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Meeting For American (And Un-American) Researchers

Author: Douglas Tweet, Robert Lewis, Issue: June 1996, Topic: Events

Recently, a monthly meeting for foreign researchers was begun in the Tsukuba area to help make life and work here more profitable. The idea for such a group bounced around for quite a while but has now gotten off the ground at the prompting of the US. Embassy in Tokyo. Currently there are about 4000 Japanese researchers studying in the US. but only about 400 American scientists in Japan. Consequently, for several years the US. has asked Japan to open up more job and visit opportunities.

The Japanese government has subsequently developed numerous new programs, but very few Americans are applying for them. To discuss this problem, ago several of the science staff at the US. Embassy met in April with a number of American researchers who have lived for a while in Tsukuba. The reasons suggested for the lack of interest in coming to Japan included isolation from Japanese colleagues (because of language) and from colleagues in the US. (because of distance). Another major problem is the difficulty of getting a job back in the US. after living here. It is hard to meet contacts and get interviews, and most employers have no interest in the Japanese experience.

As a result of this discussion, it was decided to form a monthly meeting. One of the objectives of our meetings is to provide an opportunity for American researchers to meet fellow researchers and to learn what they are doing in Japan. Another objective is to provide an opportunity to meet people from the American technical business community in Japan. Finally, we would like to provide an opportunity for people to announce items of interest to the other attendees.

To meet these objectives, the schedule for the next meeting is as follows:

Place: Tsukuba Research Consortium (TRC), Hall, 2nd floor (located in Tokodai next to Intel).
Date: Wednesday, June 19, 1996

6:30-7:00 Social "Half-Hour" with pizza & drinks (1500 yen per person)
7:00-7:10 Opening comments by Robert Lewis, Associate Director of TRC
7:10-7:50 "Managing an American Semiconductor Company's Affiliate in Japan": John D'Errico, Vice-President, LSI Logic
7:50-8:30 "Overview of the activities of The Institute for Solid State Physics": Eric Williams, JSPS postdoc, Takahashi Research Group, Institute for Solid State Physics, University of Tokyo
8:30-9:00 Free discussion (announcements, items of interest, etc.)

Typically, we plan to have two short talks each time: One on research (usually by a member) and one from a business or governmental perspective.

Future meetings are planned for July 17, none in August, and thereafter the first Wednesday of every month; Sept. 4, Oct 2, etc. The British Chamber of Commerce has had a similar very active and successful group going since 1984 in Tokyo, with the politically-incorrect name of STAG (Science and Technology Action Group)(even though women are allowed!). So as not to conflict with STAG, meetings for this new group (which has yet to decide on a snazzy name) will mainly be held in Tsukuba at TRC. Although STAG is primarily a UK organization, it has many non-British members, including several of the participants in the new US. meeting. Similarly, participation in the new group is open to all. We are hoping to attract scientists, engineers, and business people from universities, government laboratories, and technically oriented corporations.

Because of the need to order food in advance, if you plan to attend the June 19 meeting, please inform Robert Lewis of your attendance by noon June 19 (lewis[at]trc-net.co.jp, Fax: 0298-47-8900, or Tel: 0298-47-8711). If you need information on how to get to the Tsukuba Research Consortium, please ask Robert Lewis to send you the information by facsimile. Please include your fax number. We are looking forward to seeing you at the meeting.

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