International Symposium: Toward Development of an R&D Cluster in Okinawa

On October 6, 2010, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Promotion Corporation (OIST P.C.) held an international symposium entitled "International Symposium: Toward the Development of an R&D Cluster in Okinawa."


Opening of Symposium

On October 6, 2010, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Promotion Corporation (OIST P.C.) held an international symposium entitled "International Symposium: Toward the Development of an R&D Cluster in Okinawa." Approximately 180 people, from both home and abroad, attended the event, including three distinguished guests: Mr. Yoshinori Suematsu, Senior Vice Minister of the Cabinet Office; Mr. Hirokazu Nakaima, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture; and Mr. John V. Roos, U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Dr. Jonathan Dorfan, President-elect of OIST Graduate University, gave a welcome address which was followed by an introduction to the symposium by OIST Executive Director Dr. Robert Baughman and remarks by the guests.


Dr. Jonathan Dorfan


Senior Vice Minister Yoshinori Suematsu


Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima


U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos




Welcome and Introduction to OIST Dr. Jonathan Dorfan
President-Elect, OIST Graduate University
Video: English  Japanese
Introduction to the Symposium Dr. Robert Baughman
Executive Director, OIST
Video: English  Japanese
Remarks Mr. Yoshinori Suematsu
Senior Vice Minister, The Cabinet Office
Video: English  Japanese
Remarks Mr. Hirokazu Nakaima
Governor, Okinawa Prefecture
Video: English  Japanese
Remarks Mr. John V. Roos
U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Video: English  Japanese


Keynote Address

In his keynote address "Singapore's Experience: Economic Development with Science and Technology," Mr. Philip Yeo, Chairman of SPRING Singapore and Special Advisor for Economic Development, Singapore Prime Minister's Office, talked about his country's transformation through five stages of development: the labor-intensive 1960s, largely fueled by the relatively low cost of the country's labor force; the skill-intensive 1970s, made possible as workers became better educated; the capital-intensive 1980s, with the promotion of high value-added and capital-intensive industries; the technology-driven 1990s, when technology began to power the growth of Singapore's economy; and the innovation-intensive current stage of the 21st century, when research and development (R&D) have become the engine of the country's economic development in such areas as biomedical sciences, electronics, chemicals and engineering. In describing the Biopolis, Singapore's regional and international biomedical sciences research-development center which opened in October 2003, Mr. Yeo emphasized the importance of both bringing in the best minds from all over the world while also nurturing young talent. Many in the audience were surprised when Mr. Yeo described how promising young international students are supported for their entire graduate training and given full Singaporean citizenship with the condition that they must return to Singapore to work for 5 years after finishing their doctorates. He also emphasized the importance of sustaining economic development by strategically creating a new industrial sector every five years.


Mr. Philip Yeo


Mr. Yeo's Keynote Address
Video: English (Part  1    2 )   Japanese (Part   2 )
PowerPoint: English




Panel Discussion

The symposium ended with a 90-minute panel discussion, moderated by Mr. Mitsuru Miyata, Chief Editor-Medical of Nikkei BP. The opportunities and challenges of developing a thriving R&D cluster in Okinawa and OIST's role as a catalyst were discussed by five panelists - Dr. Hiroaki Kitano, Principal Investigator of OIST, Dr. Sass Somekh, President of Musea Ventures, U.S.A., Mr. Toshiaki Taira, Chief Operating Officer of the Okinawa Industry Promotion Public Corporation, Mr. Yoshiaki Tsukamoto, Executive Director of the Bio Industry Association in Japan, and Ms. Julie Meier Wright, President of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. Mr. Taira began the discussion with an overview of the current status in Okinawa (download), and the resulting interchange addressed topics including the geographical advantages of being at the center of the Asia-Pacific region, Okinawa's similarities with San Diego, and previous experience with R&D development in Japan and abroad. Panelists also mentioned the competition from other established and emerging clusters and expressed expectations for OIST to produce outstanding research results in particular areas that will lead to international recognition, which in turn will result in companies coming to Okinawa to form an R&D cluster with OIST at the center as a catalyst.

Following the Symposium, participants were invited to tour of the new OIST campus and laboratories.


Round-table Discussion


Mr. Toshiaki Taira


Ms. Julie Meier Wright


Dr. Hiroaki Kitano


Mr. Yoshiaki Tsukamoto (center) and Mr. Mitsuru Miyata


Dr. Sass Somekh


Roundtable Discussion
Watch Video:

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Original Japanese-English Audio (No Interpretation)

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  Panelist Bios



  Official Symposium Program



The symposium was followed by a day-and-a-half workshop, in which 35 experts, including 21 from overseas, brought their experience in discussing ways to establish an R&D cluster in Okinawa. Three breakout sessions were held, with each session divided into three topics. Session I discussed issues in R&D cluster development, while Session II focused on how to lay the foundation for innovation and entrepreneurship. Session III explored practical recommendations for innovation and entrepreneurship, which was followed by a summary session attended by all participants.

 Workshop Schedule

Read a report of the symposium and the workshop:    English       Japanese 

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