The Fourth Inforum World Conference at Shonan Village, Japan

The fourth conference was held in Japan, at Shonan village, from September 16 to September 20, 1996. Shonan village is a conference and resort center about 30 miles southwest of Tokyo, near historic Kamakura.

Here is a brief summary of the papers and events of the conference:

Monday, September 16
The Monday morning session was held in the large elegant conference hall. After opening remarks by Mr. Sasai, Clopper gave a talk on recent happenings with the Inforum world group, and also presented some news on members who couldn't make it to this year's conference, including Germany, Austria and Korea. Douglas Meade gave a short talk on the philosophy and new directions in Inforum software, and then Douglas Nyhus gave a summary of the current work on the bi-lateral linked system. Then each group spent about 5 minutes discussing their current work and the status of their models.
After lunch, the members re-grouped in the computer lab/classroom which would be our center of activities for the rest of the conference. Clopper Almon gave a presentation on new features in the BUMP software, and Douglas Meade surveyed recent developments in G and Compare. After these talks, certain members worked in the computer lab, while others enjoyed the sunset over the bay, or napped. That evening, we were treated to an excellent welcoming reception, where we met Mr. Tsukuda, the new president of ITI, as well as Mr. Yoneda, the Dean of Economics at Chuo University.


Tuesday, September 17
Tuesday began with a paper presented by Mr. Sasai and Mr. Hasegawa, our hosts. The title of the paper was "Deregulation and International Competitiveness". Next followed a number of papers with the estimation of personal consumption systems as their theme. Marco Barnabani and Rossella Bardazzi presented their work on "A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Italian Household Consumption" involving estimation of consumption patterns based on cross-sectional data from a very short (10 days) interval of observations. After greetings from Mr. Ozaki, the chairman of PAPAIOS, we had lunch, followed by a talk by Clopper Almon on his "Perhaps Adequate Demand System". In less than two hours, Clopper presented the theoretical basis of this system, its motivation, and results for the U.S.A. This was followed by a talk by Paul Salmon, on "Disaggregated Consumption in Europe", in which he discussed not only his results for France, but for many other European countries as well. Paul also discussed his new web site, in which he hopes to make data and papers available to Inforum members. After Paul, Samuel Guillet brought us up to date on his progress with the SWIMM model. The evening finished with a talk by Czeslaw Lipinski, entitled "Adaptation of the Polish Transport Infrastructure to the European Union Requirements".


Wednesday, September 18
The theme of the short Wednesday session was foreign investment, and it opened with Douglas Meade giving a talk on "Patterns of Foreign Investment in the U.S.". Following this, Juan Carlos Collado gave a talk on recent work on future plans of the Spanish team. Continuing in the foreign investment vein, Lucja Tomaczewicz gave a presentation of "FDI and its Impact on the Polish Economy" and Gosha presented a summary of "Foreign Investment in Russia", as well as describing recent work with the RIM model. The conference that day was shortened to make room for a field trip to Kamakura, where we saw many beautiful temples and shrines ensconced in a traditional Japanese landscape. That evening we regrouped at a tofu restaurant, where we demonstrated courage and good taste.


Thursday, September 19
This was the last day of conference activities at Shonan center. Douglas Nyhus opened the day by presenting "A First Attempt at Linking Inforum National Models". Timothy Dowd followed up with a talk highlighting the influences of demographics in the new long-term (now to 2050) model of the U.S. Mariusz Plich described his system for "Modeling the Social Insurance System in Poland", and then Wang and Li gave a talk entitled "Qualitative Analysis of Price Changes and Inflation in China". After lunch, Pavol Karasz described his recent modeling work, and also talked about FDI in Slovakia. Maurizio gave an intriguing account of his experiments with a new type of productivity equation, involving a joint measure of labor and capital productivity. Dirk Vanwynsberghe presented his work using Power Builder and a relational database to automate the task of building an Inforum-style model. Mr. Hasegawa gave closing remarks, and we planned to have next year's conference in Italy, hosted by Maurizio, Rossella, and Marco.


Friday, September 20
This was the day of the joint symposium with PAPAIOS, the Pan-Pacific Input-Output Society, at the Chuo University building in the Kanda area of Tokyo. Some joined the symposium, while others were free to tour Tokyo. Those on the tour visited the Edo museum, and went to the temple at Asakusa. At the symposium, we were joined by students of Chuo University, members of PAPAIOS, and workers from MITI and ITI. The first talk was by Shuntaro Shisdo, entitled "Disaggregated Modeling of the U.S.-Japan World Economy", with comments by Maurizio Grassini. Next, Douglas Nyhus presented "Investment and Exports: A Trade Share Perspective", with comments by Mr. Takayuki Kiji, from MITI. Finally, after the coffee break, Mr. Sasai and Mr. Hasegawa gave their paper again on "Deregulation and International Competition", this time in Japanese, with comments by Paul Salmon. After the symposium, we re-joined the others for a buffet and good-bye party. At this party, Maurizio was given a Buddhist head, which can be knocked over but always comes back up again. He filled in one eyeball, and we all signed it.

For those participants who stayed through Saturday, there was a field trip to the Hakone open air sculpture museum, and a visit to a slumbering volcano, which is still spewing sulphur and bubbling hot water.

Below is a group photo of some of the conference participants, by the sculpture museum near Shonan Village.

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