JSPS awards for eminent scientists

Report of the JSPS Award for Eminent Scientists in 2007

  1. Invited eminent scientist (name, title and affiliation, nationality)

    Name: Takashi Asano
    Title and Affiliation:  Professor Emeritus, University of California at Davis, USA

  2. Duration of the stay

    January 8. 2008 - March 5. 2008

  3. Hosting environment (accommodation, research institute, status in the host institute)

    Accommodation: Le Meridien Pacific Tokyo and others
    Research Institute: Public Works Research Institute (PWRI)
    Status in the host institute:  PWRI Fellow

  4. Schedule during the stay (date, research activities, name of the places to visit, and description of the visits)

    Jan. 8th, 2008 Arrived at Narita
    Jan. 9th to 10th Held a meeting on schedule with host researcher
    Jan. 11th Made preparations for lectures
    Jul. 14th to 15th Visited wastewater reuse facilities in Tadotsu town in Kagawa Prefecture for technical advices
    Jan. 16th Gave a Keynote speech at the special seminar "Planning and designing water circulation" held in Osaka
    Jan. 17th Made preparations for lectures
    Jan. 18th Gave a Keynote speech at the "Symposium on global warming and water reuse" held in Tokyo
    Jan.21st to25th Gave technical advices at Hokkaido University
    Jan. 29th Gave technical advices at the University of Tokyo
    Jan. 30th Gave a lecture and technical advices at Foundation of river & watershed environment management
    Jan. 31st Gave a lecture and technical advices at Saitama University
    Feb. 1st Visited by engineers of wastewater management and gave technical advices
    Feb. 4th to 7th Gave technical advices at Kyoto University
    Feb. 8th Visited by engineers of water resources and wastewater management and gave technical advices
    Feb. 11th Visited by engineers of water resources and wastewater management and gave technical advices
    Feb. 12th to 13th Had a talk with the Chief Executive of PWRI and gave technical advices to researchers
    Feb. 14th Visited by a researcher of environmental engineering and had a discussion on water management in Japan
    Feb. 15th Visited by a researcher of river engineering and had a discussion on water management in Japan
    Feb. 18th Gave a lecture and technical advices to officials of the Water Resources Department, Ministry of Land and municipalities
    Feb. 19th to 22nd Visited by engineers of water resources and wastewater management and gave technical advices
    Feb. 25th to 26th Gave a lecture and technical advices to engineers of a wastewater management company in Nagoya
    Feb. 27th to 28th Gave technical advices to engineers of water resources in Osaka
    Feb. 29th Visited by engineers of Water resources environment technology center gave technical advices
    Mar. 3rd to 4th Gave research advices at PWRI, Tsukuba
    Mar. 5th Departed from Narita

  5. Description of and results from the invitation

    Prof. Asano's accommodation was arranged in Tokyo, for it was convenient for him to attend symposiums in which he was asked to give keynote speech or to visit local universities, research institutes and administrative agencies which had invited him for lectures and workshops in advance as well as to meet administrators and researchers who asked for opportunities to exchange views with the professor.

    The outline of the symposiums in which the professor gave a keynote speech is as follows; On Jan. 16th, a special seminar on "Planning and designing water circulation" was held in Osaka by National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), Public Works Research Institute and Osaka organizations related to sewerage systems, and over 270 audiences participated.

    On Jan. 18th, "Symposium on global warming and water reuse" was held in Tokyo by MLIT, Tokyo metropolitan government and an organizing committee, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment, the Japan Water Forum and the Yomiuri shimbun, and 400 audience participated, especially the Crown Prince.

    In his speech, he introduced, referring to the State of California of tight of water resource as an example, estimation of increasing water demand because of population growth, water resource plan for sustainable water use and placement of urban water reuse in the plan, categories of reuse (e.g., agricultural irrigation and groundwater recharge) and their examples, current quality criteria and necessary treatment process, and an argument on how safe indirect potable reuse is (e.g., health risk from chemical substance exposure, membrane treatment technology enabling high quality water, and importance of communication). Also he showed future prospect of water reuse.

    Visited institutes and universities were as follows: one research institute (PWRI), four universities (e.g., the University of Tokyo and Hokkaido University), the Water Resources department of MLIT, a local municipality and a foundation. In addition, many administrators and researchers visited Prof. Asano to exchange information.

    It was well understood that in southern California with water shortage a plenty of urban wastewater is considered to be a water resource and advanced reuse technologies have been developed, and that the water resource plan has total and multiple aspects, for example, transfer of water rights and water demand control, which should be compared with Japanese systems.

    In California, great importance is placed on technology development ensuring high quality water for sewerage treatment technology to increase utility value of the treated wastewater as water resource, which is because the reclaimed water is considered to be goods in public market. This also makes economic activity of related technology vigorous.

    In Japan it is comparatively easy to get clean water and river water can dilute wastewater to some extent, therefore, people are not interested in pollution by trace pollutant, and water measurement is not carried out satisfactorily. For securing higher safety, a grasp of actual situation is necessary in future.

    Prof. Asano's insightful comments and advice encouraged researchers and administrators in Japan to take a closer look at the issues.

  6. Contribution by the invitee to the host institute (e.g. inspiration to young scientists, internationalization of a host institute as a whole, etc.)

    Prof. Asano enlightened students and young scientists through the lectures and discussion meetings and gave a new vision about water resources. Many of the young audience at Universities were interested in new idea which was not discussed very much in Japan. The followings are examples of the feedbacks:

    - I have learned California water condition from Prof. Asano's lecture, or
    - After listening Prof. Asano's lecture, I have taken a closer look at the issue of wastewater reuse in Japan.

    Moreover, the faculty members (professors, associate professors and lecturers) of the visited universities reported that they were greatly impressed by the world's most advanced water-recycling techniques and the innovative approach Prof. Asano has introduced.

    In addition, his keynote speech in the symposiums appealed to the public the importance of both placing the reclaimed water as a water resource in urban areas and promoting communication with citizens for the values of water reuse.

    Officials of Water resources department reported as follows;

    - We have to think of regal position and system for promoting water reuse in Japan.

    Engineers reported as follows;

    - We expect that water reuse for agriculture and groundwater recharge is effective in Japan, for I am worried about shortage of water by the global warming.
    - I have learned importance that we inform water quality and safety to users for promoting water reuse.

    Researchers and engineers of water resource asked some question (the way to manage groundwater in the United States, the cost of water resource development, the benefit of water reuse and public information about water resource). Prof. Asano reported and commented on current status in the United States and he advised on the application and investigation in Japan.

    As the hosting organization, PWRI believes that Prof. Asano's contributions to the Japanese society are very promising and respected. With his advice, our research activities were widened and diversified. Many scientists and engineers will be fostered in this research area; at the same time leading researchers will be much more motivated to pursue their research topics.

    Thanks to Prof. Asano, those in top government offices and academia had precious opportunities to hold technical discussions and to directly exchange opinions with the world eminent professor; he surely exerted considerable influence, which would not be obtained from books, on their notions or attitudes toward research and practice.

    (Stimulation to Young Researchers, Internationalization of the Host Institutes, etc.)

  7. Others

    PWRI sincerely thanks JSPS for their generous support for this invitation project.