「いのち会議」とは、「いのち」とは何か、「輝く」とはどういうことか、「誰一人取り残さない」ために何をなすべきかを、あらゆる境を越えて考え、話し合い、それぞれが行動に移す場です。いのち会議 

Activity Details|General Event

On March 21, 2024 (Thursday), we held the Inochi Forum Kickoff Symposium “Inochi Forum x ‘SDGs +beyond’ – What We Need to Do Now for the Future.”

On Thursday, March 21, 2024, the Inochi Forum Kickoff Symposium “Inochi Forum x ‘SDGs +beyond’ – What We Must Do Now for the Future” was held in a hybrid format at the Keizo Saji Memorial Hall on the 10th floor of Osaka University’s Nakanoshima Center and online. A total of 120 attendees, including speakers, gathered at the venue, and 150 participants joined online. Below is an overview of the symposium.


Opening Remarks
Shojiro Nishio (President of Osaka University, Chairperson of the Inochi Forum Council)

The “Inochi Forum” aims to contribute to the promotion and achievement of the SDGs globally by discussing strategies to realize a society where “no one is left behind,” which aligns with the SDGs’ principles, and by exploring the vision of a “Future Society for All Lives” as themed by Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan. The forum proposes actions to achieve these goals.

The outcomes of these discussions will be compiled into the “Inochi Declaration” and presented to the world at the 2025 Expo in Osaka, Kansai, Japan. The promotion of the SDGs and the initiatives of the Inochi Forum align with the fundamental policies of our university.

As the Chair of the Inochi Forum Council, I will take on an even more active role in advancing these initiatives.


Message from the Expo Association
Hiroyuki Ishige (Secretary General of the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition, Member of the Inochi Forum Council)

With just over a year remaining until the opening of Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan, preparations are steadily progressing for key features such as the symbolic Grand Roof Ring and international pavilions.

Since its inception, the “Inochi Forum” has actively engaged in discussions on creating a “Future Society for All Lives.” These discussions have covered various aspects such as education, economy, and food and agriculture, with Action Platforms that include youth participation. Unlike pavilion exhibitions, these initiatives focus on dialogue and exchange, which are essential for the 21st-century Expo’s goal of seeking solutions to common challenges faced by humanity.


Purpose Explanation
Takuo Dome (Special Advisor to the President of Osaka University, Vice Chair of the Inochi Forum Executive Committee)

Currently, we live in a world where “capable lives” (those who can help) and “vulnerable lives” (those who need help) are constantly interchanging. The world we should aim for is a mutual support society where “vulnerable lives” are placed at the center, and “capable lives” extend a helping hand to support one another. “Lives” include not only humans but also other living beings and the Earth itself.

The “Inochi Forum” is a place where we transcend all boundaries to consider and discuss what “Inochi” means, what it means for all lives and what actions are necessary to ensure “no one is left behind.” Each participant is encouraged to take action based on these discussions.

The “Inochi Declaration” is an agenda that aims to demonstrate to the world what is important for realizing a “society for all lives,” focusing on the achievement of the SDGs by 2030. It also considers what should be taken into account when setting the next goals beyond the SDGs.

What we must do is first return to the concept of “Inochi” and envision the society and economy we should aim for. The question we should ask ourselves is not whether we can or cannot do something, but whether we will or will not take action.

Keynote Speech “Japan’s International Cooperation, Movements Related to Human Security & SDGs, and Expectations for the Inochi Forum”: Akihiko Tanaka (President of JICA, Member of the Inochi Forum Council)

The themes discussed at this “Inochi Forum” align with the concerns outlined in the Japanese government’s Development Cooperation Charter and are topics that JICA must also address independently.

Addressing crises arising from the complex interactions of climate systems, the global economy, and international political systems cannot be achieved without cross-border collaboration and cooperative efforts from various actors.

I hope that the vision of creating a “Future Society for All Lives” by overcoming these crises will be actively discussed at the “Inochi Forum.” The forum has a significant role in stimulating discussions on Beyond SDGs post-2030, especially using the Expo as an opportunity.

JICA operates in 96 overseas offices across 143 countries and regions, maintaining close cooperation with international organizations and national development aid agencies. We aim to bring inputs from this network into the discussions at the “Inochi Forum.”

Reflecting the voices of people from developing countries and international organizations on the theme of “Future Society for All Lives,” which is also the theme of the Expo, is crucial. We intend to listen carefully to the voices of children and people living in developing countries who cannot directly participate in discussions or events. These insights will be gathered through JICA representatives worldwide and incorporated into the discussions at the “Inochi Forum.”

With six years remaining in the SDG implementation period, JICA, alongside the Japanese government, will accelerate activities to achieve the SDG goals. The activities of the “Inochi Forum” will also provide pivotal and essential insights for the ongoing promotion of the SDGs. As a member of the Council, I am committed to advancing these efforts.

Presentation 1: “Summit of the Future Our Common Agenda: Toward the Future Summit for Strengthening Multilateralism – From the Perspective of the Second Half of SDG Implementation” by Kaoru Nemoto (Director, United Nations Information Centre)

The initiatives of the “Inochi Forum,” centered on the core SDG principle of “leaving no one behind,” strongly resonate with me. There is significant potential for collaboration between the United Nations and the “Inochi Forum.”


Last year marked the midpoint of the SDG implementation period, but only 15% of the data-backed targets are on track. According to the latest Human Development Index (HDI) released by UNDP, while it seems that the impact of COVID-19 is being overcome, progress has stalled or even regressed in vulnerable countries.


In this context, the SDG Summit held last year included six High Impact Initiatives and SDG stimulus measures (funding) in its outcome document, but strong multilateralism is essential for their success. To address the threats and crises that we and future generations will face, “Our Common Agenda” was compiled. This year, based on this agenda, the United Nations “Summit of the Future” will be held in September, aiming to ensure more robust SDG implementation and address issues that the SDGs alone cannot solve.

Presentation 2: “Corporate Initiatives and Roles for Achieving a Future Society for All Lives and the SDGs” by Keiji Sumimoto (Representative Director, Kansai Economic Federation, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Inochi Forum Council)

In the past, the banking industry was considered a social infrastructure that inherently contributed to society. However, now, the entire corporate sector is expected to contribute to society, with an additional emphasis on creating value beyond that.

As stakeholders in corporate value, customers, shareholders, and employees are now joined by society, making the provision of social value, alongside economic value, a purpose of corporate activities.

At the recently held Kansai Business Community Seminar, which was attended by 580 participants, one of the subcommittee discussions focused on what businesses can do to contribute to a “Future Society for All Lives.”

Businesses need to collaborate not only within their own industries but also with government, academia, and citizens. As the Kansai Economic Federation, we are committed to providing opportunities and insights for businesses to contribute to solving social issues through their core operations. We are confident that the discussions at the “Inochi Forum” will stimulate and enhance such corporate activities.

Presentation 3: “Global Frameworks and Our Lives – Movements of Civil Society in the Health and Medical Fields” by Kiyoko Ikegami (Chairperson of Plan International Japan, Executive Director of the Asian Population and Development Association, Inochi Forum Council)

The most important concept in the SDGs is “Leave No One Behind,” and NGOs work closely with vulnerable people who are often left behind, such as refugees in Somaliland and children or women at risk of child marriage.


Health is not only about physical well-being but also about mental health and the ability to thrive socially and authentically. This holistic approach to health is something I want to propose to the “Inochi Forum.”
The roles of civil society include: (1) understanding the current situation and disseminating information as civil society organizations and individuals, (2) collaborating with the media (people need to be informed to act, and knowing is the first step to action), and (3) advocating policies that uphold global perspectives and essential principles as common ideals of civil society.


The key common principles are: (1) Peace, as without peace, support for education and healthcare cannot be effective, (2) Fairness, recognizing the difference between equality and fairness, and (3) Being human-centered.
Under these principles, NGOs and civil society should work for all stakeholders.

Presentation 4: “Ama-cho* Has It All: Overview of Ama-cho, International Cooperation Efforts, and Perspectives on the SDGs from Ama-cho” by Yasuhiro Kawazoe (Glocal Coordinator, Special Task for Community Development in Ama-cho, Shimane Prefecture)

(*Ama-cho is a town located on Nakanoshima, in Oki District, Shimane Prefecture, Japan.)

Ama-cho faces challenges such as population decline, an extremely low birth rate and aging population, severe financial difficulties, and a shortage of workforce. These issues are not unique to Ama-cho but are also global challenges, making the town a microcosm of broader societal issues.

To address these challenges, the town has focused on: (1) creating jobs that leverage local resources, and (2) recruiting young people who want to pursue their dreams on the island, such as engaging in agriculture, fishing, tourism promotion, enhancing education, and starting businesses. The town administration supports these young people in their efforts to develop the community.

One example of problem-solving is the introduction of community-based learning at a nearly closed prefectural high school, involving the entire community in efforts to address local issues, which has helped reverse the population decline trend.

Utilizing the Regional Revitalization Cooperation Program, Ama-cho established the “Adult Island Study Program” in 2021, welcoming many young people. Starting in April 2024, 100 young individuals are expected to join.

As part of creating an attractive town, Ama-cho also engages in international exchange. Since 2016, the town has hosted JICA training, pre-dispatch training for Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), and international exchange programs related to the Expo, forming a learning community involving the entire town.

Moving forward, there is a need to shift from urban-centric values to a reevaluation of rural values, emphasizing relationships, co-creation, empathy, and visible personal connections. This is also important for achieving the SDGs.

Ama-cho’s slogans, “Convenience is not necessary,” “Everything essential for human life is here,” and “If it doesn’t exist, create it,” reflect important principles relevant to modern society.

Presentation 5: “Meaningful Youth Participation and Commitment to Achieving a Future Society for All Lives and the SDGs” by Nicola Kawawa (Policy Advocacy Department, Japan Youth Platform for Sustainable Society (JYPS), Tohoku University Faculty of Law)

I have a personal interest in social issues such as the environment, poverty, inequality, politics, and gender discrimination. I believe that those who recognize societal problems have a duty to work towards solving them. Therefore, I want to engage in discussions and activities with people who aim to bring about social change.

The “Japan Youth Platform for Sustainable Society (JYPS),” to which I belong, serves as a platform to aggregate youth voices and convey them to the government, UN agencies, and civil society.

Although youth participation is now being advocated, there are still not enough opportunities for youth to engage in policy-making. Even when participation is allowed, it often becomes superficial or uses youth as a front for publicity (youth-washing), raising doubts about whether youth opinions are treated equally or actually reflected in policy decisions. Institutional guarantees of meaningful participation are necessary to ensure that raising our voices can lead to social change.

The strengths of youth lie in their ability to communicate without constraints and their imaginative capacity to envision a distant future. Our generation has the opportunity to realize a world that we believe would be ideal. However, in Japan, the environment surrounding youth is harsh, with high rates of relative poverty among children, high suicide rates, and low voter turnout in elections, resulting in limited influence. Therefore, “meaningful participation” is essential, not just mere participation.

It is not about creating generational conflict or simply wanting our voices to be heard. It is about working together, hand in hand, with diverse members of society, including youth, to realize the SDG goal of “leaving no one behind.” Solidarity through discussions and collective action is crucial.

Panel Discussion

Discussion Point 1: What is a “Future Society for All Lives”?

Nemoto:

  • The concept of “life” should be broadly understood, extending beyond biological life to include aspects like life purpose, well-being, and living conditions. Ensuring human rights is fundamental to designing future society for all lives. This core principle should be central to the discussions at the “Inochi Forum.”
  • Happiness derived from the concept of “knowing contentment” is important. It is crucial to consider how to measure natural capital and spiritual wealth, which cannot be gauged by GDP alone. This approach should guide global discussions, including at the “Summit of the Future.”

Sumimoto:

  • At the Kansai Business Community Seminar, there were diverse opinions on what it means for all lives, including the dignity of life and having a community that recognizes one’s existence.
  • Since the Industrial Revolution, the global prioritization of the economy has neglected social values, resulting in environmental destruction, poverty, and inequality. We are at a turning point where we need to reconsider what happiness means for people.
  • Two critical points: first, placing humans at the center of considerations; second, recognizing that peace is the foundation for everything.

Ikegami:

  • Peace and ensuring the health and well-being of every individual are prerequisites for a “Future Society for All Lives.”
  • The concept of health has evolved from tropical medicine to Global Health and now to Planetary Health, emphasizing the importance of a society where all life forms can coexist.

Kawazoe:

  • Building a society where relationships are visible, and there is room for interaction and engagement is important. It is not about negating urban values but about the coexistence of urban and rural values.
  • It is crucial to support the creation of communities where young people can freely express their creativity.

Kawawa:

  • For a 20-year-old, 2030 is not a distant future but rather the present. Given the global challenges, including in Japan, we need to reconsider what a society that “leaves no one behind” truly means.
  • On a micro level, it is important to broaden our perspective to recognize and empathize with the voices around us.

Nemoto:

  • Action, not just rhetoric, is essential. In Japan, there is a tendency for grand announcements without visible results. It is important to speak and act within our sphere of influence to achieve tangible outcomes. Collectively, these actions can transform society.

Sumimoto:

  • With the rise of remote work, urban and rural areas no longer have to be in conflict. Increasing the number of people involved in regional interactions is crucial for thinking about and practicing the “Future Society for All Lives.”
  • Regarding intergenerational conflicts, I always encourage members of my association to think about the future of their children and grandchildren. This perspective helps to internalize social issues and align current generations with future ones.

Kawazoe:

  • When discussing with children, there is a strong desire to preserve existing communities and natural resources. This sense of personal connection is a powerful motivator.

Ikegami:

  • The issue of an aging population is also a result of human achievements (choices). In the context of declining birth rates, the message for realizing a “society for all lives” needs to be carefully crafted. There is a debate about whether we can solve or need to address the declining birthrate from a different perspective to realize such a society.

Kawazoe:

  • The declining birthrate is a result of various interconnected issues, such as education and welfare. However, there are also promising examples, such as community cultures that collaboratively raise and watch over children.

Kawawa:

  • If the issue of declining birthrates arises from individual choices, we cannot build a “society for all lives.” As a society, we need to consider how to support each other and increase individual choices.

Ikegami:

  • The 1974 population estimates already indicated a declining population scenario, yet no policy choices were made. We have continued with the mindset that no action or choice is needed. To achieve a “society for all lives,” we need to make a resolute decision at some point.

Discussion Point 2: What Are the Necessary Concepts and Actions to Build a “Future Society for All Lives”?

Kawawa:

  • A society where “raising your voice can lead to change” is crucial. Running for office and voting should not be the only means of creating change. Education and information dissemination that teach people how their voices can be reflected in society are necessary.

Kawazoe:

  • In Ami-machi, town executives regularly listen to the voices of the people. It is important for stakeholders to listen to various people’s voices. It is crucial to create companions, discover value within the community, and nurture people who take on challenges.

Ikegami:

  • Three key points: collaboration with civil society, ensuring fairness (especially regarding gender and the environment), and building sustainable politics and systems.

Sumimoto:

  • I would like to emphasize two points. First, it is essential to consider things from a human-centered perspective. In business management, there is a growing understanding that human capital management—viewing people not as “costs” but as “assets” and maximizing their value—enhances corporate value in the medium to long term and helps solve social issues.
  • Second, it is crucial to internalize social issues. By adopting a mindset of mutual assistance and starting with what each person can do, a significant momentum can be generated.

Nemoto:

  • Based on the idea of “helping each other in times of need,” we should aim for a positive-sum outcome through mutual support, rather than a zero-sum one. It is important to seriously address long-term issues such as environmental problems and the aging population with a low birth rate.
  • Not only should we convey a sense of urgency, but also present solutions and provide close-to-home examples that give people hope and a sense of effectiveness.

Messages

Nemoto:

  • “Think globally, act locally.” I hope that the discussions at the “Inochi Forum” will lead to practical actions.

Sumimoto:

  • By bringing together diverse people for discussions, I hope the “Inochi Forum” becomes a place that fosters and nurtures empathy.

Ikegami:

  • I expect everyone to work hard to expand their networks and involve more people.

Kawazoe:

  • It is crucial to cultivate individuals who keep a global perspective while contributing to their local communities.

Kawawa:

  • It is important to establish inclusive platforms for exchanging ideas to ensure that “no one is left behind.” We must act on our words to realize a society for all lives.

Dome:

  • Drawing a vision and finding methods to achieve it is important. Even though the future may be uncertain, I feel confident that we can walk the long path ahead. Today, I reaffirmed our commitment to expanding our reach and inviting more people as we continue on this journey.

Closing Address
Manabu Tanaka (Executive Vice President, Osaka University, “Inochi Forum” Executive Committee)

In this symposium, the importance of considering issues as “personal matters” for achieving the goals of Expo 2025 and the SDGs by 2030 has been highlighted. The accumulation of small actions, empathy, and solidarity can create a significant movement that prevents us from postponing challenges.
As the world faces crises, the activities of the “Inochi Forum” hold crucial significance. Moving forward, we aim to collaborate with a diverse range of actors, including youth, to address these issues.