From Okinawa -2


On Saturday, August 10th, I visited Okinawa again. I attended the ten-year anniversary of the Muribushi Clinical Training Program (in Japanese), which was started by Dr. Seishiro Miyagi and is a pioneering program for dealing with the future of medicine clerkship. I had the honor of giving a speech at the celebration, as I did ten years ago when this program was first established.

After training in this program, many OB/OG alumni from the time of the Okinawa Prefectural Chubu Hospital have gone on to receive further training in the United States, showing that this program is suited for a global Japan and world.

In these past ten years, the required skills of doctors have changed in response to what is happening in the field. There are many outstanding clinicians who are active and appreciated on the global scale, as can be seen in the establishment of the ACP (American College of Physicians) Japan Chapter (1, 2) and the OB/OG of the New York Beth Israel hospital clinical training program.

In my speech, I mentioned the virtuous cycle that is created when people who have received clinical training in such programs pass on their expertise and wisdom to their juniors. It just happened that Dr. Harry Ward, who was a fellow at my time at UCLA, was visiting Okinawa, and I introduced him to everyone, thus creating another virtuous cycle.

On the afternoon of the 11th, Mr. Ichida of BirdLife International showed me around northern Okinawa. He took me to a secret place where butterflies can be observed and to see the Okinawa rail or ‘Yanbaru Kuina’ On this day, twenty-eight Okinawa rails were killed due crashes with cars on roads this year. I was told the number used to be only around ten per year….

On the 12th, I took part in a gathering at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in order to discuss plans for the future of this new research-based graduate university. We spent the entire day discussing many different issues.

I hope that this will aid the reform of research in Japan.