[A Message from New Director]



[Field of Specialization]
Russian foreign policy and Sino-Russian relations
Born in 1962. Doctor of Law, Kyushu Univ., 1995. Joined SRC in 2001.
Visiting Fellow, Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution (2007-2008) , Awardee for 2007 JSPS PRIZE  and 2006 Osaragi Jiro Prize for Commentary

Time sure does fly. Seven years have passed since I joined the Slavic Research Center (SRC). I never imagined that I would one day become the director.

Thanks in no small part to the endeavors of my past predecessors and respectful colleagues, the SRC has become one of the most prestigious organizations of its type in Japan. The SRC continues to serve as a springboard for advancing Slavic Eurasian studies while making contributions to Japan’s area studies beyond our direct research field. The SRC also has the unique status of being a national collaborating institution for Slavic Studies, and was awarded the prestigious twentieth century “Center of Excellence” (1995-2001) and the twenty-first century “Center of Excellence” (2003-2008) by the Ministry of Education and Science. The SRC staff members have received various prizes and awards from research associations, the Japan Society of the Promotion of Science, the mass media and others. Publications and information appearing from the SRC are respected and appreciated, and has even, on occasion, influenced policy. All of us are proud of the SRC and give our best gratitude towards the Japanese public, which always provides the SRC with generous support and understanding.

However, during my ten-month long absence from the SRC, I gained valuable insight and experience as a visiting researcher of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. Because of this experience, I now view the SRC in a new light. Though the SRC promoted its international networks, organizing many multi-national conferences and seminars and publishing books and journals, its exposure and appreciation has yet to reach a global audience. Even domestic issues seem to present a challenge. The on-going reform of Japan’s research system urges us to reconsider administrative efficiency and to build closer relations with other related institutions and foundations. The time has come to rethink SRC management.

It’s too early to discuss the details of our planned innovations, but we are now working toward making “changes” within the institution to maximize our potential and productivity. Getting the SRC right beyond Japan is also a vital task. The SRC is committed to establishing an East Asian community on Slavic Eurasian studies in collaboration with our Korean and Chinese colleagues. The SRC would also like to stretch our research field and regional interaction beyond the former Soviet and East European spaces toward South Asia and the Middle East. The SRC will strive to cooperate with our American and European counterparts in a more effective way.

I look forward to hearing your suggestions on how the SRC could best achieve its goals. The SRC could not survive and develop further without your broad and ardent support. I am eager to work with you together!

August 1, 2008

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