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President’s Message to the JSS members

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.

Message from the JSS President

Tomoyuki HIguchi (June 2021 – June 2023)
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering/ Director,
AI and Data Science Center, Chuo University.

Dear JSS Members,

I have been elected as the President of The Japan Statistical Society at the Board of Directors meeting in June 2021, following the prescribed procedures of the Society. It is a tense moment for me to be elected as the president of this traditional society with a long history, considering the seriousness of my responsibility. The society has been engaged in various activities for the development and dissemination of statistics. For example, we are collaborating with other related societies by participating in the Japanese Federation of Statistical Science Associations (JFSSA) and publishing the Japanese Journal of Statistics and Data Science. In the area of statistical education, the Society has cooperated in the implementation of the Japan Statistical Society Certificate, which has been very successful, and the Committee on Statistical Education has been working to develop and disseminate statistical education. With the cooperation of Director-General Yasuhiro Omori and the other members of the Board of Directors, Auditors, and committees, we will do our best to develop the Society and statistics, even if it is in a small way. I look forward to working with you.

In 2012, in an international contest for the accuracy of object image recognition, while other teams had an error rate of around 26% in terms of the recognition rate, the University of Toronto team showed the greatest success with an error rate of less than 17% using deep learning. It was also in 2012 that the President Obama’s administration announced its strategic plan for big data research and development (commonly known as the Big Data Initiative). Since 2012, I have been convinced that the advent of the Big Data era will bring great opportunities to the science surrounding statistics, and I have actively responded to interviews from various media and sent out many messages, while being aware of my role as the director of The Institute of Statistical Mathematics. Together with my fellow professors, the Science Council of Japan and the Research Organization of Information and Systems proposed concrete plans to accelerate the development of data scientists. Later, these proposals led to the realization of several national projects by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, including the Japan Inter-University Consortium for Mathematics & Data Science Education.

Today, many universities, both public and private, have established departments specializing in Data Science, and the trend is still going strong. AI and Data Science education is also starting to gain momentum in high schools. Companies’ needs for human resources in AI and Data Science continue to grow. Everyone agrees that statistics is the foundation of AI and Data Science, and from this point of view, statistics is experiencing an unprecedented tailwind. However, from the perspective of academic society activities, I am concerned that we are not taking advantage of this tailwind. In fact, the number of members has remained almost the same for the past 10 years, and in fact has decreased slightly. I also feel that the percentage of young members is lower than that of neighboring societies.

The environment surrounding academic societies, not only our own, is becoming more and more complicated, and their future is quite uncertain. As a result of the COVID-19 disaster, the annual meeting of the JFSSA was and will be held completely online for two consecutive years, last year and this year. In an age when cutting-edge knowledge is readily available free of charge with easy-to-understand explanations, the merits of belonging to a social organization called an academic society are becoming less obvious. One of the important functions of academic societies is human networking. If there is a place where members can actually meet each other, diverse interactions will naturally occur in unexpected ways. On the other hand, online lectures, seminars, and workshops have enabled us to deliver information on statistics directly to an unprecedented number of people, transcending geographical distances and areas of expertise. In the two years that I will serve as president, I would like to think about how the society should be in the future and build activities for the society in the era of “with COVID-19” with our members. I look forward to working together with you in the future. I look forward to your continued support and cooperation.

Message from the JSS Director-General

Yasuhiro Omori (June 2021 – June 2023)
Professor, University of Tokyo.

Dear JSS members,

It is my great honor to serve the Japan Statistical Society as Director-General. The past Director-Generals have been well-known excellent professors, including Professor Yukio Suzuki, who was the first Director-General of the JSS. He was also my thesis advisor when I was an undergraduate student, and he encouraged me to be a researcher in the field of statistics. He is the reason why I have been doing my research in Bayesian econometrics for more than thirty years, and I thank Professor Suzuki and the JSS so much. I will strive to do my best as Director-General to contribute to the further development of the JSS.

In the past, I served as an associate editor for the JJSS (Journal of Japan Statistical Society, English and Japanese issues) and an editor for the JSS (Japanese issue). As the chair of the international affairs committee on the Board of Directors of the JSS, I supported and hosted a joint conference with the CSA (Chinese Statistical Association) and the KSS (Korean Statistical Society). I have also been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2011 and have served as a chair of the special committee for society activities to make a proposal to promote cooperation with other academic societies, industrial organizations, and international conferences and, further, to support young scholars and female researchers. In cooperation with the JSS, we hosted the ISBA (International Society for Bayesian Analysis) World meeting in Kyoto in 2012 for the first time in Asia, where I was Secretary General (the Chair of the local organizing committee was Professor Hajime Wago). For the JFSA (Japanese Federation of Statistical Science Association), which includes the JSS, we hosted the Japanese Joint Statistical Meeting in 2015 (at the Hongo campus of the University of Tokyo), where I was the chair of the local organizing committee. The JSS has always been the base of my scientific activities, and I received the Japan Statistical Society Research Achievement Award (with Professor Toshiaki Watanabe) in 2012 and the Japan Statistical Society Award in 2018. In return, I am happy to serve as the Director-General of the JSS for the next two years.

The English issue of the JJSS has been merged with the JJSD (Japanese Journal of Statistics and Data Science) published by JFSA since 2018, which is going to be one of the major international academic journals in the field of statistics and data science under the leadership of the Editor-in-Chief, Professor Makoto Aoshima. We continue to support the journal through the JJSD support committee on the Board of Directors and to give financial support by the JSPS (Japan Society of the Promotion of Science) KAKENHI. The Japanese issue of the JJSS is now the only journal of the JSS, which has become more important than ever. Since there are few journals in Japanese, we would like to continue to support this major journal by the JSS under the leadership of the new Editor, Professor Hirokazu Yanagihara. We hope that you will consider submitting your research articles to our journal and/or will propose special issues for new topics of interest.

Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it has become difficult to participate in international conferences and to invite international professors to domestic conferences in person. Before the outbreak of COVID-19, I promoted various international conferences, such as the CSA-JSS-KSS meeting, the ISBA World meeting, the CFE (Computational Finance and Econometrics) as a cochair proposing endorsed sessions by the JSS, EcoSta (Econometrics and Statistics) as a cochair and the ISBA Eastern Asia Chapter meeting at Kobe University as a president (the Chair of the local organizing committee was Professor Kazuhiko Kakamu) in 2019. From these experiences, I think it is important to promote international interactions through various conferences after things return to normal. We would like to promote such interactions by the board members of the international committee. Additionally, we would like to support the activities of the JSS Certificate and statistics education and consider balance improvement, donations, and organizational reform.

We will have the 16th JSS Spring Meeting at Mita Campus of Keio University in March 2022 (the Chair of the local organizing committee is Professor Teruo Nakatsuma) and the 17th JSS Spring Meeting at Minami Osawa Campus of Tokyo Metropolitan University in March 2023 (the Chair of the local organizing committee is Professor Atsuho Nakayama). We hope that you will be able to join us, and we look forward to seeing you in person at the JSS Spring Meetings.

Together with the new president, Tomoyuki Higuchi, and the excellent board members (including the new statistical education committee), I will strive to do my best to continue the great efforts put forth by the previous members with President Shigeru Kawasaki and Director-General Satoshi Yamashita.

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