| Jun Kobayashi, MD, MPH, PhD
President of the Japan Association for Global Health (JAGH),
Dean/Professor, Graduate School of Health Sciences, University of the Ryukyus
When I succeeded Prof. Dr. Masamine Jimba as President of the Japanese Association for Global Health last January 1, 2023, I resolved to make every effort to create a visible and vibrant society that will move forward in the post-COVID-19 era.
We have positioned ourselves as a group that explores global health as equal partners with many countries beyond academia regarding bilateral aid from Japan. Thus, the name of the organization was changed from “Japan Association for International Health” to Japan Association for Global Health”.
About two decades ago, I was invited to present at the Japan Session at the 100th anniversary meeting of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in the United Kingdom. Now that I think about it, in those days we were trying to figure out how to approach the international health of the UK and the USA. I am proud to say that my presentation had a certain impact, but the question I received was, "Does your research and business come from “the samurai spirit”? From the perspective of the UK, they were more interested in the unique Japanese spirit behind the project than in the academic achievements of integrating the Japanese experience with global strategies and Asian countries.
I have sensed that this global environment has changed dramatically in the last decade. Since the birth of the Society for Global Health in Korea, it has become an important academic group within Asia. More recently, countries such as Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand have established a lot of schools of global health, and their networks have been working toward the establishment of academic societies. The era of international health, which was based on bilateral assistance, has changed to an era in which many countries are learning, researching, and disseminating information on global health. We, the JAGH, would like to further strengthen our ties with more overseas global health-related societies.
Japanese cuisine has become a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. This is because it was constantly updated to meet the needs of the times and accepted by the world while respecting tradition. In the future, Japanese global health will be required to look back on history and constantly create new things in accordance with the times, and it will be necessary to create something unique to Japan and fit to global society.
While always thinking the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic as we move forward, I hope to make the JAGH conference an enjoyable and attractive place for serious discussions by emphasizing internal diversity and global networking.