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Greeting from the executive President

Inaugural Address by President of the Japanese Society of Neurology

Tatsushi Toda
President of the Japanese Society of Neurology
Professor, Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo

 It is a great honor to be appointed the 9th President of the Japanese Society of Neurology after the 59th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Neurology, succeeding Past President Ryosuke Takahashi who completed his term of office. On this occasion, I would like to greet members of the Society with this short message. The Society can be traced back to the "First" Japanese Society of Neurology founded in 1902, and we have had a long history of over 116 years. I am indeed privileged and humbled to serve as President of such a traditional academic society. Upon reviewing the history of the Society and seeing the names of our mentors and past presidents, I recognize once again the magnitude of the role that the Society has played in the development of neurology in Japan.
 As of June 2018, The Japanese Society of Neurology has 9003 full members, 27 resident members, 38 student members, and 5505 board-certified neurologists. With such large membership, our Society is an academic society representative of the medical societies in Japan. In response to the reform of the corporate system in Japan, our Society has become a General Incorporated Association from December 1, 2008. The General Assembly of Members is composed of 561 members (councilors) selected from current full members. The General Assembly of Members was held on May 23, 2018, in which 22 directors and three auditors were elected. The 22 directors include one selected from women members and one from the hospital category, allowing the Society to operate with greater consideration of balance.
 During my two-year term of office, I would like to focus on the following tasks.

Promotion of the Basic Board Certification System for Neurologists

 As you may be aware, through the efforts of Ex-Past President Dr. Mizusawa, and Past President Dr. Takahashi, the Japanese Society of Neurology approved the "Concept and Position of The Japanese Society of Neurology on the Future Direction of Board-Certified Neurologists" as a "Confirmation Item" at the Extraordinary General Assembly of Members held on January 8, 2018. A noteworthy point is that the Japanese Society of Neurology adopted "the basic board certification system for neurologists based on collaboration/cooperation with the internal medicine board certification system" as a future vision. The Japanese Society of Neurology does not intend to single-handedly promote the basic board certification for neurologists, but to obtain understanding from core organizations including the Japanese Medical Specialty Board, the Japan Society of Internal Medicine, and the thirteen medicine societies; request support from the basic board certification area including the Japanese Neurosurgical Society and the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology; and establish dialogue with other related neurological societies such as Japan Stroke Society, Japan Society for Dementia Research, Japan Epilepsy Society, and Japanese Headache Society, as well as with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the Japan Medical Association. Through discussions and obtaining understanding from all parties concerned, we would like to head forward to realization of the vision. Regarding this matter, I would like to proceed in a speedy manner, not only by the President alone, but with cooperation from the task force and all council members of different subspecialties.

Promotion of Internationalization

 Another aspect is to promote internationalization. I would like to further advance internationalization with the goal to become one of the three poles of the world, alongside the leading neurological societies in America and Europe; the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the European Academy of Neurology (EAN). In particular, it is important to involve Asia. In order to obtain the latest information, it is important that we attract more Asian participants to attend the annual meetings of the Japanese Society of Neurology (instead of attending the AAN meetings), not only as invited members but also as general members. To this end, in addition to increasing English presentations in our annual meetings, we need to consider providing member service in English by publicizing the English website and providing English translation of group emails to members. Thanks to the efforts of our mentors, our English-language journal "Neurology and Clinical Neuroscience" has been published since January 2013. We will further improve the journal and aim to acquire impact factor and PubMed citation.

Approach to Social Contribution

 The Japanese Society of Neurology would like to emphasize that the neurology specialty does not only target intractable neurological diseases, but also diverse conditions such as stroke, dementia, epilepsy, and headache. It is a specialty of first contact for many patients with diverse symptoms of the nervous system, and its needs continue to increase in our rapidly progressing aging society. In addition, a neurologist who can accurately diagnose problems of the nerves which distribute all over the body is invaluable as "a doctor who provides medical care for the whole body". From the time of the ex-past president, intense activities have been undertaken to publicize the neurology specialty and the Japanese Society of Neurology both in Japan and overseas. The Neurology Forum was established, and we have supported the activities planned and implemented by the Forum with the objective to publicize the neurology specialty and neurological diseases. Also, at the 4th Board of Directors Meeting of the Japanese Society of Neurology held on September 16, 2017, it was decided to change the Japanese name of neurology as a medical specialty from "Shinkei-naika" (neurology) to "No-shinkei-naika" (brain and neurology). And this decision was also reported at the General Assembly of Members held on January 8, 2018. I would like to continue this policy and implement public relations activities to raise the awareness of "No-shinkei-naika" which is a less well recognized discipline than neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery, targeting the public, doctors in other disciplines, the Japan Medical Association, the administration, and the political and economic communities. This approach is expected to improve clinical practice for "No-shinkei-naika" in Japan; and as a result bring diverse benefits not only in helping those suffering from brain and neurological diseases, but also in improving the status of neurologists, increasing the number of neurologists, promoting research on brain and neurological disorders, improving neurological education, and correcting the gap in geographical distribution of neurologists. Through these public relations activities, it is also possible to increase the numbers of board-certified specialists and members, with the vision to establish independent "No-shinkei-naika" departments in universities throughout the country.

Promotion of Research Toward Combating Neurological Disorders

 There are two features in neurology. The first feature is that traditional methods of history taking and physical examination (including using a reflex hammer) are used in combination with modern methods of MRI and electrophysiological examination to decide the location of the lesion, the name of the disease, and the treatment. In other words, neurologists use neurological examinations to diagnose in depth and to practice the best medical treatment for the patients. The other feature is that the neurology specialty is also a discipline dealing with cutting-edge brain science issues such as elucidation of the mechanisms of intractable neurological diseases and higher brain functions, and is a field that is showing extremely diverse expansion. In other words, as a field of clinical neuroscience, the neurology specialty plays a central role in promoting research on brain and neurological diseases. To combat brain and neurological diseases is one of the most important tasks that we must undertake in order that Japan, which has entered a super-aged society, can build a society with happiness and healthy longevity. The "Proposal for Research Promotion in Combating Neurological Diseases 2018" was prepared, led by the Japanese Society of Neurology, Future Vision Committee. I think it is a very important proposal. I would like to see that the Japanese Society of Neurology gathers wisdom and shows the broad direction of research, while the Union of Brain Science Associations in Japan and the Science Council of Japan collaborate closely to secure a large research budget for the neurology discipline, and at the same time increases of overseas participants in scientific meetings and international students in Japan will lead to collaborative clinical trials and clinical research with Asian countries.
 I will devote my greatest effort over the next two years to work on these tasks. I look forward to your continued warm guidance and support.