As you know, a plan to build a new graduate university in Okinawa had been in progress for quite a while.
Almost 10 years have passed since the inception of this idea, and ever since the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Promotion Corporation (OIST P.C.) was launched as an Independent Administrative Agency with Dr. Sydney Brenner as the first President, we have been working hard for many years. This institution’s concept is revolutionary in every aspect; the Cabinet Office of Japan is responsible in taking charge of this project, it is a scientific institution totally open to the world for the new global age. Also, I would like to especially point out the fact that Dr. Brenner is extraordinary by his broad views and rich connections and greatly helped build OIST PC..
Since this was a very new concept, we did have some difficulties along the way such as in trying to gain understandings of the stakeholders including Japanese science community. However, now we have paved the path enough to set up a graduate school, and finally are proud to announce that Dr. Jonathan Dorfan of Stanford University will assume his office in July as the first President elect of OIST (Ref.1). This is truly an epoch making event. That Japan will at last have a scientific institute with longer perspectives open to the world is something we all should celebrate. Again, this is a revolutionary achievement.
As I have written in my past postings, conventional Japanese universities were unable to materialize such concept, although they were willing to discuss it (Ref.1, 2).
I am determined to support President Dorfan and continue working with everyone to make this institution a success. The credibility of science research in Japan is being evaluated and watched even through such a seemingly ‘small’ event like this in Okinawa. I think the world might have started seeing some hopeful signs of change in Japan after a long time.