Obituary: Dr. Akito Arima, Vice Chair of the OIST Board of Governors

OIST is saddened by the death of Dr. Akito Arima on December 7, 2020.

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The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) is saddened by the death of Dr. Akito Arima on December 7, 2020 at his home in Tokyo at the age of 90. We send our sincere condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed by all who knew him.


Dr. Akito Arima, giving his remarks at the inauguration ceremony of OIST on November 19th, 2011.

Dr. Arima had served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Promotion Corporation (OIST) since September 2005, and had also served as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors and a member of the OIST Board of Councilors since the founding of OIST in November 2011.

Dr. Arima, a nuclear physicist, served as President of the University of Tokyo from 1989 to 1993, President of RIKEN from 1993 to 1998, and Minister of Education from 1998 to 1999. In 1999, he also served as Minister of State for Science and Technology, and held a number of other posts. Minister of Science and Technology Policy, Okinawa and Northern Territories Policy, Koji Omi, who joined the Koizumi Cabinet in 2001, consulted Dr. Arima for advice on measures for Okinawa's development, and his advice at this time led to the idea of building the best university in Okinawa from scratch. (From Koji Omi, "Tenpu Philosophy in Practice," PHP Research Institute, 2010)


The members of OIST BOG visited Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in October 2013. From left: Dr. Cherry Murray, Dr. Tim Hunt, Dr. Jerome Friedman, Dr. Torsten Wiesel, Mr. Koji Omi, Dr. Akito Arima, Dr. Jonathan Dorfan and Dr. Robert Baughman.

Since then, Dr. Arima played a central role in the path to OIST's founding, participating in discussions with intellectuals from around the world, from the initial conceptualization stage to the creation of OIST. As Vice Chair of the Board of Governors since OIST's founding in November 2011, he has been instrumental in setting the university's policies and operations. Speaking of OIST in 2019, Dr Arima said “Amazing, I often say my dream was realized.”


Dr. Akito Arima, attending the inauguration ceremony of OIST, which was held on November 19th, 2011. From Center left: Dr. Akito Arima, Dr. Sydney Brenner, Dr. Torsten Wiesel.

OIST President Dr. Peter Gruss said, "I could always turn to Dr. Arima for advice and assistance. He helped me and OIST to be better incorporated into the Japanese University system. He will be sorely missed.”

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