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President's Room

Greetings on assuming the office of President for the 24th term

Photo:Professor.Juichi Yamagiwa

I am Juichi Yamagiwa, elected as President of Science Council of Japan for its 24th term this time. I would like to state my belief as new President in commencing my term for the next 3 years.

SCJ, as a representative body of Japanese scientists in and outside of Japan, aims to carry out to improving and progressing science, and reflecting and permeating it to practices of government administration, industry and living of the Japanese people.

Since its inception in 1949, started as an organ of Prime Minister’s Office, and then Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, SCJ is now placed as a special organization of Cabinet Office. A significant feature is that it is not affiliated to Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology which administers to promote education, culture, scholarship, sports, science and technology, but it belongs to an undertaking of Cabinet Office which is a nucleus of central administration. This means that we are expected to make dialogues with the government and society directly, and make recommendations, requests, statements, proposals and reports from scientific standpoint. We will engage in numerous issues faced by the Japanese government from the scientific point of view, and we must respond to the requests arisen by the government and society.

I deeply feel the grave responsibility today.

Well, there has been 71 proposals released by SCJ during the 23rd term, of which 60% was released in the last 6 months. This is a verification of enthusiasm of entire Council Members and Members of SCJ to compile discussions of Committees and Sub-committees into proposals of the past 3 years, and at the same time, it is reflecting a strong will to fulfill a role of SCJ as responsibility of scientists, especially toward the government and society.

To begin with, we must review these proposals to clarify what sort of effects are observed, whether they are contributing or prospected to contribute to the national policies and development of society, and we must continue further discussions based on these findings. Among them, a Statement on “Research for Military Security” and a Proposal on “Genome Editing Technology in the field of Medicine and Medical Domain in Japan” are of urgent issues.

70 years after the World War II, Japan was reborn with a new Constitution and has renewed its form of government as well as international relationships. Afterwards Japan became an economic giant with a rapid economic growth by going through a stable maturity after experiencing economic bubbles. However, international situation after the Cold War, unlike expectations of many, has come to encounter numerous complex problems which are hard to solve. Some are issues on degrading environment of the earth, worsening conflicts between ethnic groups and religions, increasing number of refugees, escalation of international tension over expanding militarism and protectionism, increasing cases of mega disasters of global scale and incurable diseases, operations of multinational enterprises beyond borders and increasing competition over natural resources, financial crises and expanding social gaps due to the economic breakdowns. In these rapid drastic changes, many people have lost their purposes in the future, and come to own worries in their daily lives today.

In the middle of rapid computerized and informatizated society, social relations relied among the people are being collapsed, and there are increasing number of people who sense of isolation. We may be stepping into a period of reconsidering what is the happiness of people essentially.

In this turbulent period, we must select right ways what roles SCJ should fulfill by ascertaining the needs of the time. For this purpose, in addition to dialogues with people in the society, we should establish a closer collaboration with scientific communities in Japan by enhancing further activation of dialogue. On the basis of it, strengthening a role of science by collaborating with scientists around the world through international meetings, to achieve harmonized coexistence and development of society across the border, should be taken into consideration. Science Council of Japan is consists of 3 sections which covers every academic domains, and is vested in establishing dialogues with every academic institute in the world, and at the same time, is in a position to promote interdisciplinary and integrated discourses. However, most of the Statements and Proposals are addressed domestically, and little are translated into foreign languages. Despite issues on shortages of manpower and budget, and the members are appointed as part-time, I am to address our activities in numerous languages to the world, and have spirit to lead science in the world.

In a situation where the world and society move fast, I pledge to respond to the piled up issues in a timely manner, however, will not shake a universality and virtuous aspiration of science, and try my best to enhance and contribute to science in Japan. I eager to seek your vigorous participation and activities from Council Members and Members, and wish to receive tremendous expectations as well as interest from the society.

October 2017
Juichi Yamagiwa
Science Council of Japan, the 24th Term

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