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Remarks at the Opening of the JSPS
San Francisco Office

May 27, 2003


Consul General Shigeru Nakamura
Professor Christopher McKee, Chair, Physics Department of the University of California, Berkeley
Honored Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am most pleased and honored that all of you have accepted our invitation to attend today's opening ceremony of JSPS office here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Thank you very much for taking valuable time out of your busy schedules to join us on this occasion.

The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science was originally established with an imperial endowment in 1932 as a private foundation. Last year, JSPS celebrated its 70th anniversary as an organization dedicated to the advancement of science. Over this period, JSPS has striven to stay a step ahead of the times in initiating and carrying out a wide range of activities. Now, in October of this year, JSPS will become an "independent administrative institution." Under this completely new organizational format, JSPS will be able to play an even greater role in the promotion of science. I consider it most significant that at this major milestone in JSPS's transition, we are establishing this overseas office on the West Coast of the United States.

Up until now, scientific research exchange between JSPS and the US revolved around our office in Washington, DC, which was established in 1990. Now, with a view to building a network with researchers on the West Coast as well, we have established the San Francisco office. The new office will mainly focus its activities on California, where scientific exchange with Japan is most active. It will provide the information on the latest scientific developments in Japan to scientific research institutions and individual researchers on the West Coast. At the same time, the office will send more researchers here from Japan, while working to further enhance scientific exchange between the two countries.

Looking back for a moment, it was in 1853 when President Millard Fillmore dispatched Commodore Matthew C. Perry, to Japan. This year marks the 150th anniversary of that event. At the time, Japan had been a closed country under the Tokugawa regime. For more than 200 years, trade had been forbidden with other countries. While Japan was in that state of isolation, American and Europe made great strides in the advancement of science and technology. Japan was left far behind. Commodore Perry's coming to Japan not only set Japan on a new course, but also paved the way to the later relationship between the US and Japan. Just how significant that event was goes without saying.

Well, I don't mean to compare the opening of this new office with Commodore Perry's landing in Japan. However, it was in California where the first Japanese scientists stepped foot, burning with desire to learn America's advanced science and technology. The opening of this JSPS office at the turn of the 21st century marks a significant milestone along the path they pioneered.

Now, I take pleasure in introducing you to Dr. Seishi Takeda. He will be the director of JSPS's San Francisco office. Up till now, Dr. Takeda is a professor at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (or KEK) in Tsukuba, Japan. He is a specialist in accelerator research. Despite Dr. Takeda's busy involvement in his own research, he graciously accepted out request to head JSPS's Washington DC office. Now, we have asked him to become the first director of our new San Francisco office.

Next, I'd like to introduce the staff who will support Dr. Takeda.

First there is the deputy director, Ms. Noriko Suzuki. She comes here from Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (or MEXT). I am sure she will make good use of the experience she has accrued at MEXT in this new post.

Next is Mr. Jun Matsuo. He is dispatched to the office from Kyushu University in Japan.

Then there is Ms. Beatrice L. Kokitko, who will provide powerful support to the Japanese staff.

Finally, I'd like to ask for the support of all of you with here today. We will very much appreciate your help is assisting this JSPS office in achieving its objective of advancing further scientific exchange between the US and Japan.

Thank you.