#Series 39
“Design your own social safety net”

VIDEO: Opening and Talk (Part 1)

At the beginning of the session, I thanked Lifenet Company and welcomed the participants including some Lifenet staff members. I then explained my recent activities including watching Republican National Convention for the US Presidential election and the meeting with the member of the board of the World Economic Forum.
I explained how the world has been very unstable full of uncertainties. They include the recent Brexit referendum and the nomination of D. Trump, very unusual candidate for the US president. I shared the discussion earlier about the surge of populist movement as a response to uncertainties throughout the world and the fact that Japan and Canada are the only countries with political stability for now, as major elections are expected among the other members of G7.
That is my way of explaining the background of the topic of the session, “Designing your social safety net”. As there is so much uncertainty and geopolitical turmoil throughout the world, “totally unpredicted outcome” may result.
After my explanation for about 7 minutes, I asked the participants to recall the experience they encountered themselves which they had NOT predicted. I asked them to share them with the members of the group.
After sharing, Goki Omata of Lifenet made a presentation for about 15 minutes. He explained the situation around social security in the ageing society of Japan, how the government is faced with shortage of funds and companies and communities have become important entities to think of the unit of social safety net.
He then introduced the company, Lifenet, start- up with innovative strategy and manifest, as well as interesting concept from Okinawa.
Last several minutes, I explained two topics for the breakout sessions. 1) design your own social safety net by identifying the elements needed for social safety net, either current you or you in the future. 2) Pick up the situation of the people such as single parent, single elderly household, etc. and design the social safety net for them.

VIDEO: Presentations and Closing (Part 2)

After the breakout session for some 50 minutes, 6 groups reported back what they discussed. It was interesting, first of all, what kind of situations/context they chose. Situations selected to design social safety net included:
1. One for single people like participants
2. Parents with handicapped children
3. Man in 40s or so who had stroke, now going through rehabilitation in his own house where he lives by himself
5. Single parent with children

I asked them to design social safety net in a creative, innovative manner,and here are some of the ideas they came up with.
Common elements are:
1. To design the community with people facing similar issues, with people of diverse background and issues, etc.
The objective is to avoid isolation, no opportunity to share their issues, challenges.
Ideal design would be based upon diversity and mix of different generation, people etc. so that their life can be exciting and not too much of one group (elderly living in senior residence near universities, rather than senior citizens only)
To have advance/long term planning, so that we are somewhat prepared (in particular for single parents, parents with handicapped children etc. as they have limited time to take care of their children)
Format can be a share house, group housing, community housing in the local areas rather than cities etc.
2. Use SNS, IT extensively to keep connection
3. Make sure financial and other support is available so that they can survive

Some interesting, creative ideas include:
1. Make avatar of yourself so that you can live a completely different life,
2. Make iPhone/iPad apps Pokemon Go like? to keep track of your activities
3. Find CEO/leaders well known/celebrities who are LGBT and encourage them to do coming out as they have strong influential power
4. Make uniforms at schools universal, or many kinds other than girls and boys only as one attempt to get at Education

At the end, I introduced our next sessions—AI at NEC on September 9 and AGI at Dwango on November 3 as bigger event. I also introduced my last auction item of “Spending several days in British Columbia”, Get-together/reunion in New York City and Yoko’s bar arrangement.
We are very grateful to the people at Lifenet Insurance who gave us the opportunity to think about this important but often overlooked issue of social safety net to lead our life. In particular, we thank Nakata san who gave us comment at the end and Omata san for his presentation.

VIDEO: After Session (Part 3)

After the session, I interviewed two people. (each in Japanese and in English)
The first interview was with Goki Omata, presenter of Lifenet Insurance.
He explained the main issues around social safety net-demographics and the changes from the time when social security system was originally designed.
His impression of the session included quite different way of perceiving insurance by the people outside of the industry (as compared with technical discussion within the company) and also the benefit/advantage of discussion in English he did not quite expect.

The second interview was with Chizuru Hoshi who joined us for the first time. She came at the invitation of her friend and also because she was interested in the company as it is related to her work.
She found the session interesting and exciting even with the people she met for the first time (she said she was nervous at the beginning) and the topic made her think about her own social safety net.

#Session 39 “Davos Experience in Tokyo” series
July 22, 2016
“Design your own social safety net”

Lifestyle in Japan has become very diverse in the past few decades. Nuclear families and single parents have increased as well as “single person household by the elderly.” Has the institutions and systems in the Japanese society kept up with these changes? Unfortunately, many systems stay the same since it was originally designed for the society where “standard” households with married couple and two children are the norm.

So today, if we want to live the kind of life we want, we need to design our own social safety net which can support our activities.

At #39 of Davos Experience in Tokyo series, we will address the issue of designing our own social safety net at Lifenet Insurance Company.

Though we hear the term “our social support system and network” and we actually live our life feeling safe with the soft infrastructure of services provided by the state and by the private companies as well as by our friends and families, we rarely stop and think about what constitutes our support system.
What are the minimum requirement for our own social safety net? Asking ourselves of this question is critical because of the following reasons. First, majority of social welfare system available today assumes “standard” household as the basic unit. Variety of households reflecting demographic and cultural changes such as single people, same sex partners, and DINKS are NOT covered well under the current system.

Second, the social welfare system in Japan has suffered from the lack of funds (some say that it is just about bankrupt), and even the people who fit the “standard model” are unlikely to receive the social welfare benefit when they need them. Thus, whether you are social majority or minority, you need to design your own social safety net.

These issues have encouraged companies, local communities and individuals to offer and seek services that will meet these new emerging needs. For example, Lifenet Insurance Co. began offering services where same sex partner can be assigned as beneficiary of the life insurance policy. This is a departure from the traditional system where beneficiary is limited to the spouse and/or close family members in legal sense of the term.

By becoming aware of these services and participating in such network, any one of us can design our own safety net. Why not join us to find out more about the approach to design our own safety net and design one for yourself? The session will be held at Lifenet Insurance Co.











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