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Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - Brenner Unit - Listed 061023 -


Prime Minister Koizumi meets with Prospective President of the Okinawa Graduate School of Science and Technology


Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Action (What's up around the Prime Minister)


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi held a meeting with Dr. Sydney Brenner, a Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology or Medicine and the prospective President of the Okinawa Graduate School of Science and Technology, at the Prime Minister's Official Residence.

The Okinawa Graduate School of Science and Technology is an international school that will undertake educational and research activities of the world's highest standard in the natural sciences, and preparation for its establishment is currently underway. It is expected to become a core research institution that will not only promote science and technology in Okinawa but also play a part in advancing science and technology throughout the nation and that will open to the Asia-Pacific region and eventually to the entire world.

With Mr. Toshimitsu Motegi, the Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs also in attendance, Prime Minister Koizumi extended his wish to Dr. Brenner by saying, "This project is very important for the future of Japan and I intend for the Government as a whole to promote it. I want for the school to become among the world's top class universities." To this, Dr. Brenner said, "It is quite a big task and I think that it is always good to set our goals high. As a first step, I will seek to realize the school as the top institute in all of Japan."

By courtesy of Prime Minister Koizumi's Homepage


Government taps Nobel laureate to head Okinawa graduate school


The Japan Times

February 7, 2004

The government on Friday chose a British molecular biologist and Nobel laureate to head a new graduate school in natural sciences that will be set up in Okinawa.

Sydney Brenner, 77, agreed to accept the post during an early January meeting in the United States with Toshimitsu Motegi, state minister in charge of issues relating to Okinawa and the disputed Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, officials said.

The government will discuss the terms of employment with Brenner, the officials said.

Currently serving as a research professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, Brenner is vice chairman of the ad hoc committee on the establishment of the Okinawa school.

The government says it hopes to make the graduate school, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in the village of Onna in northern Okinawa, the best research and learning institute in the world.

The government had been looking for an overseas Nobel Prize winner to lead and represent the school, which is to be established as a state-sponsored project in fiscal 2005.

The project, unveiled in 2001, was conceived to boost Japan's competence in basic research and to promote the economy in the prefecture, which lags behind the mainland in terms of infrastructure development.

Under the project, a preparatory entity will open a research laboratory in fiscal 2005. It plans to turn the lab into a graduate school once the number of researchers reaches about 50.

The government plans to draw the majority of faculty members and students to the school from abroad. The school will focus on biotechnology and other related disciplines, while the courses will be offered in English.

Brenner was awarded one-third of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2002 for his pioneering 1970s study focusing on how specific genes regulate organ growth.

He shared the prize with H. Robert Horvitz, a U.S. scientist, and John E. Sulston, another Briton.

Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine said in a statement Friday that he was "filled with joy" over the government's decision.

Brenner is "not only a superb scientist but also has a friendly personality," Inamine said. "Okinawa Prefecture will do its best to welcome him as the president of the school."

The Japan Times: Feb. 7, 2004 (C) All rights reserved



Technology school to be built in Onna


The Japan Times


April 12, 2003

A planned technology graduate school in Okinawa will be located in the village of Onna on Okinawa island, Hiroyuki Hosoda, the state minister in charge of Okinawa affairs, said Friday.

The municipal government of Onna, a resort area in the western part of the island, owns 90 percent of the proposed 280-hectare site for the school, making it easy to secure the property for construction.

It beat out the city of Itoman and the village of Kitanakagusuku.

"For the village of Onna, this is a historic day," Mayor Fumiyasu Shikiya said.

Shikiya said he hopes to work closely with the national and prefectural governments so the construction will proceed smoothly.

Scheduled to open in September 2007, the school will be established by the public sector but run privately.

The institute is part of a promotion and development plan for Okinawa in line with a special law that took effect a year ago aimed at narrowing disparities between the mainland and the prefecture, which is lagging behind economically.

Hosoda said there are a few candidates to serve as president and he would like to choose one as soon as possible.

According to the construction plan, about 100 hectares of the land needs to be developed at an estimated cost of 6 billion yen, while the land acquisition cost will run about 3.5 billion yen. The village has offered to lease free of charge the portion of the land it owns.

The graduate school, whose official English name is yet to be decided, aims to become the world's best research institute in the fields of life sciences and nanotechnology.

According to the Okinawa Development Council of the Cabinet Office, which is overseeing the project, all classes at the school will be taught in English.

Nobel laureate Jerome Friedman, a physics professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, heads the international advisory board for the project.

The Japan Times: April 12, 2003
(C) All rights reserved


Onna confirmed for grad. school


The Ryukyu Shimpo News


April 11, 2003

Speaking at a press conference held at the Cabinet Office on the 11th, Okinawa Development Agency Director Hiroyuki Hosoda announced that Onna Village is finally confirmed as the site of the proposed Graduate Science University.

Onna Village is a resort area on the west coast of Okinawa proper, with an abundance of natural environment. It will lend itself quite naturally to the needs of a research community, Hosoda stated.

The municipal government's offer of free land proved one of the most decisive factors in the government's decision.

Hosoda also mentioned the two other sites that had been short-listed. He said that both Itoman and Kitanakagusuku were excellent locations, and that it had been hard to make a choice among them.

The Onna site in all is 280 hectares, the largest of the three. Of the land needed, 87% is municipally owned. Some of the land in question was previously occupied by US military facilities, notably a communications site.

"We have to provide peripheries such as a shopping center and schools for the children of the academics," acknowledged Hosoda.

The minister has several candidates in mind as nominees for the position of first president, and said he would chose before the end of the year.

The land at Onna slopes towards the coast, a cause for some worry that the cost of preparing it for major construction work will be high. A further concern is soil erosion and its impact upon the sea.

An official of the Cabinet Office answered the concerns by explaining, "The natural landscape can be exploited by creating a series of terraces to minimize construction costs.

"On the question of erosion, the latest technological methods can be applied to minimize wash- off into the sea."

In Okinawa, Onna Village office staff declared that it was a historical day for Onna. They had made a banner announcing, "The Graduate University is coming."
(Apr 11 pm ed)



Funds sought for Okinawa university


The Japan Times


August 22, 2002

The Cabinet Office said Wednesday it will submit a fiscal 2003 budget request of 1.93 billion yen related to the establishment of a new university featuring a graduate school curriculum focusing on natural sciences in Okinawa in 2007.

The overall budget for Okinawa development sought by the office has risen 16.4 percent from the current fiscal year to 370.78 billion yen, of which 327.61 billion yen will be allotted toward public investment.

The budget request was unveiled at a meeting of the Okinawa development committee of the Liberal Democratic Party.

Of the 1.93 billion yen earmarked for the university, 1.1 billion yen will be used to fund research grants for scholars, while 240 million yen will be used to fund the design of the university's facilities.

The Cabinet Office will also pursue tax breaks for a foundation that will operate the university.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office is also seeking 370 million yen to promote effective use of vacant lots at U.S. military bases, after these bases, including the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station, are transferred to other sites.

The Japan Times: Aug. 22, 2002
(C) All rights reserved



Okinawa to get new technology university

All the classes will be in English and half the professors will be from outside Japan at the top-flight school.

The Asahi Shimbun


June 21, 2001

An all-English-language science and technology university will be constructed in Okinawa Prefecture within three years, according to the government.

The as-yet unnamed research and graduate-level university will open with 200 students and 50 instructors. Half the teaching staff and student body will consist of people from outside Japan, sources said.

All lectures are expected to be conducted in English.

Construction of the school will provide a welcome shot in the arm for the Okinawa economy, with the government saying it will invest 15 billion yen. An additional 1 billion yen a year will be offered to ensure the university's research budget is sufficient to offer a world-class environment.

Areas of study are to include information and technology, environmental sciences, biotechnology and endemic diseases, the sources said.

Teachers will be hired under direct contract with the university, as is the case in the private sector. This is in contrast to other national universities, where the instructional staff are technically civil servants.

About half the teaching staff will sign five-year contracts and the curriculum will vary, depending on new professors hired by the university. Exchanges between university and private sector researchers will be encouraged.

To attract a top-class staff and an environment conducive to quality research, the university is expected to pay high salaries and provide housing and educational facilities for children of foreign staff members, according to the plan.

The university is a first step in a governmental push to promote science and technology as the nation's economic foundation in the new century.

It is also expected to serve as a model for an ongoing plan to turn national universities into independent corporate entities.

The government wants the southern prefecture to become a center for exchange among Asian countries, making full use of Okinawa's geographical position in the center of East Asia, the sources said.

It is also hoped the university can be an integral part of the future of Okinawa and as such, offer services to the local business sector, including providing science and technological advice and assistance.


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