About Tokyo Tech

Spring Graduation Ceremony 2012

Embrace challenges with spirit, enthusiasm, and confidence!

Congratulations to all of you who are earning your bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, and a special congratulations to those of you who came from abroad to take your degrees. This is an important accomplishment, one that you will carry with pride as you move forward in your lives and careers to contribute to the betterment of our world. Let us also congratulate your parents and express our deep gratitude for the time, effort, and resources they have dedicated to support you through your childhood and college life.

Spring Graduation Ceremony 2012

Today, we celebrate the graduation of 1,100 students with bachelor's degrees. This brings the total of graduates since Tokyo Tech became a degree-conferring university in 1929 to 57,896. We also celebrate 1,494 students graduating with master's degrees, bringing the total to 46,084 since 1955. Twenty-four students among those who completed master's programs acquired professional master's degrees, bringing this total to 242. Congratulations, too, to the 231 students receiving their doctorates. This brings the total to 9,231, or 13,314 when we include thesis-only doctorates. All of these students have displayed great potential for the future and have opened a new page in the history of the Institute.

The environment you are entering in the next stage of your life is in a constant state of flux. I am confident, however, that all of you have developed the ability to smoothly adapt to the new and changing circumstances you will encounter in the future as you apply what you have learned here at Tokyo Tech-the knowledge, methodologies, logical thinking, and the ability to identify new tasks and to respond flexibly. I am also confident that you will all play important roles as you move into your new careers, especially at companies, where you will be working alongside people from a wide variety of backgrounds and specialties.

In preparation for this, you have developed the ability to communicate and cooperate with people from different areas in a variety of projects and endeavors. More important, perhaps, is the confidence and drive you have gained to compete as leaders in our increasingly global society. I know all of you here will continue to strengthen your abilities as you play your parts on the global stage.

The 21st century has been witness to much that we could never have predicted, not only the gradual changes that have evolved over time, but also the sudden changes that instantly altered the lives of entire populations.

The rapid advance of the Internet and other information technology has made it possible for us to instantly upload videos of natural disasters and terrorism that are occurring in every corner of the globe, and this sometimes amplifies our sense of crisis, fear, and despair. The terror attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, and the terror attack on a chemical plant in Algeria where many Japanese engineers were working are examples of the almost real-time access to information and events that the Internet has given us.

Socioeconomic surprises, too, have occurred one after another. Lehman's fall four and half years ago is one of these. The economic crisis triggered by a change of government in Greece in 2009 has spread to Spain and Italy, increasing anxiety about the Euro. Last year, major home appliance manufacturers that led the global market suffered setbacks and financial difficulty. We were shocked to learn that major companies such as SHARP and Panasonic were facing fiscal peril. We now realize that we must be prepared for anything.

In such a world, the role to be played by Tokyo Tech graduates has become increasingly important, and I want all of you to realize just how much society needs your contributions. Circumstances require that you plan ahead to prepare responses to unpredictable changes, particularly in terms of your career choices. Your role is to plan for the unpredictable with courage, confidence and foresight, to consider problems without clear answers, and work in cooperation with people from different cultures to find ways to realize a sustainable society in which life is peaceful, safe, and secure.

You are all graduating from Japan's finest university in the field of science and engineering.

With this in mind, I know that all of you, those moving into the workforce and those moving on to graduate school, will take up the challenge of cultivating new value at the global level with pride and passion. Remember that I am always on your side and rooting for you.

Undergraduate and graduate program graduation ceremonies were held separately. This address is an abridged version that combines elements from both.