Ladies and Gentlemen
On this occasion of celebrating 10th anniversary of our London Office, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to all the distinguished guests for joining us tonight.
I begin by extending our warmest appreciation to all of you who have taken time out of your busy schedules to be with us. I also wish to offer Prof. Toyama, former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, a special word of thanks for accepting our request to deliver today's lecture and setting aside valuable time in her schedule to do so.
Promoting international exchange is particularly important in both advancing scientific research and elevating its standard. As in the past, JSPS will continue to be vigorous in the implementations of its exchange activities with countries around the world. Among these activities, we ascribe the utmost importance to those carried out with the U.K.
Based on our amicable cooperative relationships with The Royal Society, The British Academy, EPSRC and The British Council over long years, JSPS has been able to support wide-reaching exchanges and joint projects between Japanese and U.K. researchers.
Over these 10 years, the London Office has, though operating on a modest scale, played a meaningful role in facilitating the smooth implementation of JSPS's scientific exchange programs with the U.K. It has developed a variety of activities to deepen mutual understanding in a way that contributes to scientific promotion between the two nations. This too has only been possible through the understanding and cooperation of all of you.
By the way, a big change took place last October: a ����ew JSPS�ߡ�was born. That is, JSPS received the new legal status of ����ndependent administrative institution,�ߡ�which freed it from much of the government's control. This change in status allows JSPS more freedom in managing its programs and operation. This, in turn, gives the London office can have greater flexibility in carrying out its activities.
The Japanese government has continued to invest in science and technology as a national policy even in this decade of economic decline following the bubble burst. This is because we understand that science and technology promotion will be the ����ey�ߡ�to maintaining Japan's standing among nations in the 21 st century, or ����isdom�ߡ�era. In this context, JSPS's budget has been steadily increased.
Recently, MEXT and JSPS launched a new initiative, the 21st Century COE program to cultivate a more competitive research environment in Japan. JSPS also set up a new center within its organization for the purpose of enhancing JSPS's program selection and evaluation functions.
At the same time, JSPS has enhanced its fellowship program to make it more appealing to European researchers. We have started a short-term fellowship program for European and U.S. researchers. We have also begun to support the establishment of JSPS alumni associations with an eye to building networks among former fellows.
I understand that the first general assembly of the JSPS Alumni Association in the U.K. has held successfully this afternoon. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Professor Sammonds and the other members of the association for their work and dedication in establishing this alumni association.
Let me say in closing that I am proud of my colleagues at the London Office for their diligence. My sincere wish is that the London Office will continue to enjoy your support and cooperation. I look forward to the even further development of science exchange between the U.K. and Japan. And pray for the good health of each of you.