July 2, 2017

SBJ President Kuniki Kino (June, 2017)

I am Kuniki Kino from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University, and I am deeply honored now, to receive this official appointment as the President of the Society for Biotechnology, Japan (SBJ).  As a pioneer of the brewing and fermentation industry, Japan has long occupied a leading global position. Indeed, the Society for Biotechnology, Japan, has a tradition, stretching back almost 100 years. That is 100 years of continuously advancing the importance of this industry.  Naturally then, it is both a great honor, and somewhat daunting, to be appointed as the President. In that capacity, therefore, let me take this first opportunity to assure you of my dedication to our serious cause. Let me assure you that I am braced to further develop this society, to cooperate closely with the Representatives and the Directors for the administration, and with each and every Society member. More details about that follows in a moment.  Let us pause a minute though to consider the debt we owe to predecessors who paved the way for the steps we take.

In 2011, under former President Professor Iijima, our Society became a public-interest corporation, and in 2012, under former President Professor Harashima, we successfully celebrated the 90th anniversary of our foundation, whereupon a new resolution for the upcoming 100th anniversary was made.  

Under the leadership of former President Professor Sonomoto, while strengthening the administrative structure of the Society, three major goals were proposed to be reached in the following 10 years. They were:  1. The securing of financial capital to maintain SBJ's operations (Fiscal Consolidation), 2. Planning the new system as a "Public Interest Corporation" (Establishing a system concerning donations), 3. Enhancement of the interaction among members from different age brackets and professions.  Professor Sonomoto also promoted seven concrete tasks to be achieved during his two years of presidency, and showed strong leadership in intensively working on them.  

Ex-President Professor Gomi rendered services to fulfill the missions, fortified the links between branch offices, and notably solved the long-pending issues of securing capital sources for the SBJ, and realizing the full-time employment policy.  Professor Gomi's achievement is an essential and significant contribution to the future development of the SBJ.  

Now, we are at the halfway point in the 10-year period to achieve the three goals by the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the SBJ. As the newly appointed President, I believe that my mission is to follow through with the policies and reforms initiated by the former administration.  My responsibility lies in steadily working for the full achievement of the proposed goals, and in building a solid foundation for a greater progress towards and beyond the 100th anniversary.  To this end, I pledge that I will prepare the project plans and systems to ensure the financial stability of the SBJ as a public-interest corporation.  On such firm financial basis, I will aim for international development of SBJ's unique academic studies, and promote the industry-university-government cooperation project to contribute to academic advancement, ensuring its implementation in our Society.  I would also like to focus on developing the human resources potential among our young people who, in their turn, will come to bear responsibilities as global members for the next generation of biotechnology.  To fulfill my pledge to achieve the goals, I will, first of all, clarify more precisely the nature of the roles and problems each of us needs to assume to tackle the problems.  I will aim for flexible and efficient progress that will enable wide crossover cooperation, and I will make sure to introduce thorough application of the ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act' cycle to our operations.

This century is facing immense and imminent global-risk issues such as food shortages due to world population growth, overuse of finite ground resources, and climate change, due at least in part, to the increase in CO2 emissions.  To establish a sustainable society, we must not fail to address several critical needs.  Biotechnology is able to contribute significantly to the achieving at least 10 of the 17 goals proposed by the UN in 2015 to realize sustainable development goals (SDGs).  When we look at our own country Japan, there are many challenging issues to be dealt with in such fields as health and medicine, manufacturing technology, environment, energy, agriculture, and food supply. I am confident that the SBJ can play an important part in coming up with important solutions to the problems.  As seen in genome analysis, genomic editing technology, omics studies, and big data processing technology, there has been considerable technological development in the fields of synthetic biology, bionics, and cell technology, and it is certain that such development will lead to some revolutionary innovations.  At the same time, in the field of manufacturing technology, biotechnology is expected to provide interesting new possibilities.  The trends of our time offer unprecedented scope to the SBJ and the whole field of biotechnology. I would like to ensure that the SBJ is an especially active Society; a society which nurtures members' endeavors to realize their dreams by facilitating a coming together of knowledge, steadfast application, and a spirit of courageous challenge.

No research in specialized fields and in academic organizations can thrive without support and promotion among dedicated people.  Our Society can empower all manner of people, no matter their diverse backgrounds, different generations, and differing values, to nevertheless gather and interact to create new values and bring about life-enhancing innovation in biotechnology.

I trust that you share with me an appreciation of the important role the SBJ performs as a catalyst to its members' creativity, a place where encounters will turn potential into fulfillment. I would like to conclude this message by sincerely asking for SBJ's members' cooperation and encouragement for our Society.

The Society for Biotechnology, Japan
Kuniki Kino


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