JSS elects the President and Director-General every two years. They play important roles to support and develop activities of the JSS and help JSS contribute to enhance the discipline of statistics. Past Presidents and Directors-General were elected among statisticians as well as researchers in various related fields.
July 2, 2017
Masafumi Akahira (June 2017 – June 2019)
Professor Emeritus, University of Tsukuba.
It is my great honor to be elected as the President of the Japan Statistical Society for 2017 – 2019. The Society was established in 1931, so we already have a history of more than eighty years. During that period, the Society has carried out many activities, such as holding annual meetings, publishing research papers in journals in English and in Japanese, and editing a number of important publications. In addition to these, it is notable that in 2011 the Society started a qualification exam named the Japan Statistical Society Certificate (JSSC) to certify qualified statisticians and future statisticians.
When the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent nuclear power plant accident happened in 2011, people felt a certain level of mistrust and dissatisfaction with academia, including universities, research institutions, and academic societies. One of the reasons was that academia had not provided them with necessary information before and just after such a serious disaster. Academia, including the Science Council of Japan, suffered a crisis in this situation and made a great effort to restore lost trust, but it still seems insufficient. On that occasion, I worried that people were not sufficiently informed of the limitations of science. In the transmission of information from academia, an impression seemed to have formed that everything can be explained by science. We therefore play an important role in showing its limitations. They follow from the preconditions. It is important to always keep this point in mind, even if they are less strict than in mathematics. Particularly for interdisciplinary fields with wide applications like statistics, it is important to prevent misunderstandings in the transmission of information.
The Society operates in union with the Japanese Federation of Statistical Science Associations (JFSSA), and works in close cooperation with one another through an annual meeting, among others. In such a sense, the collaboration with different fields is comparatively performed. Extensively continued, this may be expected to yield unexpected results.
The journal in English will be largely inherited as a new international journal of the JFSSA. Since the journal provides an important opportunity for the transmission of information from the Society, I would like to ensure that the journal enjoys success. At present, it is very difficult for researchers to obtain funds, because the national budget remains tight, so I would like to improve this situation in cooperation with other academic societies. Furthermore, I will make every effort to see that the Society continues to develop internationally. Finally, in order to achieve the above, I hope that members of the Society will strive to support me.
Hiroshi Saigo (June 2017 – June 2019)
Professor, Waseda University.
It is my great pleasure to introduce myself as JSS Director-General. I am Hiroshi Saigo and have been in this two-year position since June 10, 2017. I believe my strengths lie in my long-term commitment to the JSS administration. From 1992 to 1994, I was a member of the JSS public relations committee. From 2005 to 2006, I was selected by the JSS as a member of the program committee of the Japanese Joint Statistical Meeting (JJSM) held annually by the Japanese Federation of Statistical Science Associations. From 2011 to 2013, I worked for the JSS as a member of the JSS Board of Directors, mainly in charge of general affairs. Through my administrative work for the JSS, I have been impressed by the dedication shown by all the former board members for improving JSS activities. Now I have an opportunity to live up to the JSS members’ expectations.
Having Professor Masafumi Akahira, one of the leading figures in statistical science, as JSS President is the greatest honor for us all as another two-year term of the JSS Board of Directors is launched. I will do my best to support President Akahira during his presidency.
As JSS Director-General, I would like to make three points here. First, we need to make sure that JFSSA’s new journal, the Japanese Journal of Statistics and Data Science (JJSD), comes to be recognized as a journal with a high reputation. As was announced in the JSS Newsletter, the Journal of the Japan Statistical Society (JJSS) and a number of other English journals published in Japan will be merged into JJSD. The idea is to concentrate top-notch papers into one journal to increase international recognition. JSS members are expected to provide cutting-edge research papers to make JJSD competitive in the statistical literature.
Second, we are required to meet demands from current society for the analysis of various kinds of data. On the one hand, because of rapidly advancing technology, we face types of data that we have never encountered. On the other hand, due to low response rates associated with an increase in privacy consciousness, the reliability of survey data has deteriorated lately. We are expected to produce methods that enable us to reliably extract useful information from various data sources.
Finally, we should be willing to participate in statistics education in our country. Recently, statistics has become a part of high school mathematics. For example, the histogram is a must in Math IA at high school. Statistical thinking, however, should not be restricted to mathematics. It is useful, and I believe even more effective than in mathematics, in natural sciences and social sciences. Statisticians can contribute by creating materials that enhance reasoning based on data.
Among other important activities is setting up international sessions in the JJSM and the Spring JSS meeting. I will do whatever I can during my appointment.