Tokyo Tech News
Tokyo Tech News
Published: October 27, 2023
Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Masahito Moriyama and his delegation visited Ookayama Campus on October 13 to speak to students, learn more about the Institute's current efforts in education and research, and discuss Tokyo Tech's plans to merge with Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) to form a new university, tentatively named Institute of Science Tokyo.
Accompanied by Tokyo Tech President Kazuya Masu and TMDU President Yujiro Tanaka, Moriyama and his Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) colleagues began their tour with a visit to Hisao & Hiroko Taki Plaza, Tokyo Tech's flagship student exchange hub. In the workshop area, the visitors met Institute for Liberal Arts (ILA) Dean Taro Yamazaki, who shared an overview of the dynamic core components of a Tokyo Tech education. Specific topics included the Tokyo Tech Visionary Project taken by first-year students, the Liberal Arts Final Report completed in the third year, the Leadership Workshop offered to first-year master's program students, and the Cross-Boundary Liberal Arts Course provided to doctoral program students. All these approaches aim to combine enhanced social skills, humanity, and creativity to develop individuals with a vision for the 21st century who aspire to build a better future society.
After this, Moriyama sat down for a lively discussion with seven students from Tokyo Tech and TMDU, who shared their expectations for the new university. They also expressed to the minister their positive views on liberal arts education. Some stated that it deepened connections through discussions with students from various fields, while others felt it helped them absorb knowledge which they were lacking. Yet others noted that the liberal arts facilitated communication and cooperation across disciplines, and students stated that they wanted to utilize these abilities to enhance collaborations across various professions after entering the workforce.
Moved by the students' aspiration and confidence, Moriyama expressed hope that his younger contemporaries would development into professionals who strongly support the development of Japan. He stated that, while learning a specialization was important, studying the liberal arts was also useful as they helped to connect people. He stressed that people skills would become increasingly meaningful in the future, and developing into individuals that counterparts want to meet again was crucial.
The minister also visited Tokyo Tech Front, where he learned about the medicine-engineering collaboration already underway between Tokyo Tech and TMDU. Professor Yoshihiro Miyake and Assistant Professor Hirotaka Uchitomi from Tokyo Tech, together with Lecturer Takaaki Hattori from TMDU, briefed the minister on joint research to support early-stage diagnosis of Parkinson's disease using ultra-sensitive acceleration sensors. The minister witnessed a live demo of gait analysis utilizing a wearable accelerometer, and showed strong interest in the two universities' joint pursuit of clinical applications. During the Q&A session, Masu highlighted the importance of not only research on sensors but also clinical applications, and Moriyama expressed his high expectations for the development of the project, both in terms medical insurance coverage and diagnostic support.
Before concluding his visit, Moriyama joined a roundtable discussion with Masu and Tanaka to discuss the expectations for Institute of Science Tokyo. Masu and Tanaka expanded on one of the main goals of the new university — the application of a renewed convergence science approach to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and the creation of new academic fields — and introduced to the minister the Tokyo Tech Future Chronology, a collection of desirable future scenarios envisioned by the Laboratory for Design of Social Innovation in Global Networks (DLab) and members of the public.
Minister Moriyama expressed both surprise and respect regarding the progressive efforts of Tokyo Tech and TMDU, and emphasized his desire to help with the development of the new university. He hopes that, in an era in which academic connections and networks are paramount, Institute of Science Tokyo will evolve into an advanced model for Japan that enhances the competitiveness and potential of the nation.
At a press conference held by the minister on October 17, Moriyama stated, "I visited Tokyo Institute of Technology last week. In addition to meeting President Kazuya Masu and Tokyo Medical and Dental University President Yujiro Tanaka, I held discussions with students from both universities. I observed research findings born from the medicine-engineering collaboration between the two universities, and exchanged opinions with the presidents and other executive board members. The presidents also shared their expectations and enthusiasm regarding the upcoming integration. Based on this site visit, MEXT will work closely alongside both universities to support them in their efforts."