Masaru KONO Chair, Japanese National Committee for the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
A lthough Japan is one of the nine countries which together formed the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) when it was founded host the General Assembly of the IUGG in our country. in 1919, it took a long In the mean time, the time for us to be able Scientific Assemblies to
of the Associations were occasionally held in Japan since such with IAPSO Assembly of 1970 held in Tokyo, IAGA in 1973
meetings were initiated in 1969. Starting (Kyoto), IAG in 1982 (Tokyo), IASPEI in
1985 (Tokyo), and IAMAS/IAHS jointly in 1993 Finally, the 23rd General Assembly of the IUGG Island.
(Yokohama) held the Scientific Assemblies in Japan. came to Japan and was held in Sapporo, in Hokkaido
In organizing this General Assembly, the Local Organizing Committee (Seiya Uyeda, Chair; Kiyoshi Suyehiro, Secretary-General) devoted significant time and energy for making it a fruitful meeting. With the main theme of “State of the Planet: Frontiers and Challenges”, the Assembly provided a forum to discuss various aspects of the Earth system, with emphasis on interdisciplinary research focused on global
Sapporo, helping make the first ever General Assembly held in Asia a great success.
This year (2007),
the General Assembly visits another founding member country of the IUGG: Italy at Perugia.
Since the IUGG Assembly in 2003, not only the National Committee, but also the geoscience community at large in Japan, experienced substantial changes in organization. Science Council of Japan (SCJ), which is the national adhering body to the IUGG and other ICSU-based Unions, completely reformulated itself at the start of its 20th term (October 2005—September 2008). The result is the discontinuation of the former structure with more than 180 disciplinary committees, among them the
former National Committee for Geodesy and Geophysics acting for the IUGG.
In their place, 30
disciplinary committees were newly created, each covering a field from the literary and social sciences,
medicine and the biosciences, to the physical-chemical sciences and engineering. Planetary Sciences (EPS) Committee is one of these 30 disciplinary committees, under National Committee for the IUGG is created as a subcommittee.
Earth and the present
The EPS Committee of the SCJ, unlike the old National Committee for Geodesy and Geophysics, covers all the fields related to the earth and planetary sciences, including geophysics, geology, geography,
planetary sciences, and others.
Consequently, under the EPS Committee, there are subcommittees acting
as the National Committees for the IUGG, IUGS (International Union of Geological Sciences), INQUA
(International Union of Quaternary Research), and IGU (International Geography Union).
because of the VERY international nature of the earth and planetary sciences, the EPS Committee has more than twenty other national committees for various international organizations and programs, such as SCOR (Scientific Committee of Oceanic Research), IYPE (International Year of the Planet Earth), and so on.
The reorganization of the SCJ not only altered the national committee structure but also now influences the scientific community in fundamental ways. The Japanese community for earth and planetary sciences were traditionally subdivided into medium to small sized academic societies, each covering narrow field. For example, there was not a single unified geophysics society, such as the AGU in the USA or EGU in Europe. Instead, there are societies more or less corresponding to the Associations in the IUGG (Geodetic Society for IAG, Seismological Society for IASPEI, etc.), and even to their subdisciplines (Snow and Ice Society). However, because of the reorganization of the SCJ and others, the need for unity across the breadth of the earth and planetary sciences became widely recognized. The result was the formation of the Japanese Geosciences Union (JPGU) in May 2005. The JPGU now