UCL News


UCL President and Provost Malcolm Grant to visit Japan

18 March 2004

Professor Malcolm Grant, President & Provost of University College London (UCL), will be visiting Japan from Friday 19th to Monday 22nd March.

In the course of the visit, being held to promote closer collaborative links between UCL and Japanese universities and industry, Professor Grant will meet with: Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who studied at UCL in the 1960s; other Japanese alumni of UCL; the President of Osaka Univeristy and Haruo Naito, President and CEO of Eisai, which established a neuroscience research centre at UCL in 1993.

UCL and Japan share strong historical links, going back to 1863, when five young noblemen of the Choshu clan in feudal Japan secretly came to Britain to study at the university, at a time when travel abroad was still strictly forbidden. The young men endured a 130-day journey by sea to reach England and study at UCL, which at that time was the only English university open to all ages and religions.

The five returned to Japan and used their learning to help the nation reap the benefits of the industrial age. Shunsuke Ito, later Prince Hirobumi Ito, became the first and four-times Prime Minister of modern Japan; Bunta Inoue, later Marquis Kaoru Inoue, became Japan's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; Endo Kinsuke became founding Master of the Japanese Mint Bureau; Nomura Yakichi, later Viscount Masaru Inoue became founding President of the Japanese Board of Railways; and Yozo Yamao, later Viscount Yozo Yamao became Secretary of State in Japan's Ministry of Industries, and established Japan's first Institute of Technology.

"Japan has a very special place in the history of UCL, and our relationship with Japan is one that we are very proud of," said Malcolm Grant. "We feel honoured that its former students have included not only the first Prime Minister of modern Japan, Hirobumi Ito, but also its current Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi.

"Looking to the future, UCL is committed to continuing that shared history, both by continuing to recruit students from Japan, and through forming further research links with Japanese companies and universities."

Notes for Editors

1. UCL is widely considered one of the top four universities in the United Kingdom in terms of size and research achievement. UCL was placed in the top 20 in the recent table of the world's top 500 universities, published by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

2. In 2002/3, for the second time running, UCL was allocated more funding (now standing at £68m) through the Government's Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF) than any other UK university.

3. For further information on UCL, or more details about the Japan visit, please contact Dominique Fourniol in UCL's media relations office, on 00 44 207 679 9728.