JSPS Summer Program

Opening Ceremony Held for JSPS Summer Program

With its opening ceremony, the JSPS Summer Program was launched on 25 June 2003 at the campus of Soken-dai, the Graduate University for Advanced Studies. JSPS Summer Program is designed to provide opportunities for young pre- and post- doctoral researchers from Western countries to receive an orientation on Japanese culture and research systems and to pursue research under the leadership of host researchers at Japanese universities and research institutes over a period of two months during the summer. (For further program details, see
http://www.jsps.go.jp/english/e-summer/index.html )

Under this year's program, JSPS welcomed 101 fellows from the US, the UK, France, Germany and Canada. In addition to these fellows, the opening ceremony was attended by representatives of Soken-dai, MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) and the following overseas partners: National Science Foundation (USA), British Council (UK), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France), Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (Germany), and the Canadian Embassy in Japan.

Opening addresses were delivered by Prof. Kodaira, President of Soken-dai, Prof. Iga, Executive Director of JSPS, and Mr. Sasaoka, Director for International Exchange Promotion of MEXT. In their messages, each of them extended a cordial welcome to the fellows and expressed their gratitude to the implementing organizations for their dedicated support of the program.

Stressing the importance of gaining firsthand experience even in today's highly technetronic society, Prof. Kodaira expressed his admiration of the fellows for the ambition and pluck that brought them all the way to Japan. He also emphasized the importance of mutual understanding between different cultures, and encouraged the fellows to be "cultural ambassadors riding the wings of a vehicle named research."

Following Prof. Kodaira's words of encouragement to the fellows, Prof. Iga gave them practical information on such topics as basic research systems in Japan and JSPS' role in Japan's research-funding framework.

Mr. Sasaoka expressed his expectation for the young fellows to contribute to the promotion of mutual understanding between themselves and Japanese researchers, encouraging them to actively communicate and exchange information with Japanese researchers so as to make their two-month stays an asset not only to themselves but also to their Japanese colleagues with whom the JSPS Summer Program will hopefully be the first step to joint research activities in the future.

The opening ceremony was followed by a reception, led off with a toast by Dr. Loretz, Director of NSF Tokyo Regional Office.

During the first week of the program, the fellows attended an orientation session on the Soken-dai campus, which gave them a chance to learn basic Japanese language, experience a touch of Japanese culture through a visit to the old Japanese city of Kamakura, try the tea ceremony and other traditional Japanese customs, and spend a few days with Japanese host families.

Following the orientation, the fellows moved to their respective host institutions to conduct their own research activities until the end of August.

On 21 August, the program will wrap up by reassembling the fellows and giving them an opportunity to report on their experiences over their two-month stays in Japan.