Thank you for visiting the homepage of the Japanese Ophthalmological Society (JOS).
On the 17th of April this year I assumed the post of president of the JOS following my predecessor, Professor Tetsuro Oshika who had completed his term of office.
With a history of over 120 years since its foundation, and a membership of over 15,000 this is a large organization. I believe the JOS has exceeded the pace of world trends and, in electing me as their first woman president I feel the weight of the burden placed upon me. I have served 5 terms over ten years as a member of the board and out of these 4 terms over eight years as an executive director which, on my monthly visits to Tokyo served as my tutorials. I believe that now I am well placed to shoulder the burden and can be trusted to perform my duties. I should like to ask all our members to assist and advise me in executing my task.
As this message is published we are entering the new Reiwa era which instills us with a feeling of a fresh start. In 2013 the JOS became the only branch of the Japan Medical Association to be declared a public interest foundation launching itself into the orbit of contributions to support the public. As part of this undertaking it is important that the JOS will take a long view at the future of ophthalmological care. The JOS has adopted the specialist doctor system of the Japanese Medical Specialty Board which poses a challenge in a Japanese population that is believed to be decreasing. It is not always possible to evaluate the future specialist by educational standards and I believe that other than narrow specialist specifications need to be considered. As our society continues to age we need to take into account the well-being of the elderly and seek evidence showing improvements to the well-being of individuals in our society. I wish and hope for the full cooperation of all members, starting with the Executive Board, Strategic Planning Board, members of the various standing committees, the councilors, as well as the general membership. Ideas and plans for specific project regarding the appropriate numbers of specialist ophthalmologists will be launched with the help and initiative of the ophthalmologists in our society.
I am planning to continue the discussions and efforts made to improve the English language proficiency within the society so as to enhance the international profile of Japanese ophthalmology. The growing interest in increased overseas presence and studies abroad is not limited to ophthalmologists. We can see the substantial growth in the Asia-Pacific Association of Ophthalmology (APAO) and the Asia-Pacific Vitreo-retina Society (APVRS) while at the same time it seems that our bonds with the American and European specialists are also increasing. Using the connections that existed up to now, I am planning to increase the relations with both the Asia-Pacific region and The US and Europe and prompt an increasing number of ophthalmologists to participate in international conferences and become active in the international scene. I am also planning to take more advantage of the Ophthalmic News and Education Network (ONE) of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) which we have joined.
Using the International Symposium that is at present part of the yearly conference of the JOS and the JOS International Young Investigator Award program for young Asian physicians, I wish to promote exchanges among our specialists and young doctors and assist in the promotion of international meetings of the various specialties in our area. A great many of the 20,000 from around the world who had participated in the WOC2014 Tokyo are still talking about the fond memories they took home. The next conference will be in Cape Town in 2020 which seems to be an interesting and stimulating venue.
The JOS has two conferences a year, the Annual Meeting of the JOS every spring and the Annual Congress of Japan Clinical Ophthalmology every autumn. It is in the Annual Meeting of the JOS that the important programs dealing with future plans and direction of the JOS are discussed and I should like to urge all members to attend this event.
We are planning to re-design the society's homepage. The homepage already contains relevant updates, information for medical students and researchers who may wish to join our society as well as information of relevance to our members. We wish to enhance this and add a platform for information gleaned following conferences, as well as a platform for sharing and exchanging information among ophthalmologists. To improve the international profile mentioned before we need to add information in English on our homepage.
Although the main task of steering the society falls to the Executive Committee, planning our work and activities involves the Strategic Planning Committee. The Strategic Planning Committee is charged with the task of formulating the development of the JOS from a long-term view planning for an efficient and productive development. It is actively pursuing its task. The committee is managed by Professor Tatsuro Ishibashi with Professor Yuichi Ohashi and has five subcommittees.
The first of these subcommittees deals with manpower development and the training of specialists. They are dealing with the precise demands for future first-class specialists and the ways in which the necessary training can be facilitated. I also expect the revised homepage to include forms of e-learning.
The second subcommittee deals with international affairs and research. The JOS established the International Young Investigator Award in 2018 to honor selected foreign researchers. The recipient presented the plenary discussion in English together with the recipient of the 2019 JOS Encouragement Award. The committee is chaired by Professor Mitsuru Sawa who, as editor in chief of the Japanese Journal of Ophthalmology oversaw the improvement in the journal's performance and an increase in its impact factor ratings.
The third subcommittee is charged with strengthening the organization and the medical insurance system and has a diverse area of responsibility. It works to strengthen ties with related organizations, create new guidelines for clinical practice, improving the working environment for practicing ophthalmologists; to which ends it has been distributing questionnaires.
The fourth subcommittee deals with policy proposals and enlightenment. An experimental symposium is planned for the 2019 Annual Congress of Japan Clinical Ophthalmology. and the 2020 Annual Meeting of the JOS conference in which executive officers, specialist physicians from various disciplines as well as researchers will participate. We are in the last steps of coming up with the "buzz word" for Ophthalmology.
The fifth subcommittee, "Next Generation Medicine ( AI, big data, distant medicine)", works to support the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)'s research project on the foundations of ICT/ artificial intelligence employment in the creation of an images' database for future ophthalmological applications. The project started at 21 universities with the financial backing of AMED and aims to establish the future use of AI in automated diagnosis which is a topic that the JOS needs to consider as well.
I believe that as an academic association we need to use research and education to promote better ophthalmological practice and strive to improve the well-being of all people. I wish and hope for cooperation and exchange with the different associations and societies related to our work. As the JOS has decided to limit the age of councilors to 65, our next board will see younger faces. We need all the support and help we can muster to avoid being carried by the current of international ophthalmology and of Japanese medical practices. I hope we can expect all the help and encouragement from our membership.
President, the Japanese Ophthalmological Society