Science and Technology

July 11, 2014
On July 7, 2014 in Tokyo, H.E. Makoto Katsura, Ambassador for Science and Technology Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Ms. Jennifer Haskell, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation of the U.S. Department of State, co-chaired the 14th U.S.-Japan Joint Working-Level Committee (JWLC) Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation. This was the first intergovernmental meeting since the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the United States of America on Cooperation in Research and Development in Science and Technology was extended for 10 years by the protocol signed on April 23 between Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Caroline Kennedy, Ambassador of the United States of America to Japan.
The JWLC brought together high-level representatives from a wide range of government agencies in both countries. They reviewed and noted recent developments on several topics taken up in the 12th Joint High-Level Committee (JHLC) Meeting held on April 30, 2013, and reached a common understanding to further develop their cooperation in the areas of high energy physics, fusion science, nuclear physics, big data and high-performance computing systems. 
The participants from both countries also exchanged their perspectives on a number of new topics for potential U.S.-Japan cooperation and identified several pioneering areas to be further discussed during 13th JHLC meeting in 2015. They highlighted issues such as industry-academia collaboration to create innovation, human resources development for project management, researcher exchanges, researcher ethics, and risk communication. In addition, both sides shared views on clinical research on cancer, brain science, material informatics science, climate change, Arctic research, ocean drilling, Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research, and addressing common challenges in the Asia Pacific region. 
Following the JWLC meeting, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and Japan Science and Technology Agency, along with operational support from the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo, co-hosted the 2nd Open Forum for STIE (Science, Technology, Innovation and Education) Cooperation between Japan and the United States on July 8. Held at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), the forum brought together senior representatives of academia and industry from both countries to discuss the theme “the Evolution toward New Society Making the Most of Scientific Wisdom and Innovation.”  The Open Forum was opened by a message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, read by Mr. Nobuo Kishi, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, who also expressed his views on how science and technology can improve our society, facilitate economic growth, and enhance U.S.-Japan collaboration in addressing global issues, and remarks by U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, who emphasized the tremendous scope of our bilateral science and technology partnership and its ability to improve the lives of current and future generations. The forum was closed with remarks of Mr. Yoshitaka Sakurada, Senior Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, who overviewed the discussion on the key themes, and expressed expectations for further deepening Japan-U.S. science and technology cooperation. In addition, a keynote speech was made by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University, at the reception held after the forum, following the opening remarks of Mr. Hirotaka Ishihara, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, and an introduction of the museum by Dr. Mamoru Mohri, Chief Executive Director of the Miraikan.
Two stages of panel discussion took place with the participation of executive representatives of academia and industry of both countries under the theme of “the Evolution toward New Society Making the Most of Scientific Wisdom and Innovation.” In the first panel discussion on “Scientific Wisdom and Decision-Making,” moderated by Ms. Jessica Webster, Minister-Counselor for Economic and Science Affairs at the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo, presenters Dr. Fumiko Kasuga, Vice-President of the Science Council of Japan, Dr. Yoshinao Mishima, President of Tokyo Institute of Technology, Mr. Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Member of the Board and Senior Technology Advisor to CEO of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Dr. Avram Bar-Cohen, Program Manager of the Microsystems Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Ms. Dagny Olivares, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Communication Office, shared relevant agency experiences, and then discussed with the audience how business and academia can best work with policy makers to take advantage of the vast amounts of scientific research and data in both our countries. 
In the second panel discussion, Dr. Michiharu Nakamura, President of Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), led an inclusive discussion on the subject of “Human Resources Development to Create Innovation.” Dr. Michinari Hamaguchi, President of Nagoya University, Mr. Yoichi Miyamoto, President and Representative Director of Shimizu Corporation, Ms. Lin Kobayashi, Chair of the Board at International School of Asia, Karuizawa (ISAK), Mr. Brendy Lange, Strategy Director for Dow Chemical Japan, and Dr. Richard Miller, President of Olin College of Engineering, presented their views on how to better promote and sustain innovative efforts in education and business, and later opened the floor for a rich discussion on this theme.
The questions raised by both panels contained numerous complex elements, so that the forum recognized the necessity for continued effort in both the United States and Japan to further advance our robust collaboration on science, technology, innovation, and education, which will be reviewed at the next Open Forum.  

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