Shigeki Sasaki, Ph.D.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan
In April 2021, I was appointed President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan, and 2022 will be my second year as President. I feel an increasing sense of responsibility in light of the historic mission of the Society, which began with its first president, Dr. Nagayoshi Nagai, in 1880, at the dawn of modern Japan. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your continued support in the fiscal year 2022.
The pandemic of COVID-19, a new coronavirus infection, has transformed the world. In our country, signs of a slowdown from September 2021 to the end of the year were short-lived as the sixth wave of omicron mutant strains began to spread from the end of the year to the beginning of the new year, resulting in an even greater spread of infection than before. At the end of February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, a situation that we did not expect, and we cannot help but be saddened by the devastation that is being broadcast daily. This war is affecting international academic exchanges, but above all, we hope that a day of peace will return to the Ukrainian people as soon as possible.
The PSJ plays a central role in academic activities related to pharmaceutical sciences in Japan, supported by 10 science divisions, 8 regional branches, 16 standing committees, 2 special committees and the secretariat. A wide range of activities will be actively continued this year, including publication of three International journals, YAKUGAKU ZASSHI and Farumashia; international exchange activities with FIP (International Federation of Pharmaceutical Sciences), AFMC (Asian Federation of Pharmaceutical Chemistry), and pharmaceutical societies in Germany, Korea, and Canada; collaboration with domestic academic organizations such as Science Council of Japan; and fostering young researchers through Nagai Memorial Research Encouragement Program.
In my 2021 Presidential Address, I asked for the promotion of "interdisciplinary integration" with the aim of strengthening the international competitiveness of pharmaceutical education and research. We believe that "interdisciplinary integration" and "international competitiveness" are policies that should be pursued on an ongoing basis over the long term, not in the short term. The development of mRNA vaccines and antiviral drugs is unfolding at a pace that far exceeds the speed of previous development. In addition, the global upheaval caused by the new coronavirus pandemic and the instability of the world situation caused by the invasion of Ukraine are symbolic of the unstable fluidity of modern society.
Thus, the development of human resources who can play an active role in a society in flux and undergoing drastic changes is an important mission of pharmaceutical education and research in our country. However, while the six-year pharmacy school system initiated in 2006 has been well received in terms of improving the quality of pharmacists, it has also led to a situation that could shake the education and research system of pharmacy. It has become clear that the number of students entering doctoral programs at graduate schools and employment at universities is extremely low, and the number of university faculty members, both in basic and medical sciences, who should be training the next generation of human resources, is considerably insufficient. This is a serious problem that shakes the very foundations of pharmacy in Japan, and we would like to work together with related organizations to develop countermeasures.
In FY2022, we will continue to work with Vice Presidents Yoshiharu Iwabuchi and Itsuko Ishii, Masafumi Minami (Annual Meeting), Executive Director Kentaro Yoshimatsu, Advisor Yoshinobu Takakura, and other directors and auditors to further develop the Pharmaceutical Society. We are in the process of revising our website and improving our membership registration system. We look forward to your warm support and cooperation.