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consists of 46 member societies covering geography, geology, geophysics and space and planetary sciences. The cumulative number of JPGU members is about 40,000, and its annual spring meeting held every year in May in Makuhari (east of Tokyo) offers more than 3,000 presentations and attracts over

4,000 participants.

The move to unification is, however, not just a recent phenomenon.

As early as 1990, five

geophysics societies (Geodesy, Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, Planetary Sciences, Seismology, and Volcanology) started the joint spring meeting. These meetings, hosted by voluntary groups at various universities, were coordinated by a standing committee headed by Yoshimori Honkura. The same five societies merged the two journals in 1997, Journal of Geomagnetism and Geoelectricity and Journal of

Physics of the Earth, to form a more cross-disciplinary joint journal Earth, Planets, and Space.

The

founding editor of this journal was again Yoshimori Honkura. However, as the joint meeting grew in size every year, voluntary groups based in a university faced increased difficulty hosting and organizing it. In 2001, Yozo Hamano and others in University of Tokyo took the initiative in forming an organization with the aim of carrying out the joint meetings, which was the foundation for the JPGU formed in 2005. The SCJ is also encouraging this sort of joint efforts by multiple academic societies, so that they are not restricted to the field of earth and planetary sciences, but similar efforts to unite many small societies are on-going in other disciplines such as dentistry and chemistry.

How this move affects the activities of the earth and planetary science community in the long run is still unknown. But there is no turning back, and we hope that it fosters exciting progress in scientific research through more intensive communication among the different subfields. The global problems we face today, such as climate change or the mitigation of large scale natural hazards, require multidisciplinary approach in any case. The unification of earth and planetary science should provide more research opportunities to these complex and challenging problems.

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