Teppo Turkki, the new Counsellor for Science, Technology and Innovation at the Embassy of Finland, began his assignment in Tokyo in September 2016. Teppo has been very familiar with Asia during his versatile career and knows the area's unique features that differ from Finland well. His background organisations comprise Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.
Teppo's long-lasting interest in Asia was piqued by a visit to China in the 1980s. He ended up in Japan for the first time in 1993 when he received a special scholarship granted by the Foreign Ministry of Japan. Afterwards Teppo has been working as a visiting researcher at the Waseda University in Tokyo among other things. Before his current move to Tokyo he occupied a position as Sitra's leading specialist on East Asia. This task took him along with his family in year 2012 to Taiwan in which he acted as a Representative of Finland's Trade and Innovation Office in Taipei. He is well-known also for his nonfiction books on East Asia. Teppo holds a Master's Degree in Social Sciences.
As a representative of Tekes, Teppo is monitoring closely Japanese science and technology policies. He keeps track also on the developments in South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia. Long-term perspective insights, so-called Foresight activities, are also essential part of his assignment. Japan is still one of the most innovative countries in the world, and cooperation here represents considerable possibilities for Finland. Teppo reports also on the aging society to Sitra. According to him, Japan is a sort of future laboratory that Finland, a country with one of the fastest-aging populations in Europe, should keep tabs on carefully. However, Teppo's greatest ambition for his stay is to strengthen and deepen bilateral relations between Japan and Finland. "Competition for recognition between countries is hard in Japan", Teppo notes, "so Finland should concentrate on creating its own distinctive profile."
Daily life in Japan has started well for Teppo and his family, consisting of children aged 1, 11 and 17, and his wife, Nina Hyvärinen, a former Finnish National Ballet dancer. She is working nowadays as a choreographer and modern dancer. All in all, beginning a new international assignment in a familiar country has been a great advantage for the whole family. Alongside family and work Teppo plans on improving his Japanese.
Welcome back to Tokyo, Teppo!