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Message from New Director General

February 2003

I have succeeded Mr. Tei-ichi Sato in the post of director general of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Building on the achievements made by Mr. Sato and JSPS's other officers as well as on the public trust they have earned, I will do all in my power to continue to advance scientific development in Japan while working to enhance JSPS's programs. In this effort, I request the guidance and encouragement of all our colleagues and affiliates.

We have crossed the threshold into the 21st century. With the advent of a "knowledge society" spurred by the rapid advances in science and technology and underpinned by new genera of knowledge, this century promises to be called the "knowledge century." It is certain to be a century that sees increased demand for both the generation and integration of knowledge. Scientific research carried out in pursuit of truth will play an instrumental role in such knowledge creation and restructuring.

In Japan, this is particularly the case with research to be conducted under the government's 2nd S&T Basic Plan, which mandates the building of a nation undergirded by scientific and technological creativity of the world's highest standard. Accomplishing this objective will urgently require a forging ahead with scientific research that is both richly creative and highly diverse.

To meet such expectations, JSPS, as Japan's core science-promotion organization, carries out a vigorous program of activities-one that has been expanding in scale year upon year. These include performing the project selection and grant distribution functions of the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research Program, fostering researchers through the granting of the Research Fellowships for Young Scientists Program, and conducting other programs to promote international cooperation and exchange. To these was added this fiscal year the project selection function under the 21st Century COE Program. These programs were assessed in an external review conducted in June of last year, in which a panel of leading authorities from overseas science-promotion agencies highly appraised their performance.

Based on its record of past achievement, JSPS will be converted into an "independent administrative institution" in October of this year. This transition will bring with it ever higher expectation in JSPS to operate its programs in a more flexible, effective and transparent manner, while demonstrating a high quality of leadership in the promotion of scientific research within Japan.

Having assumed the post of JSPS's director general in such a period of pivotal transition, I am committed to working to meet the broad spectrum of researchers' needs and public expectations in advancing scientific research, while reforming and enhancing JSPS's programs and operations in such a way as to elevate the intellectual presence of Japan within the international community.

To these ends, I reiterate my request for your sustained support and cooperation.