Chairman Sasakawa's Speech at Hanoi for WMU Alumni
I feel my heart racing whenever a shop assistant approaches me with "May I help you?" and end up leaving the store. I also cannot dine
alone. Therefore, apart from books, everything else I wear or use is chosen by my wife. In other words, for 53 years, I've followed my
wife's lead, always answering "yes" and obediently complying. I believe that the key to a harmonious household, as many of you may
also experience, lies in obediently following your wife's instructions, refraining from arguing, and simply saying "yes." And that "yes" must come from the heart. There's a saying that "there are no heroes in the eyes of a wife," meaning that no matter how impressive one's titles or accomplishments may be outside, to a wife, one is just an ordinary man. It's important not to forget this.

Today, amidst your busy schedules, I've heard that some of you have traveled all the way from Ho Chi Minh City. It's truly a pleasure to meet all of you, and I'm delighted to hear about the contributions you're making. Since last year, when I saw the photo of everyone gathered, I had been looking forward to meeting you all. Unexpectedly, I received the opportunity to visit Vietnam much sooner than I had anticipated, and I'm very glad to finally meet you. We aim to meet WMU graduates from around the world, but Vietnam stands out as the most active and densely populated country where alumni have strong bonds, and for that, I'm grateful.

As you know, WMU, where you graduated from, has become one of the world's leading universities, thanks to your wonderful student life and dedication to learning. As you are aware, a Filipino graduate was appointed as President of WMU, receiving high praise from the Swedish government, and leading to the establishment of a doctoral program. Graduates like yourselves have expanded beyond maritime work to address global issues such as oceans, climate change, acidification, and plastic pollution. Consequently, we established the Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute with an investment of $100 million, attracting researchers from around the world. As mentioned earlier, WMU's international presence has grown significantly. I hope you take pride in the fact that your efforts have contributed to the growth of this excellent university.

The reason for my visit to Vietnam this time is partly due to the visit of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan a few years ago, as well as the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership between Japan and Vietnam, agreed upon by both governments. Additionally, The
Nippon Foundation has been active in your country for over 40 years. Our lifelong work in eliminating leprosy, distributing free medicine, and almost eliminating the disease thanks to your efforts, is something I fondly remember. However, unfortunately, the disease still persists in many parts of the world. Among all diseases, leprosy is the only one that causes sufferers to be abandoned by their families, and even after recovery, they face discrimination and are forced to live in colonies. To address this situation, I symbolically climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to kick off efforts to eliminate leprosy in Africa. At 85 years old, as a first-degree disabled person, I've applied to Guinness World Record for this achievement.

Furthermore, in your country, we have provided prosthetic limbs to 60,000 wounded soldiers affected by war, as well as educational support for young people with disabilities such as the deaf and visually impaired. I believe our support amounts to a total of $30 million. With the comprehensive strategic partnership between your country and Japan, we believe that not only political and economic realms but also organizations engaged in humanitarian activities like ours are included.

I visited your country with the future in mind, aiming to strengthen relations between Japan and your country at the grassroots level. Last
night, I was invited to a dinner hosted by the former President of Vietnam, Mr. Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, a global leader. We had a very intimate
conversation in a homely atmosphere. I also agreed with the Minister of Defense to sign an MOU on exchange programs between your military
and the Japan Self-Defense Forces. I had forward-looking discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister as well. Tomorrow, I plan to participate in a ceremony with the Minister of Education and Training to enhance education for children with disabilities and ethnic minority children. It's about a five-hour drive one way, and I've packed rubber boots and rain gear in my suitcase because the roads are rough. However, it's an experience I'm looking forward to as I'll have the opportunity to meet children in those areas.

Although my visit to Vietnam has been fulfilling with various discussions, what makes me happiest is that all of you, who have maintained relationships for a long time, have gathered even from afar. I had hoped to invite you all for a meal, but due to time constraints, I apologize for only having you gather without reciprocating. Nonetheless, I'm delighted to see your energetic spirits and hear about your remarkable achievements in various fields, including marriage with fellow WMU alumni. Having just turned 85, I hope to continue deepening our friendships. Of course, I understand that not everyone could attend due to work commitments, so please convey my regards to them, and I also hope to convey that we are all doing well on our end.

I look forward to meeting you again soon. Thank you very much!