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Greeting from the executive President

Inaugural Address from the President of the Japanese Society of Neurology

Ryosuke Takahashi
President of the Japanese Society of Neurology
Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurology,
Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine

Ryosuke Takahashi

I am Ryosuke Takahashi, Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurology, Kyoto University. I took over as Executive President of the Japanese Society of Neurology (JSN) after the resignation of Dr. Mizusawa in that role upon the fulfillment of his term at the end of the 55th Annual Meeting of the JSN. I would like to extend my warmest greetings to all members of the JSN.

In providing treatment, neurologists must strive daily to keep up with the latest findings for a vast range of diseases, involving everything from muscles to the brain, including stroke, dementia, epilepsy, headache, neurodegenerative disoeders such as Parkinson's disease, neuroimmunological diseases, and neuromuscular diseases. This is the crucial mission imposed on neurologists, who do not deal with internal organs, but rather with the nervous system, which functions as a finely integrated system that governs the whole body. Neurologists who can accurately diagnose systemic disorders that show neurological symptoms are also valuable as "physicians examining the entire body." One of the roles of the JSN is to educate reliable neurological specialists so that they may contribute to the world, while at the same time providing specialists with rich opportunities for lifelong learning.

That said, the "neurology" or "Shinkei-naika" in Japanese for diagnosis and treatment has only had a short history in Japan and is not yet well-known among the Japanese people. There are still more than 10 medical universities that do not have discrete neurology departments. The JSN must strive to convey the importance of neurology to the world in various forms and raise the status of neurologists. It is also essential to continue working hard to expand insured treatments and increase remuneration for medical services; these have not yet caught up to neurological treatment, which is advancing in leaps and bounds.

As one field of clinical neuroscience, neurology also plays a central role in propelling research on brain/neurological diseases. Conquering brain diseases is one of the most crucial challenges Japan must undertake to build a country in which its citizens live long, happy, and healthy lives amidst a super-aged society. Despite its short history, the JSN is composed of members in a wide variety of specialist fields producing world-class research results, and the level of neurological research in Japan is among the best in the world. The JSN brings together all this wisdom to create a think-tank for solving problems. I would like to outline its primary research objectives.

Under the leadership of past presidents, the JSN adapted flexibly to the demands of the age and developed smoothly. Particularly over the past eight years, as the JSN reached its 50th birthday under the leadership of Dr. Shigeki Kuzuhara and Dr. Hidehiro Mizusawa as Presidents, the Society experienced a groundbreaking age. First, it transformed into a general corporation, and a new system was adopted whereby the board of representatives and executive board members are now elected by vote. This new system promises JSN members a more personal bond to the Society and greater interest in its directions, resulting in a change in consciousness. In addition, under the direction of the General Manager, roles are now better distributed among staff in the JSN office to ensure transparent and efficient management, so that the Society can flexibly respond to the duties that continue to grow year by year. A significant step forward was also made when fiscal stability was restored to enable proactive engagement in new endeavors.
Given this background, the publication of the long-awaited English language journal, Neurology and Clinical Neuroscience, with executive board member Shoji Tsuji as the Executive Editor, was particularly notable as a historic step towards internationalization of the JSN.
These past two years, the JSN took on the major objective of bidding to host the World Congress of Neurology (WCN) 2017 and received the significant task of modifying the specialist doctor system. The previous President, Dr. Mizusawa, took on both these tasks with the utmost dedication, together with the many JSN members, and successfully won the bid to host the WCN. In the latter task, the JSN has approached a more desirable direction than the initial plan.

As we enter a new era, I hope we will first and foremost strive as a united Society towards the success of the upcoming WCN2017. The WCN held in Kyoto in 1981 had a significant impact, instilling a global perspective in the minds of the young neurologists who would later became the executives of the JSN. There is concern at present that Japan's young people are too "inward-looking", resulting in a trend towards fewer people studying abroad. It is my hope that many young JSN members will participate in the WCN2017 to ensure it becomes a spark for propelling the internationalization of the JSN, and I am developing a strategy to achieve that aim.

With regard to the new specialist doctor system, the executive board, board of representatives and the JSN as a whole have participated in exciting discussions. It has been an excellent opportunity for the JSN to consider the approaches that should be taken by specialists in neurology. As I have already mentioned, the history of neurology in this country is only brief and awareness of this field remains rather poor. This problem also casts a shadow on Japan's neurology specialist doctor system. In that sense, further advancement of the JSN is essential for the creation of an ideal neurology specialist doctor system. We need to continue devoting ceaseless efforts to that aim. Your continued understanding and cooperation would be greatly appreciated.

I believe that creating a society of neurology that is highly accessible and shared by everyone is the most effective strategy for ensuring a brighter and more dynamic future for the JSN. I will devote all my efforts to the further development of the JSN.