Recognition of Scientific Adviser in the United Kingdom.

I was invited to a luncheon held at the British Embassy in Tokyo, when British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett visited Japan. I expected to meet again with "British Climate Ambassador" John Ashton , Special Representative for Climate Change for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), whom I met in London this January. There were many politicians, foreign officials and businessmen attending the event, including Sadako Ogata, President of Japanese International Cooperation Agency, and former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. There was another meeting for some politicians with Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett in addition to the luncheon, too. Nobutaka Machimura, former Foreign Minister, House of the Representatives (HR) member, Masahiko Takamura, former Foreign Minister, HR member, Kazuyoshi Kaneko, former Minister of State (Regulatory Reform, Industrial Revitalization Corporation, Administrative Reform, and Special Zones for Structural Reform), HR member and Yuriko Koike, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister for National Security Affairs, former Minister of the Environment, HR member showed up at the luncheon.

The seating order being decided beforehand, I was so surprised at being assigned to the main table, just next to Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett. This table had many prominent politicians including British Ambassador to Japan Graham Fry across the table from Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett and Sadako Ogata next to me. To tell the truth, I did not feel so comfortable at the table, hearing that Science Adviser is recognized as a highly respected position in UK. The difference of the recognition of Science Advisers between UK and Japan impressed me on the importance of the history as well as the responsibility of Science Adviser. I heard that Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government Sir David King meets with Prime Minister Tony Blair as frequent as once a week, while I as Special Science Adviser meets alone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe once a month to exchange ideas for an hour or so, which you might have learned from a press release of the daily schedule of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.