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Open symposium with participation from bipartisan Diet members held by the Center for Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake
Towards construction of an advanced international health/medical support ship capable of performing during disasters

Director Shigetaka Asano

On June 20th, the Waseda University Center for Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake-Advanced Environmental/Medical Engineering Research Center (Director: Shigetaka Asano) and the Waseda University Consolidate Research Institute for Advanced Science and Medical Care (ASMeW; Chairperson: Shigetaka Asano) held a symposium to promote the construction of a hospital ship. The symposium was entitled "Look to tomorrow Japan! Look to tomorrow Waseda!-Project for an advanced international health/medical ship" and was held in the Okuma Small Auditorium. It was open to the public and featured participation from a coalition of bipartisan Diet members.

The symposium started with a greeting from bipartisan Diet members from the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito Party. Diet members explained that while the need to construct such a medical support ship has been discussed for many years, the project has been passed over due to financial constraints. Diet members expressed their resolve to implement such a project at this time.

At the symposium, lectures were given by Mr. Masanori Nishiyama, a welfare official who has many years of experience providing aid to victims of large-scale disasters such as the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, the Nigata Prefecture Chuetsu Earthquake, the Sumatra Earthquake and the Great Sichuan Earthquake, by Professor Satoshi Amako of the Faculty of International Liberal Studies (Asia-Pacific Department), and by Professor Keiji Oda, Director of the Graduate School of Maritime Studies, Kobe University. The presenters discussed the trends in illnesses in an Asian region that has been struck with many disasters, as well as international political conditions, personnel issues and the role of the proposed medical ship in disaster aid.

ASMeW Chairperson Shigetaka Asano delivered a lecture regarding the multi-functionality expected from an advanced international health/medical ship. Chairperson Asano introduced an ASMeW Pledge which vowed to create social awareness in order to promote the construction of an international health/medical ship, to develop a ship model and medical model through a fusion of advance science and technology, to cooperate in the cultivation of international medical professionals who will be active mainly onboard the ship, and to promote an industry-academia-government alliance through citizen participation in these projects.

President Kaoru Kamata gave the following statement: "I believe that universities should aid victims and promote the reconstruction of our country through academics and research. Professor Asano has emphasized the need for a hospital ship since before the Great East Japan Earthquake. I believe that this necessity has been strongly recognized by Japanese citizens after the recent disaster. I hope that this symposium will bring us a step or two closer to realizing the construction of a hospital ship."

Related Links

ASMeW Release