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Message From The Chairperson

February 25, 2013

Choitsu Sakamoto
Chairperson of the Board of Directors,
Japanese Gastroenterological Association

I would like to begin by informing you that I completed my first two-year term as Chairperson of the Board of Directors at the completion of the Board of Delegates meeting during the 9th JGA Annual Meeting in January 2013, and that I was re-elected as Chairperson for the next two years during the special Board of Directors meeting held the following day.

Some of the proposals I put forth two years ago were passed during the Board of Directors and Board of Delegates meeting in January, and will be implemented from this year. First of all, our rules and the Operational Regulations for Articles of Incorporation have changed. For us to make a significant leap forward to become an academic association with a mature organization, I immediately started drawing up rules for selecting our board members when I assumed my post as Chairperson two years ago. I touched upon this in my “Message From The Chairperson” at that time as follows: “There are currently no clear rules about the board member election, and we will soon need to clarify the system for the election of delegates and trustees, as well as their terms.” As a result of heated discussions over the last two years, we have decided to select our delegates by election. Until now, candidate delegates meeting certain requirements were recommended by the Human Resources Committee, but from now on, they will be voted among candidates who fulfill requirements and nominated themselves. We have also established the ratio of delegates to be 10% of all members, and currently we need 70 more delegates to achieve this number. This reform can be called a democratic method of selecting delegates that would be an important step toward the future of our association. From now on, as delegates will be voted by the support of members, some current delegates may not be elected again after they fulfill their present term if they would not have enough member support. In addition, much has been debated about how we should elect board members. For the time being, we will nominate them through discussions during meetings of Human Resources Committee and Board of Directors, and decide and approve at the Board of Delegates meeting. We have also decided to shorten the term of office of the Chairperson from the current maximum three terms to two terms, with each term lasting for two years. I am therefore pleased to say that our discussions over the past two years have helped establish the Operational Regulations for Articles of Incorporation of our association, building a common awareness among board members with regard to running the organization.

This year, we will also be starting grants for clinical studies. This is a proposal I made two years ago, which is now going to be realized. The aim is to contribute to the funding of multi-center clinical studies which is inadequate in Japan. The Health Labour Sciences Research Grant cannot be called a normal research grant, as it restricts themes to a very narrow scope. With this background, we look forward to applications for this new grant from many research teams.

We will also start the long-awaited specialist system. Although it will only be temporary, it feels that we are finally able to realize this long-debated system. However, it does raise the question, “What exactly is a JGA Gastroenterological Specialist?”, and “How is it different from a Board Certified Gastroenterologist of The Japanese Society of Gastroenterology?”, and discussions are still not sufficient. The JGA was born from the need for an academic gathering specializing in the digestive tract among many doctors and researchers; however, further discussions on the type of specialist to be sought after are required.

With kind regards,

Choitsu Sakamoto



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