Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019
Science and Technology

MEXT Minister HAGIUDA Koichi visited the city of Tsukuba in Ibaragi Prefecture to attend the opening ceremony of the 2019 Tsukuba Conference. The conference held for the first time this year, aims to gather young researchers from various countries and fields of expertise to discuss various issues in society, and science and technology and to develop action targets for individuals and proposals for solutions to society’s problems. Minister Hagiuda said he anticipates today’s discussions and exchanges will help lead the participants to become leaders in their fields both domestically and overseas and help contribute to the development of humanity and society.

The minister then visited the University of Tsukuba, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK).

At the University of Tsukuba, Minister Hagiuda first inspected the research and development of the HAL Robot Suit which is a world-first wearable robotic suit that can improve, support, expand and regenerate the human’s bodily functions. Project leader YOSHIYUKI Sankai explained the fruit of his work and outstanding issues. The minister next inspected the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (IIIS). IIIS Director YANAGISAWA Masashi explained the institute’s aims to solve the mystery of sleep and to develop treatments for sleeping disorders.

At the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, former JAXA Astronaut and now JAXA Vice President WAKATA Koichi guided the minister through the exhibits and explained about Japan’s artificial satellite rockets and Japan role in the International Space Station (ISS). JAXA Astronaut ONISHI Takuya and other astronauts then explained about the control rooms for the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo for the ISS, the control room H-II Transfer Vehicle Konotori which just docked with the ISS on September 29th, and the latest information on Japan’s contribution to carrying out experiments in the ISS on protein crystallization in space which may lead to the development of new drugs.

In the final leg of his tour, the minister visited KEK which uses accelerators to collide electrons with positrons to answer the most basic questions about the universe, the Super KEKB collider which aims to discover new laws in physics and the KEK IMSS Photon Factory which aims to understand the structure and function of materials including biological samples.

After the visit, Minister Hagiuda said MEXT will continue to support projects to advance Japan’s research and development, and stressed MEXT will work to help explain more clearly how such science and technology research will change citizens’ lives. The minister said both experiments carried out in space and light experiments aim to elucidate the origins of life, the cause of diseases to help advance research to develop new drugs. The minister said he hopes to show more clearly how these efforts will help improve people’s lives by acting as a catalyst to cure diseases, promote industries and create more jobs.

Photo 1        [Scenes from 2019 Tsukuba Conference]



Photo 2        [Minister inspects JAXA]






Photo 3        [At the University of Tsukuba]




Photo 4        [At the KEK]