On May 25, 2020, I assumed the presidency of the Chemical Society of Japan (CSJ).
In my two-year term, I intend to dedicate myself to developing the CSJ further with the support of the vice presidents and directors, and look forward to serving this organization.
As I take up the reins of the CSJ presidency, I would like to grasp the prevailing situation of the world that surrounds us, and set out my thoughts on the role chemistry should play within this environment.
Among the three rising tides of post-globalization, digitalization (AI advancement), and socialization* occurring in society today, sudden environmental changes upending established concepts are taking place. Indeed, the modern era could be said to have entered a genuinely revolutionary phase, as evidenced by developments such as post-globalization in the United States and the UK, the rise of global platform providers, and the dramatic advances in AI and quantum technology. In addition, after the containment of novel coronavirus, significant change to our lifestyles and social values can be assumed, and it will be absolutely necessary to reassess all our current strategies. At the same time, we currently face a plethora of worldwide challenges requiring solutions, such as climate change, issues around food and water supplies, the marine plastic problem, and the aforementioned novel coronavirus pandemic. I believe that chemistry can be very much expected to respond keenly to these changing times and thereby to provide solutions for these global challenges.
The chemical industry has until now been treated as representative of air and marine polluters, however, learning from the industry's bitter experience in the past, it now contributes to the return of crystal clear blue oceans, firefly-inhabited fresh water and clean air.
The chemical industry has thus played successful roles as a solution provider, by utilizing the knowledge and technology that it has developed for fighting against the environmental destruction brought by its own actions. I believe that the power of chemistry will certainly find solutions for these worldwide challenges, and, as President I will fully commit myself to implement CSJ activities that will provide fields to achieve the following demanding goals and thus to lead to new innovations:
- Continually promote cutting-edge research and thereby accelerate discovery and technological development in chemistry for innovation;
- Further promote frontier research in chemistry for effective implementation of research outcomes, by emphasizing the importance of open innovation via cooperation and fusion among interdisciplinary, industry-government-academia, domestic and international domains;
- Foster emerging talents who will lead the next generations in chemical sciences and technology, and revolutionize the research environments in Japan to be more intriguing and attractive.
To achieve these goals, I believe it is equally important to mobilize the wisdom in chemistry, and to deepen interaction with chemistry-related societies. Further, as we move forward, it is important that we continue to strengthen the CSJ Headquarters functions via the operational reforms to which the former Presidents, beginning with Professor Maki Kawai, have been actively committed.
I sincerely welcome the support and the cooperation of all fellow members.
*In this context, the word "socialization" is used to describe a contemporary society where a broad spectrum of entities are in constant contact with each other. Today, it is easier to bypass boundaries that separate businesses from individuals and cities from outlying areas to create new communities and societies. This environment allows social entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, and others to contribute more effective solutions to our global problems.
Dr. Yoshimitsu Kobayashi
President, The Chemical Society of Japan