Interview: Japanese scientist foresees youth exchanges in science building bridge between China, Japan

Source: Xinhua| 2018-05-08 20:44:08|Editor: ZX
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TOKYO, May 8 (Xinhua) -- With the fast development of its neighbors, Japan should face the reality and strive for win-win cooperation with other Asian countries, especially China, a Japanese scientist said.

People-to-people exchanges are the most effective way of promoting such win-win cooperation, and exchanges in the field of science are an important part, Kazuki Okimura, special advisor and former president of Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The scientist, though over 70, is still active at the frontline of promoting sci-tech exchanges between China and Japan.

To enhance youth exchanges between Japan and other Asian countries, Okimura pushed the JST to launch in 2014 the Japan-Asia Youth Exchange Program in Science, known as the SAKURA Exchange Program in Science.

Every year the program invites thousands of students and researchers under 40 from other Asian countries to visit Japan for academic exchanges.

During their one-to-three-week stay, the visitors go to Japanese universities, research institutions and science facilities and have the chance to talk to Nobel laureates.

In the past four years, around 6,500 Chinese participated in the project, accounting for almost one third of all participants.

The program can serve as a bridge between the two countries' students, researchers and universities, and some of the participants may be part of China-Japan science and technology cooperation in future, Okimura said.

Japan was an economic and technology powerhouse for a long time, second only to the United States. But now other countries, including China, are catching up, he said.

Lauding the consistency in China's science and technology policies, he made a comparison: "While China is making steady progress and spectacular achievements in science and technology, Japan still enjoys certain advantages in some areas."

Therefore, it would be beneficial for both sides to have their youths, who could be scientists and technicians in the future, to communicate with one another and prepare for future cooperation, he added.

Okimura has been instrumental in the establishment of the China Research and Communication Center and forums between the two countries' universities.

For his long-term contribution to bilateral exchange and cooperation in science and technology, Okimura received the 2015 China International Science and Technological Cooperation Award.