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ISC and its partners organised the 9th edition of the Science Summit around the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) on 12-29 September 2023.
The role and contribution of science to attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be the central theme of the Summit. The objective is to develop and launch science collaborations to demonstrate global science mechanisms and activities to support the attainment of the UN SDGs, Agenda 2030 and Local2030. The meeting will also prepare input for the United Nations Summit of the Future, which will take place during UNGA79 beginning on 12 September 2024.
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Tuesday, September 26 • 8:00am - 9:30am
[VIRTUAL] COVID in Okinawa: How a Remote Island Embraced Science, Technology, and Pandemic Preparedness (260908)

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***JOIN US ON ZOOM (ONLY): Tuesday, September 26, 2023, at 21:00–22:30 JST***
***The program will be in Japanese and English with simultaneous interpretation.***

In the midst of the global epidemic of COVID19, Japan succeeded in keeping the number of deaths low relative to the number of infected people. Furthermore, Okinawa Prefecture, an island located at the southern tip of Japan with a different history and culture from other prefectures and known for its longevity, had an outstandingly high number of infected people in Japan, and while the increase and decrease in the number of infected people showed a different waveform from the rest of Japan, the number of deaths did not increase that much.

The background to this is said to be the PCR testing system, which was about 1.5 times that of the nation as a whole, and a medical system that is historically different from other prefectures. Furthermore, Okinawa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, attracting many tourists from outside the prefecture and abroad. On top of that, the U.S. military base, which occupies 15% of the area of the main island of Okinawa where the population is concentrated, has a large number of military personnel entering and leaving through different routes than the civilian population. A review of the infection situation, countermeasures, and results in Okinawa Prefecture, where unique conditions, including the movement of people in and out of the prefecture, overlap, could serve as a guide for future pandemic countermeasures in other parts of the world.

This session will feature three speakers: a physician who is involved in local and national healthcare policy while working in the medical field in Okinawa Prefecture, a scientist who has worked with healthcare and local communities to develop infection control measures, and a researcher and entrepreneur who is a leader in the field of human computer interaction (HCI) both in Japan and internationally. The panelists will review developments in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, and the world, and consider remedial measures for a possible pandemic in the future. In addition, COVID Disaster will focus on how science and technology, especially digital technology, are significantly changing society and our lives, and will look ahead to a new future in which science and technology will be used to respond to pandemics.

  • Mahesh Bandi, Professor, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) 
  • Yoshihiro Takayama; Medical Doctor, Chubu Prefectural Hospital; and member, Okinawa Expert Task Force
  • Emi Tamaki; Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of the Ryukyus; and CEO, H2Linc.
  • Yoko Shima, Editor-in-Chief, Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper (Moderator/Organizer)

Tuesday September 26, 2023 8:00am - 9:30am EDT