On this occasion I am pleased to announce that the 31st Annual Meeting of the Japan Association for International Health will be held at Kurume City Plaza in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. We invite you to join us in exploring this year’s theme: “The Approach from the Private Sector in International Health.”

Significant headway was made in the world of international health in 2015. In May, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed to the world its Strategy on Global Health Diplomacy, placing global health as a top priority in Japan’s foreign policy. Building on the knowledge and expertise at the country’s fingertips, it aims to “realize a world where every person can receive basic healthcare service.” And in September, the United Nations set Sustainable Development Goals as successors to the Millennium Development Goals previously set in 2000.

As a gathering of experts in the field of international health, the Annual Conference inevitably becomes a place in which education – and responsibility – is passed down to leaders of the next generation. It’s an opportunity not only to exchange, deepen, and promote information, but also to foster appeal within the country and beyond, and as such carries significance for future generations.

Until recently the realm of global health saw the governments of developed countries spearheading support initiatives for developing countries in a one-way fashion, but that trend is beginning to change. We are witnessing a rise in private enterprises supporting developing countries’ needs as part of CSR (corporate social responsibility), as well as organizations utilizing BOP (Bottom of Pyramid) business models in tackling the issue of healthcare in developing countries. In light of this trend, at this year’s Congress, we would like to not only shed light on activities being conducted by NGOs in various areas of international health, but also feature examples of private business and NGO activities regarding topics in healthcare that should be tackled from a global standpoint. And through symposiums and panel discussions we will envision concrete strategies and plans concerning Japan’s contributions of technological skill in the health and medical industry and the way in which Japan is advancing the frontier of global health. In addition, we welcome discussion on the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals, as well as topics that continue to demand attention, from infectious disease management, maternal and child health, and nutrition improvement, to human resources and training, aging societies, etc.

We strive for modesty and financial prudence and adhere to the financial plan, the funds of which primarily come from participation fees. At the same time we are setting the stage for an interactive and fulfilling gathering, with many opportunities to hear presentations from the businesses and organizations currently involved in international cooperation activities. We eagerly await your participation this year.

May 2016

Daisaku Urabe M.D., PhD., St. Mary’s Hospital

President, 31st Annual Conference of the Japan Association for International Health