Yunus in Japan: Meets Rola, Bangladeshi Japanese Super Model, Launches Yunus Yoshimoto Social Action Company, Addresses Social Tech Summit and Social Business Forum Osaka

Yunus in Japan: Meets Rola, Bangladeshi Japanese Super Model, Launches Yunus Yoshimoto Social Action Company, Addresses Social Tech Summit and Social Business Forum Osaka

Yunus Raises Question “Who Would Rule The World: Human Beings or Artificial Intelligence?”

Japan's glamorous super model, actress, singer, TV personality, and author Rola came to meet Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus in his hotel while he was on a social business tour of Japan during this month. She was accompanied by her twin brother and manager. Both are Bangladeshi Japanese, born of a Bangladeshi father. She says she misses Bangladesh. They can speak halting rural Bangla and still remembers the village where they lived for the first six years of their lives. Rola wants to get more involved in social issues. She is very popular in social media, having nearly 6 million followers on Instagram. She wants to guide the young people of the world to find the right path. She wishes to be involved in social businesses around the world. She readily agreed to attend the social business Super Happiness Festival in Munich in June next year.

Professor Muhammad Yunus arrived in Tokyo on November 20, to give the keynote address at the Social Business Forum 2019, organized by Trust Corporation, a Japanese business incubator and educator organization. More than 1600 women entrepreneurs attended the lecture which was held in the Convention Centre of Tokyo.

Most of the participants came to hear how social businesses worked and to explore how they can initiate social businesses of their own. Professor Yunus highlighted the problems created by the existing theory of economics. He asked the audience to imagine what kind of world they would like to see their grandchildren inherit. He said it is our responsibility to make sure they get it. The way present system is taking us it is most likely that their grandchildren would not even survive in this planet. He said it is because wrong theory has shaped human beings wrongly. Professor Yunus answered questions from the audience after the lecture. 

On November 21, Yunus gave the keynote address at the Social Tech Summit 2019 organized by Kyushu University on the topic of “The age of artificial intelligence”. He talked about the disastrous effects of artificial intelligence on employment. Massive number of people will be pushed out of jobs in a speedy way. He quoted the finding of a study done by McKinsey which warned that nearly half a billion people will be out of jobs in the next fifteen years. Professor Yunus participated in a debate on the question whether human beings will be replaced by AI as the ruler of the planet. Professor Yunus strongly argued that there is no chance human beings can be in command of the world if AI is allowed to continue and grow precariously. He argued for strong social control over the development of AI. He said AI must not be allowed to become a curse for humanity.  

Yunus had a series of meetings with technology companies and healthcare providers of Fukuoka and later had a long interview with NHK ( He distributed prizes for winners of social business competitions. He also launched the "Social Tech Centre" initiated by technology developers of Kyushu University. 

On November 22, he was the Chief Guest at the Kansai Social Business Forum, sponsored by Yunus and Yoshimoto Social Action Company (yySA) where the theme was “A future society by social business”. It was held at Osaka Institute of Technology. 

Yoshimoto is a over 100 years old major Japanese entertainment conglomerate. It was founded in 1912, Osaka, as a traditional theatre and has since grown to be one of the most influential companies in Japan, managing over 6,000 of Japan's popular comedians.

World's leading architect Ando Tadao, who came to address the Forum and meet Professor Yunus, had a long discussion on some of the most pressing current global issues. He had keen interest in the climate crisis in Bangladesh and the necessity to work together to secure a better future for the future generations. Both agreed that present economic system must be redesigned to save the planet and mankind. 

Governor Mr. Yoshimura of Kansai prefecture attended the meeting and participated in the reception. Nearly 400 people attended the event. This was followed by a dinner hosted by Hiroi Yoshimura, Mayor of Osaka City with the executive sponsorship by 100 companies in Osaka, including the President of Expo 2025 Osaka. Professor Yunus discussed about having a Social Business Pavilion in the Expo 2025 in Osaka.

On November 23, Yunus gave the keynote speech at the Social Business Fair, sponsored by Yoshimoto’s social business, Yunus Yoshimoto Social Action (yySA) at the Headquarters of Yoshimoto in Tokyo. They have taken the initiative of creating a social business, yySA to get comedians engaged in creating social businesses in all the 47 Prefectures of Japan to create solutions to local problems. During the Fair 18 teams of comedian from 18 Prefectures presented their social business plans before Professor Yunus for his feedback. An audience of nearly 100 social business activists attended the discussions. Professor Yunus later addressed the audience and took questions. He was given a tour of the exhibition of social businesses created by the comedians, many of whom are national celebrities. 

Mr. Hiroshi Osaki, Chairman of Yoshimoto accompanied Professor Yunus almost during the entire tour of Japan, to listen and learn from all the interactions he had during the trip. He had an elaborate discussion with Professor Yunus about his future plans to promote social business in Japan.

Professor Yunus met Professor Masaharu Kan, the founder of Grameen Nippon, and its promoters and the executives of Grameen Nippon, a replication of Grameen microcredit programme in Japan which was launched last year. It is working in two locations in Tokyo and now has 200 borrowers.

On November 24, Professor Yunus launched Japan Action Tank (JAT) in a large conference organized for this occasion. JAT will aim at mobilizing Japan's large corporates to create their own social businesses. 

Japan Action Tank hopes to create a chemistry which will direct business minds to see social issues as integral part of their creative lives. It will create examples, by bringing knowledge and technology to address concrete social problems in a business way. It will show that each conventional business can run a social business as a parallel business providing enormous satisfaction to the employees and shareholders for being socially relevant.

Social business Action Tanks are operating in France, Brazil and India and are trying to offer a new direction for conventional companies. 

Professor Yunus returned to Dhaka after completing his social business tour of Japan.