BBC World Questions Tokyo: Public Debate at Keio University
October 10, 2019
On the evening of October 2, 2019, an episode of BBC World Questions, a popular radio series, was recorded at Keio University’s Mita Campus. The audience listened intently and engaged with the panel who discussed some of the biggest challenges facing Japan today, including widening wealth disparities in an aging society, the effects of the recent consumption tax hike on the economy, and foreign labour and immigration policy. Other topics touched upon during the debate included keeping one’s own surname after marriage, Japan’s position on the protests in Hong Kong, Japan’s right to collective self-defense, and the Rugby World Cup.
The panel consisted of Keio University’s Professor Sayuri Shirai, Rui Matsukawa of the Liberal Democrat Party and member of the House of Councillors in the Diet, Senator Hiroe Makiyama of the Constitutional Democratic Party and also a member of the House of Councillors in the Diet, and Roland Kelts, author of the critically acclaimed bestseller "Japanamerica."
The North Building Hall on Keio University Mita Campus was filled to capacity, with over 200 audience members, from high school and university students to curious members of the public.
Keio University has long encouraged these kinds of open debates. The university’s founder Yukichi Fukuzawa had Japan’s first public speaking hall, known as the Enzetsu-kan, built on Mita Campus in 1875 in order to encourage people, who at the time were feudal subjects, to openly express their views and opinions.