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Leadership and Mental Wellness

On the day we met we learned that 240,000 children in Japan don't go to school. Youth have lost their dreams and courage to pursue their destinies. Many adults and elderly are also separated from society and suffer from isolation, loneliness and related mental conditions.

The US Japan Council, led by Dr Gerald Hane and Ms Haruka Kokaze brought together some people who are leading these efforts. I moderated a panel showing what is being done and how much more needs to be done: Mr Makihara in government policy, Rev Daiko Matsuyama in religion, Dr Tazuko Shibusawa in mental health, and Mr Koki Ozora in crisis care.

I was reminded of how fortunate I am to work with young people in the US and Japan who tell me that adults are not doing enough to make a world in which they feel seen, listened to, valued, cared for, and safe. Their message is to wake up and see the violence and emptiness of the world we have created, each of us doing what we can to change it--now.

Though it's sad to know how many people suffer, it is heartening to be with people doing good work in so many ways to address the poor mental wellness of the people in Japan. We need to create heartful communities where people come together in shared vulnerability and humility, gathering the courage to work in harmony to leave a better world for our children and grandchildren.

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