Wednesday, August 3 - Thursday, August 4, 2011
I would like to express my heartfelt sympathies to the people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck on March 11 and offer my condolences to those who lost their lives in the disaster, while praying for the swift recovery of the afflicted area.
We had been engaged in full-scale preparations for the 75th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Japanese Circulation Society (JCS2011), which was scheduled to be held from March 18 to 20. However, in view of the unprecedented scale of the disaster that unfolded in northeastern Japan, as an organization that plays a leading role in supporting emergency medical care in Japan, the Japanese Circulation Society (JCS) made the decision to cancel the Annual Meeting in order to enable our members to prioritize emergency medical activities for the victims of the disaster. However, at the same time, we also received opinions from many of our members urging that the opportunity to announce research results should not be discarded entirely, given the JCS mission to improve academic research and medical care in the field of cardiovascular medicine and nurture young doctors and comedicals who will be responsible for the future of this particular field. In particular, with regard to the 2,362 abstracts that had been selected through a strict screening process from among the 4,096 abstracts originally submitted, as Congress Chairperson I strongly felt the responsibility to ensure that the efforts of the physicians who were scheduled to make a presentation at the Annual Meeting should not be wasted. In addition to general presentations, the Annual Meeting was also scheduled to host a variety of other Late Break Clinical Trial sessions, as well as plenary sessions and symposia that would report the results of the latest clinical and basic research, and accordingly there were concerns that canceling the Annual Meeting entirely could lead to a downturn in academic activities.
On April 9, the members of the board of the JCS held a meeting and deliberated the opinions mentioned above. Although reconstruction of the disaster-affected regions is still in its early stages and the situation at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant remains unpredictable, after giving due consideration to the current situation facing Japanese society it was resolved that JCS2011 should be held during the summer. Following the board's decision I, together with the Organizing Committee members have resumed our preparations for the rescheduled Annual Meeting and are now making concerted efforts towards a summer meeting. The Annual Meeting has been shortened to two days and reduced in scale, requiring significant changes to the program that was originally planned for March. The program has duly been restructured, with priority being given to the research presentations of young physicians, and also incorporating all the 2,362 approved abstracts for general presentations. Among these, of the 852 physicians who were planning to give an oral presentation, 75% have indicated that they are prepared to give their presentation during the new period. With regard to poster presentations, some will be implemented as a moderated poster session, with the remainder being viewed in the meeting venues in the form of E-posters that have been registered online. On the other hand, it has been inevitable that the plenary sessions and symposia, as well as the Special Sessions have had to be considerably reduced. Accordingly, I would like to express my profound apologies to the physicians who had been requested to chair sessions that have ultimately had to be cancelled, and to the various lecturers who had been scheduled to speak at these sessions. In addition, given the unstable situation following the nuclear accident, with the exception of Prof. Michael D. Schneider, who has been requested to deliver the Mikamo Lecture, we have decided not to invite overseas lecturers and delegates. This decision has regrettably resulted in the eleven Special Lectures being cancelled and the Keynote Lecture in the Featured Research Session will also no longer be possible.
On the other hand, an emergency symposium to discuss the ways in which support should be provided for emergency medical care in times of disaster has been newly planned, under the title "Learning from the Great East Japan Earthquake: Medical care in disaster situations." This symposium has been newly planned by Prof. Hiroaki Shimokawa of Tohoku University, who has been directly involved in relief efforts in the disaster-affected areas. We expect that this symposium will send a message of support for reconstruction from the JCS.
I believe that there are a number of members who will not be able to attend the rescheduled Annual Meeting due to the fact that they are concentrating on medical care in the disaster-affected areas, or because they have been affected themselves. However, I hope that as many members as possible will be able to join us in August, and that the Annual Meeting will provide an opportunity to make a first step towards reconstruction.