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Japan’s PM reaffirms close ties with UCL in meeting with Provost

3 October 2017

Provost and Japan's PM

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has thanked UCL for its role in helping to educate students from his country dating back 150 years to the Choshu Five in the 19th century. His comments came in a one-to-one meeting on Sunday with UCL President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur during a two-week visit to Japan by a UCL delegation to forge new ties and build on historical links.

Mr Abe, who spared the time to meet the Provost despite being in the midst of a snap election he has just called, expressed his appreciation of UCL’s strength in medicine and was pleased to see collaborations between UCL and Japan in these areas.

During the visit the Provost and his delegation which includes experts on dementia and disaster management are meeting with officials and academics from Tokyo, Tohoku, Kyoto and Osaka universities.

Among those in the delegation were Dr Ed Wild, principal clinical research associate at UCL Institute of Neurology, who spoke about Huntington’s Disease families and ground-breaking genetic discoveries at UCL.

"This was an incredibly productive visit, enabling us to share UCL's global neurosciences vision,  explore collaborative opportunities in neurodegeneration, and enjoy intense, enlightening discussions with brilliant neuroscientists." Dr Ed Wild, UCL Institute of Neurology

The UCL delegation, including Dr Ed Wild, meeting the Vice President of the University of Tokyo (Prof Naoko Sekimura)

The visit included meetings with leading companies Eisai Co. Ltd. and Hamamatsu Photonics KK, both close industrial research partners and significant donors to UCL, and with the Governor of Fukushima Prefectural Government. UCL has been working in Fukushima since 2011 when it was hit by the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

Dr Ed Wild meeting a journalist from Japanese news publication Nikkei Asian Review, in the British Embassy in Tokyo

Mr Abe spoke of his fond memories of visiting UCL in 2014 where he was pictured next to the Japan monument in the South Cloisters where the names of the Choshu Five are engraved on the granite next to a Japanese waka (poem).

The Provost told Mr Abe that the Choshu Five embodied the values of UCL of openness, internationalisation, people to people exchanges and contributing to society. The meeting took place during the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum in Kyoto.

An alumni reception was also held at the Ambassador’s residence in Tokyo, to celebrate UCL’s close and continued relationship with Japan going back to the Choshu Five and Satsuma group.

Dr Ed Wild discussing neuroscience research at the British Embassy reception

UCL is now the second biggest recruiter of Japanese students in the UK and the number of Japanese students welcomed every year has remained fairly consistent over the past decade. There are currently over 150 students from Japan enrolled at UCL (2016/17).

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