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Scientific Research: Opening the Door to the Future
Chapter 2 Basic Policies for the Promotion of Science
Section 3: Promoting International Scientific Exchange and Cooperation
2. Frameworks for Diverse International Scientific Exchange

The promotion of international scientific exchange depends primarily on cooperative relationships among researchers. As outlined below, a variety of international cooperation frameworks have been created to facilitate exchange.

(1) Cooperation with International Organizations and Scientific Groups

International cooperative research plans coordinated by international scientific organizations like the International Council of Scientific Union (ICSU) provide unified frameworks for studies and information exchanges between participants from countries having a range of degrees of scientific advancement. Active participation in such programs is very worthwhile.

Japan is participating in a number of research programs proposed by international organizations, primarily in fields relating to the global environment that involve joint monitoring on a global scale, such as the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) program, the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) Asian Monsoon Experiment Program (GAME), and the Global Change Impacts on Terrestrial Ecosystems in Monsoon Asia (TEMA) program, which is part of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP).

Japan has long participated and cooperated actively in science programs conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in fields like oceanography, ecology, and hydrology. In particular, as a facet of efforts to raise scientific standards and strengthen networking and cooperation among researchers and research organizations, Japan has made financial contributions to UNESCO in the form of Funds-in-Trust to promote research and training activities in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has established the Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP), which exchanges information on science and technology policies in member nations and makes recommendations about the solution of various domestic and international problems affecting research and development. Some working groups have been set up under the CSTP. The Megascience Forum, for example, was created in conjunction with the growth of international cooperative research in megascience fields, which are beyond the capabilities of individual nations. Members hear reports on developments in various nations and exchange views on issues like international cooperation methods and situations that are hindering international cooperation. Japan participates actively in working groups focusing on fields like nuclear physics and neutron sources. In the Group on the Science System (GSS), Japan is an enthusiastic participant in discussions revolving around evaluation of university research outcomes and universities for the twenty-first century (See Chapter 4, Section 3,1 ). Japan will need to play an even more active role in efforts to solve problems relating to growing internationalization.

(2) Bilateral Cooperation

Japan currently has government-level science and technology cooperation agreements with 32 nations. Activities include meetings of cooperative committees on the development of bilateral exchange, and reviews of joint research projects.

The Tokyo Summit in April 1996 resulted in the "Message from Prime Minister [Ryutaro] Hashimoto and President [Bill] Clinton to the Peoples of Japan and the United States: Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century." In this message, they pledged to promote exchange between young American and Japanese researchers. In line with this initiative. MESSC has raised from eight to 50 the number of American researchers included in Research Experience Fellowships for Young Foreign Researchers. The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) has meanwhile established a special program for American researchers under its Postdoctoral Fellowships for Foreign Researchers. At the same summit conference, the two leaders also agreed to add the "Natural Disaster Reduction Initiative" (expanded to cover natural and man-made disaster reduction in May 1997) to the "Common Agenda: for Cooperation in Global Perspective," and to develop research cooperation between Japan and the United States with a view to reducing earthquake disasters. MESSC is planning and providing support to enable universities in Japan and the United States to conduct organized research into earthquake disasters.

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