ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Milestone

UN's new man in Japan wants to build bridges with business

World body's think tank taps professor with penchant for tackling global issues

TOKYO -- A University of Tokyo professor appointed to help run a United Nations think tank aims to "connect" the world body with corporate Japan. 

Professor Taikan Oki

Taikan Oki, 52, in October was named senior vice-rector of the United Nations University, a global think tank and postgraduate education center headquartered in central Tokyo. Oki is younger than his predecessors and is the first active university professor to hold the post.

The U.N. seeks to collaborate with companies and investors, in order to tap private money for its missions -- from the Sustainable Development Goals initiative to the Paris Agreement on climate change that took effect in early November. 

Businesses, meanwhile, are increasingly recognizing that it is in their own long-term interest to tackle global challenges like poverty and pollution. Oki says his mission involves helping corporate Japan grasp the rapid changes sweeping the world.

Spanning fields and borders

As a boy, Oki loved science and idolized physicist Hideki Yukawa, the first Japanese Nobel laureate. In elementary school, Oki wrote in an essay that he, too, would one day win the Nobel Prize in physics. His interests later expanded to the humanities. In college, he decided to major in civil engineering, which draws on a mix of disciplines. 

Oki has been studying how water circulates in the ocean and the atmosphere. Scientists say accelerating global warming is beginning to affect this pattern across the planet.

As part of his international work, Oki helped draw up measures to cope with climate change in Thailand, which is prone to severe flooding. His eagerness to venture beyond academia, and across national boundaries, made him a prime candidate for the U.N. University post.

Though he has his hands full with two jobs, he is relishing the opportunity to get an insider's view of a sprawling international organization. "I'm interested in how societies or organizations function," he said.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends January 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more