Center for Science Communication (CSC)
Rush D. Holt, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and executive publisher of the Science family of journals, visited Japan and Northeast Asia, and gave a keynote speech at the opening session of the Science Agora 2016 (held from 3rd to 6th November 2016, at the Odaiba area of Tokyo including the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)). He also took part in a press conference, which was hosted by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and AAAS. The article on his visit to Japan as well as China and South Korea was posted on Science Vol.354 on 25th November 2016.
The article refers to the fact that the Japanese citizens’ confidence in science and technology decreased after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. “If ordinary citizens do not know how science functions, it may reduce public trust in science,” said Holt in his keynote speech at the opening of the Science Agora. JST President Michinari Hamaguchi promised to put forth maximum effort to minimize the isolation of the Japanese science community. Hamaguchi also mentioned that “Japanese scientists tend to be isolated but JST tries to be a gateway between society and science.”
A press conference held jointly sponsored by JST and AAAS brought three high school students who lived in the disaster areas to talk with Holt and Hamaguchi. The theme was “How other countries see the 5 years of reconstruction from the earthquake disaster in Japan” and “Future society drawn by the youths from the affected areas.” In this conference, it was reported that Holt told the students as follows: even apart from their tragic experience and disillusionment, science education should in general present “what we don’t know,” where you can find adventure, challenge and importance of science.