What's New from the Secretariat January

The 45th Executive Committee meeting was held on January 18. It began with a report that the Field Station Division is now holding discussions on what to do with the Field Stations (FSs), which the Program has maintained, following the completion of the Program. The continuation and further development of the FSs, which are the key element of the Program, is a major issue. It was confirmed that we would first summarize and evaluate the activities carried out during the last five years, and categorize the FSs into those that will be further developed with new funding, those to be continued with their central functions intact, and those whose management will be transferred to local institutions. In other words, we will handle the FSs individually, based on a consideration of their specific conditions. On the state of budget execution, it was reported that things were going more or less smoothly, and it was decided that any division or section that might end up having a surplus or deficit should inform the Secretariat by mid-February.

The Public Relations Section presented a report on the state of Website updates along with the results of an analysis of accesses to the Website. Apparently, at the beginning of the Program, most accesses were from within the campus or in Japan, but recently there have been an increasing number from overseas, originating not only from academic institutions but also non-profit organizations and commercial sites. It was reported that the number of accesses as a whole has increased tremendously. As mentioned earlier, thanks to the efforts of the PR Section, our Website has been given high marks in terms of both contents and structure. In response to this evaluation, there are plans to put the contents onto a DVD after the end of the Program, and distribute it along with a report to people and institutions concerned.

Moving to agenda items, the first discussion dealt with the shift of the management of supplies and equipment. The equipment purchased by the Program naturally needs to be managed in an appropriate manner even after the end of the Program, and it was basically agreed that at this point the custody will be shifted to the department or institute which is currently taking charge of each piece of equipment. It was also agreed that some of the equipment would be placed in the ASAFAS library, which is to open in April 2007. Another item that was discussed and approved dealt with the redistribution of the remaining funds from the Kyoto Symposium and the reserve fund released by the Secretariat.

Finally, there was discussion and approval of the content, structure, format, and number of copies to be printed of the Program Report, which is slated to be published in the end of the fiscal year. It was decided that although the manuscripts would be collected by the end of January and that final manuscripts would be prepared by the end of February, we would wait to send them to the printer until we received notice from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science on the format and contents of the final report.

Just over two months remain in our Program, which has continued for four and a half years. We have only two more Executive Committee meetings to go. Let’s do what we can in the little time we have left. (Ichikawa)

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