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OU Undergrads Win Grand Prize in National Public Policy Proposal Forum!

Ms. Kanda enters OU to study policy

Ms. Kanda, a native of Kitakyushu city, found a rewarding sense of satisfaction in helping others as student council president in junior high school.

Eventually, she found herself interested in politics and entered Osaka University, which has its own public policy department, a rarity among national universities. Ms. Kanda says that she had an interest in Professor Akai’s advanced study group even from before she entered the university. Once she began her studies, her focus settled on domestic issues close to home.

In Prof. Akai’s study group, 21 students in 3 teams select their topic of research and have team and study group-wide discussions about these topics.

 In Ms. Kanda’s team, the students put their focus on the deteriorating water supply infrastructure and prepared a thesis entitled “Toward sustainable water supply -- increasing the management efficiency of water supply business through the utilization of private sector enterprises, cooperation among municipal governments, and regional integration.”

Uniting to make an impact on society through statistical analysis of water supply business 

“I had difficulty uniting the unique members of our team. But once we did that, each member’s individuality took the research in a positive direction, which raised the quality of our thesis,” said Ms. Kanda.

Ms. Kanda, who was responsible for statistical data analysis, measured the business efficiency of water supply through stochastic frontier analysis and studied what methods, including delegating water supply to a third party or integrating regions for water supply, would increase the efficiency of water supply business. As a result of her statistical analysis, she reached the conclusion that the utilization of private sector enterprises and integration of regions for water supply would be one solution to aging water supply infrastructure.

Additionally, in order keep this idea from becoming “just an arm chair theory,” she also thoroughly interviewed local municipalities and corporations.

On why her team won the grand prize, Ms. Kanda said, “I think what was significant was that we held discussions not only within our team, but also with other current and former members of the study group and Prof. Akai himself, and surveyed more thoroughly than we ever had before. Also, we were united in achieving our goal to make an impact on society by writing a high-quality thesis.”

Wanting to revitalize her hometown by utilizing her experiences in this project in the future

Ms. Kanda told us, “This research activity was a great opportunity to think about social issues. This department and this study group at Osaka University provided me with irreplaceable experiences.”

She went on saying, “In the future, I’d like to find a job that allows me to make large contributions to society. I’d also like to use this experience someday to work towards revitalizing my hometown, a place that I love very much,” We’re sure she’ll do great things in the future.


From Osaka University NewsLetter #75

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