On Thursday, May 5th, Secretary General of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Mr. Katsuya Okada and several other members of the DPJ Consultative Council on Okinawa visited OIST. The DPJ is the largest party in Japan's governing coalition, and Secretary General Mr. Okada - the former Minister for Foreign Affairs - currently serves as the Chair of the Consultative Council.
The program began with an overview of OIST by Dr. Jonathan Dorfan, President-elect of OIST Graduate University, who emphasized how OIST has strengthened its interdisciplinary approach with recent faculty recruitment in Physics. He also stressed the institution's commitment to providing world-class advanced research equipment and facilities. Dr. Satoshi Mitarai, Independent New Investigator of the Marine Biophysics Unit, explained that Okinawa's distinctive location - at the northern limit of a coral reef distribution containing deep-sea hydrothermal vents - makes it an excellent place for marine environmental research.
The visitors were then led on a tour of the campus. Structural Cellular Biology Unit Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Ulf Skoglund talked about the appeal of OIST’s interdisciplinary research, and Marine Genomics Unit PI Dr. Noriyuki Satoh and researcher Dr. Chuya Shinzato - a native of Okinawa - introduced their ongoing research on decoding the coral genome. Responding to a question about their research’s potential contribution to industrial development, Dr. Satoh explained that they were also conducting genome research on Actinomyces, and they expect those findings to be applied to the development of pharmaceutical drugs.
During the visit, Mr. Okada remarked, “This new project [OIST] is important for Okinawa’s future, and I hope for its successful development. We fully support it.”
The DPJ members who visited OIST with Mr. Okada are as follows:
- Mr. Koichi Takemasa, member of the House of Representatives
- Mr. Yuji Fujimoto, member of the House of Councillors
- Mr. Mitsuo Mitani, member of the House of Representatives
- Mr. Chobin Zukeran, member of the House of Representatives
- Mr. Shokichi Kina, former member of the House of Councillors
- Mr. Yasuhiro Aragaki, member of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly
- Mr. Tadashi Uezato, member of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly
- Mr. Kentaro Matayoshi, member of the Urasoe City Council