This October, AAAS traveled to Japan to attend the Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum in Kyoto, as well as meet with partners in Tokyo. The delegation was led by Dr. Sudip Parikh, AAAS CEO and executive publisher of the Science family of journals, and Dr. Gilda Barabino, chair of the AAAS Board of Directors and president of Olin College, and included Mr. Andrew Black, AAAS chief of staff and chief public affairs officer, and Dr. Kim Montgomery, AAAS director of international affairs and science diplomacy.
It was a successful trip that included many compelling presentations at the STS Forum, a lively conversation with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel and meetings with our valued partners, including the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). While this does not highlight all of our activities in Japan, it is an overview of highlights from this trip.
1. Attending the STS Forum
The main purpose of the AAAS visit to Japan was to attend the 20th annual STS Forum, for which AAAS CEO Sudip Parikh is a council member. The Forum took place from Oct. 1-3 in Kyoto and hosted nearly 1,500 participants from more than 80 countries. The delegation appreciated Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s address at the Forum’s opening ceremony and was pleased to hear him highlight the importance of science diplomacy.
Delegation members also had the opportunity to present at the Forum, with Parikh speaking at a session on trust in science and Barabino speaking during the closing plenary, which looked at science and technology for the future of humankind. It was a privilege to take part in the STS Forum, and AAAS looks forward to further participation in the future.
2. Conversation with Ambassador Rahm Emanuel
While in Tokyo, the group visited the U.S. Embassy. They met with officials focused on science and had the privilege of sitting down with Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, for a conversation on international science collaboration and science diplomacy.
Ambassador Emanuel previously served as the 55th mayor of the City of Chicago, White House Chief of Staff under President Barack Obama, U.S. Representative from Illinois’ 5th Congressional District and Senior Advisor to President Bill Clinton for Policy and Politics and has been the U.S. Ambassador to Japan since 2021.
We are incredibly thankful to Ambassador Emanuel for his insights and his powerful call to the scientific community, which are reflected in an interview that also highlights a partnership on quantum computing between the University of Chicago and the University of Tokyo. Read the full conversation in Science & Diplomacy.
3. Meeting with JST
The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Japan’s national research and development agency, and AAAS have been partners for many years now, and AAAS was happy to have this meeting to reaffirm our shared priorities as well as discuss opportunities in science policy.
AAAS reconnected with Dr. Kazuhito Hashimoto, president of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and science and technology advisor to the Cabinet for the Government of Japan (pictured above). Earlier this year, Hashimoto was kind enough to discuss his experiences as a scientific advisor with Science & Diplomacy. You can read his interview in Science & Diplomacy as well.
4. Meeting with MEXT
Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) is a far-reaching government organization in Japan that includes a Bureau for Science and Technology Policy that operates in line with principles set by the Science and Technology Basic Plan. The delegation was pleased to meet with Dr. Yasuyoshi Kakita, Director-General of the Science and Technology Policy Bureau (pictured above).
AAAS and MEXT discussed international collaboration on science and technology, and the increasing importance of global cooperation in the face of many emerging technologies that have the potential to alter our world.
5. Meeting with JSPS
The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) is an independent administrative institution in Japan that aims to advance all fields of science, and therefore has much in common with AAAS. The delegation had the chance to meet with the JSPS president, Mr. Tsuyoshi Sugino (pictured above), and senior leadership.
While at JSPS, the delegation discussed open science and open access policies, a topic at several other meetings in Japan. The trip was an opportunity to stress that AAAS is focused on open access options that are informed by the scientific community, contribute to the accurate record of published content and protect the overall integrity of that content.
While this piece highlights some key activities that took place during this visit to Japan, it is by no means a comprehensive list. AAAS is grateful to all who took time out of their busy schedules to meet with us, including the officials from the Council for Science, Technology, and Innovation, the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP) and JST. Many thanks the organizers of the STS Forum and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo for their kindness and hospitality.