Naoshi Kondo, President of JSAM
It is my honor to have accepted the presidency of JSAM effective from April 1, 2017, succeeding the previous president, Professor Uchino, Kyushu University. I sincerely admire the leadership of the executive members over the last three terms as they have expanded JSAM as society whose members` research not only includes agricultural machinery and mechanization, but also now food engineering. These changes are reflected in the new name of the society and the reforms to its constitution that have been made to enable effective discussion of these research themes (three groups on agricultural machinery, on IT and mechatronics, and on food engineering). In addition, industry-government-academia relationships have been strengthened; propelling the status of our society to the forefront of discussions and activities related to advanced research and technology in these fields. I need to build on and further accomplishments of JSAM through the development of our members’ cooperation.
Over the last couple of decades, I feel the situation with agricultural machinery products produced by companies, research projects at our institutes, and the education at our universities have drastically changed and diversified: Agricultural machinery markets have shifted from the domestic market in Japan to overseas markets in Asian countries bringing with different technologies and diversified models developed for local regions in Asia. As you know, the climatic conditions in Japan range widely from Hokkaido to Kyushu to Okinawa; from a subarctic climate zone to a subtropical zone, where applicable agricultural machines need to be developed to suit these wide range of conditions. At the same time, these new technologies need to be developed to be as adaptable to a wide variety of conditions and diversified environments.
Although Japanese agricultural machinery and automation technologies have lead the way in Asia so far, newer and more innovative technologies for solving both local and global problems are required in the rapidly developing Asian region. Along with the development of these new technologies, standardization will need to be discussed with governmental administrative offices and research institutes for facilitating their spread throughout the world.
At a different level, many Asian students are enrolling or visiting Japanese universities sponsored by many Ministry of Education, Japan programs and by scholarships from their own countries, which is resulting in the ratio of foreign to domestic students becoming higher and higher, year by year. Many Japanese universities are creating English courses for them in addition to summer or winter programs. With these changes in mind, we have to consider new internationalization efforts between Asian countries and Japan and to establish new industry-government-academia collaboration in Japan.
Meanwhile, the number of Japanese young generation people has decreased by almost half compared to that of 25 years ago due to the low birth rate, and the number of Japanese students studying abroad has been decreasing over the last 10 years. These are worrisome trends when we consider the fostering of international competitiveness. Since a large number of our senior generation will be retiring soon, we, the people in the following generations, need to expand on the technologies developed by them in the fast economic growth period in order to propagate their success in the coming period of Asian food and energy production, and environmental conservation.
One of our important missions will be to grow a younger, global generation that can build on the successes accumulated by our senior generation and develop new, multi-scale engineering applications through the young Asian generations who have come to Japan. Our society is well balanced among industry, government, and academia so that I believe both Asia's and Japan's younger generation can learn how to research, to solve problems, to commercialize, and to spread new technologies related to agriculture and food production through this society’s human networks; regardless of profession. I wish many Asian members to join this JSAM to create the human networks beyond generations and countries in order to work together with us for our future food and environment.
Please do not hesitate to contact us, if you have any questions or requests.