foundation was regrettably not well-known for its highly significant challenges.  In the first half of this fiscal year, we will work hard to organize this event to share with as many as possible the kaleidoscopic stories of the Toyota Foundation’s challenge.  Also, we would like to make the best use of this opportunity to take precious pieces of advice from everyone.

The on-going worldwide crisis, fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, has uncovered the contemporary world’s characteristics unexpectedly.  The first of them is the progress of globalization.   That the endemic, started from its epicenter, Wuhan, PROC, unfolded over the globe in the blink of an eye demonstrated it eloquently.  Also, the crisis revealed that the socio-economic system is built on the premise of globalization and almost all the social activities are designed on the pre-condition of people gathering into one place.

The various countries in the world are taking measures to restrict the movement of people for containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This move gravely challenges today’s socio-economic fundamental structure presuming the free movement and assembly of people, goods, and information.  In other words, politics per se was not necessarily globalized.  In any case, amid the implementation of these restrictions, the industries involving international movements such as airline and tourism and those associated with the gathering of people such as event planners, food-service and retailers are suffering from billions in economic loss.  Moreover, a myriad of industries is indirectly impacted.  For example, my friend at a US university told me that universities dependent on international enrollment will fall into financial difficulty.  At present, there is no clear end in sight for the current crisis of pandemic.  However, the post-COVID-19 landscape will take a different shape from the one as we knew it before the outbreak.  With the change in the values in high esteem, fresh types of business will come into being and flourish.  On the other hand, with the overturn of commonsense, outdated professions and jobs will disappear.  The transformation of relations among people and social groups may trigger to remodel the fundamental socio-economic structure.  The actions promoted to contain the pandemic, such as telework, remote working, video conference, and online lecture seem to herald the transition.

Toward the next fy 2021, we will be required to incorporate the world view (“vision du monde”) over the post-COVID-19 landscape in re-shaping both the Grant Program for Community Activities in Japan and the International Grant Program.  The Toyota Foundation should be always alert to the sign of the changing times, and where appropriate, proactively present the grant-making programs.  May I respectfully request continued support and encouragement from all of you.

April 1, 2020
Dr. HANEDA Masashi
The Toyota Foundation (Public Interest Incorporated Foundation)

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