Professor Reiko Gotoh, of the Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, welcomed Professor Amartya Sen when he arrived at Narita International Airport in the morning of June 1, 2003. The original plan was for Professor Sen to arrive at Kansai International Airport from London, as a meeting had been scheduled for the afternoon of June 1. We hoped also to hold a small-scale daytime workshop limited to people associated with the university, on June 4, the day booked for the flight home. However, the number of flights arriving at and departing from Kansai International Airport had fallen substantially, due to the Iraq War and the SARS outbreak. It is most regrettable that the necessity of traveling via Narita Airport shortened Professor Sen's time in Japan.
Despite the short duration of the visit, the yield was considerable. In the Shinkansen train to Kyoto, after meeting at Narita International Airport, Professor Sen and Professor Gotoh questioned each other on the details of Professor Sen's speech and Professor Gotoh's report. In fact, they were able to hold a workshop. After arrival at the hotel in Kyoto, Professor Sen and university people combined dinner with review and confirmation of the timetable for the symposium scheduled for the following day. At the same time, on an issue associated with the symposium theme, we engaged in freewheeling conversation on the possibilities for democracy in Turkey, Africa and other non-Western nations.
The international symposium "Publicness towards the 21st Century" was held on June 2, with Professor Sen as the keynote speaker. (Please refer to the attached material.) About 2,000 people took part. This symposium commemorated establishment within Ritsumeikan University in April 2003 of the Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, an independent graduate school not affiliated with other university faculties. The Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences is a new kind of graduate school that runs research and education projects based on four themes-Publicness, Symbiosis, Life and Representation. Because the research work undertaken by Professor Sen extends over many fields and involves perspectives of diverse issues, it is linked with each of these four themes. However, it is pivotal particularly to the Publicness project now in progress - < Publicness in the 21st Century >. Therefore, as the Project Administrator and a researcher of Sen's Theory, Professor Reiko Gotoh was invited to give the welcome address and to serve as coordinator for the international symposium.
Allow me to give a brief summary of the content of the symposium. To date, Professor Sen has been invited to numerous international symposiums held in Japan. However, these occasions have leaned towards passive listening to lectures by Professor Sen as a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Science. In contrast, the objective of this symposium is the practical application and further development of Professor Sen's theory. Accordingly, this symposium features real discussion involving Professor Sen and Japanese research students, graduate students and undergraduates.
Basing his keynote address on the theme "Democracy and social justice - The range of public reason," Professor Sen clarified the theory behind conditions required for formation of democracy, speaking in terms of historical context. The main pillars of the address were as follows. (1) In the implementation of democracy supported by the public reason of each individual, recognition is given to the importance of freedom of expression, mutual freedom of action and freedom of participation in politics, among other civil and political rights, as well as the importance of economic and social rights, such as assurance of basic capability. (2) Although the institutionalization of rights may not necessarily follow the recognition of the importance of rights, it does generate demand for changing the predominant environment that prevents institutionalization of rights. (3) Despite there is no direct linkage to the infringement of rights, appeal for assistance can be made to other people who are in a position to help, and to people who are considered able to take appropriate action. (4) Regarding analytic clarification of democracy and rights, there is a need for affirming the important contribution of the social choice theory and reformulating it in the light of public reason. (5) The implementation of democracy based on this manner of public reason is a historical fact that can be observed not just in western societies, but also in all parts of the world.
In the following address, Reiko Gotoh spoke on the theme: "Understanding Sen's Idea of a Coherent Goals-Rights System in the Light of Political Liberalism " In this context, Professor Gotoh discussed on the perspective of Sen's Theory regarding the way of a balance between the conflicting elements of public welfare and individual rights. Professor Gotoh began with reinterpreting Sen's concept of "freedom" as differing from the conventional understanding of it . According to her, It has a wide sense meaning such as "Living one's own life that has a reason to value " She clarified the point that achieving this state requires institutionalization of civil and political rights, as well as economic and social rights. Next, Professor Gotoh focused on the social choice theory and capability approach developed by Professor Sen. Based on the broad understanding of the consequential results, this approach makes possible the attainment of a balance of general concerns in rights-based consideration,and the public interest of well-beings. While making good use of the theoretical tools of neo-classical economics, this approach shows one of the theoretical attainments in Professor Sen's endeavors to develop the framework of economics into studies that make a real contribution to human lifestyles.
Meanwhile, the panelists focused upon a number of issues from diverse perspectives: (1) How to construct political and economic systems required for the practical functioning of a democratic system based on public reason. (2) How to apply the capability approach to problems of poverty in Asia. (3) How to clarify the relationship between the Imperfect obligation and corresponding non-institutionalization of rights in the sense of not committing to injustice. (4) How to clarify the logic and contents of promoting the achievement of economic and social rights. From the perspectives of differing specialist fields, the panelists shed additional light on Professor Sen's theories, aiming at further development. Regarding comments by panelists, time constraints and other factors prevented full discussion. Even so, we are aiming to elucidate these through interdisciplinary research within Japan and in joint research with Professor Sen continuing into next year, as well as in debate and application at places of education and research.
(Please refer also to attached materials and Kyoto Shinbun articles.)
6. Contributions by invited researchers to associated institutions
(Stimuli for young researchers & internationalization of associated institutions@as a whole)
One facet of the Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences project referred to earlier - < Publicness in the 21st Century > - is a series of "Interdisciplinary Research Conferences on Sen's Theory." This was launched in April 2003 with Professor Reiko Gotoh at the helm. Details are outlined below.
"The 1st Interdisciplinary Research Conference on Sen's Theory"
Session 1 - < How can Amartya Sen's latent potential approach be applied? The problem of poverty among minority groups in Vietnam >
(Yukio Ikemoto : University of Tokyo, Institute of Oriental Culture)
Session 2 - < Sen as a Summum Malum Thinker>
(Ryoju Wakamatsu : Seijo University)
"The 2nd Interdisciplinary Research Conference on Senfs Theory"
Session 1 - < Poverty and the Capability Approach >
(Oka Keinosuke : Doctoral Course, Ritsumeikan University)
Session 2 - < Need and the public domain >
(Ryo Yamamori : Tokyo Metropolitan University )
Session 3 - < Poverty in Africa and the Capability Approach >
(Yoichi Mine: Chubu University)
In addition to graduate and undergraduate students from Ritsumeikan University, these research activities included researchers and graduate students from Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe and elsewhere. As many as 100 people gathered for preliminary workshops leading up to the symposium. These events generated intense and far-reaching discussion. There is no doubt the research workshops proved stimulating to young researchers.
The extent of Professor Sen's intellectual influence is clear from the participation of some 2,000 people on the day of the international symposium. Responses to a questionnaire completed by participants in the international symposium included fresh awareness of various concepts, for example, "introduction to new perspectives of democracy such as awareness that democratic thinking did not arise in the West alone / esteem for human rights was the starting point for welfare / stimulation of thinking on fresh perspectives of problems and issues raised by Professor Sen, such as the close relationship between publicness and lives of individuals / plans to apply some of the ideas to individual research."
The specialized fields being researched by Professor Sen are not limited simply to economic science. Because his research delves into politics, philosophy, ethics, sociology, historical science and other fields, undergraduate and graduate students may well be bewildered over which problem viewpoints and which approaches are best suited for practical application of Sen's Theory. Therefore, by inviting opinion from researchers involved in environmental economics, developmental economics, law philosophy, sociology and other specialized areas, the international symposium was able to show possibilities for specific approaches, providing considerable stimuli particularly to Masters Course and Doctoral Course students.
Furthermore, on this occasion, Ritsumeikan University presented Professor Amartya Sen with an Honorary Doctorate. (Attached Unitas materialj The research group "Applied Research of Sen's Theory" will continue activities within the framework of the project < Publicness towards the 21st Century >, and plans are being drawn for another research workshop with Professor Sen in the next academic year.
Finally, We wish to express our gratitude to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for their help in enabling us to invite Professor Sen to this valuable international symposium.
Professor Reiko Gotoh is preparing an article (about 4,000 wordsjgiving an outline of the lectures and discussions taking place during the symposium, for the October Edition of Economic Seminars. Two lectures, by Professor Sen and Professor Gotoh, two latest theses by Professor Sen, and the latest thesis by Professor Gotoh are to be published as one volume by University of Tokyo Press. The publication will include a note acknowledging support received from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, which made it possible for us to invite Professor Sen to the symposium. A copy will be presented to the Society upon release.