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Opening remarks from President Ono at the Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony for the JSPS Core-to-Core Program between the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.

Opening address 11th of February 2004


It is my greatest pleasure that Max-Planck-Gesellschaft has agreed to implement the JSPS Core-to-Core Program with us and that we have signed today the Memorandum of Understanding for this program to come into effect.

The JSPS Core-to-Core Program is a newborn program which JSPS has initiated from this fiscal year for the purpose of building and expanding an international framework in leading-edge fields of science among universities and research institutions in advanced countries and Japan. This program also aims to promote mobility of researchers, especially younger researchers who will be next generation leaders in sciences.

JSPS has selected "Primate Origins of Human Evolution" as the first project among more than 100 proposals. HOPE is the abbreviated name for this project, but it is not simply an anagram. The name HOPE includes the hope for resolutions for living in the global environment which is an important theme for human beings in the 21st Century.

I will not talk too much about the details regarding the project as we will hear later from Professor Matsuzawa from Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University. He is the co-chair for the Japanese side of this project.

However I would like to mention a few points. In order to understand the evolution of mankind, their project will focus on the primates, chimpanzees and monkeys, who are our neighbors. Actually, Japan is the only country of the G8 nations that monkeys inhabit.
Japanese people definitely have an affinity with monkeys since they are often mentioned in Japanese folk tales. Also, Japan has used the Oriental Zodiac and this year 2004 just happened to be the "Year of the Monkey" so you could say it is the best year for beginning this project.

Lastly, we hope, as part of a program agreed at the German/Japanese summit meeting last August, the start of the HOPE project will be a new direction for Germany and Japan.

We look forward to more exchanges with Germany in the future and to a more closer partnership particularly with Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.