Japanese Students Give Their Views on the Global Crisis

  • 96 entries for International Monetary Fund student essay contest
  • Winning entries draw on personal experience of global economic crisis
  • Winners to participate in 2012 IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Tokyo
  • The top three entries, selected from 96 submissions on “Youth Perspectives on the Global Economy and the Role of the IMF,” included an essay by Daisuke Gatanaga, a chemistry student, whose winning essay drew on his personal experience of the global economic crisis, when he saw people around him lose their jobs and confront “a seemingly cold and unsympathetic market.

    “It is critical that the IMF not forget—amidst the objective numbers and data and calculations that go into monetary surveillance and analysis—that the economy affects real people, that there are real voices behind such statistics,” wrote Gatanaga.

    Recovery for youth

    Gatanaga shared top place with two fellow students: Kenji Nakada of the University of Tokyo and Tomoko Kaida of Kanazawa University. In her prize-winning essay, Kaida described her frustration and sense of helplessness at being young during an economic crisis.

    “You feel like an ‘invisible’ observer, whose interests and future are at stake, yet you cannot influence events and partake in almost any way,” she wrote, before calling on the IMF to attach a “National Youth Policy Conditionality” to its lending instruments. Governments that expect to receive IMF support should have to demonstrate “youth-friendly economic policies,” she suggested.

    The competition, organized by the IMF, the Japanese Ministry of Finance, and the Bank of Japan, was designed to offer a platform for the youth of that country to express their views on the current global situation, and serve as a reminder to the international community that decisions taken now will profoundly affect the lives of the young well into the future.

    The eight finalists of the Japanese student essay competition which attracted 96 submissions from university students from all over Japan (photo: IMF)

    Potential of Japanese youth

    “I really enjoyed the inspiring remarks and the excellent...

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