Sakura Science Plan 2018: A Japan-Asia Youth Exchange Program

Japan-Asia Youth Exchange Program in Science” (SAKURA Exchange Program in Science) is the program for enhancing exchanges between Asia and Japan of the youths who will play a crucial role in the future field of science and technology through the close collaboration of industry-academia-government by facilitating short-term visits of competent Asian youths to Japan.

The Sakura Science Plan 2018 (SSP 2018) was held from 28 August 2018 to 6 September 2018 at Azabu University, Japan. The training program was carried out under the framework of Japan-Asia Youth Exchange Program in Science (Sakura Exchange Program in Science) administered by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). The training program mainly focuses on the diagnosis and control of different infectious and zoonotic diseases of veterinary and medical importance to meet the challenges of disease outbreak in the participating countries.

26 young researchers and academicians spanning 20 countries across Asia including Bangladesh were invited to join the program.

Dr. Moinul Hasan, Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery and Obstetrics, Bangladesh Agricultural University represented Bangladesh in SSP 2018. He says, “I feel great honor and privilege to represent Bangladesh Agricultural University as well as my beloved country, Bangladesh, in the SSP 2018.

“I have gathered a wonderful experience to work with emerging and young academicians and researchers from 20 different countries through multicultural collaboration and sharing our views and ideas of different diseases of veterinary and human medical importance. I have explored not only in academics but also regarding social and cultural uniqueness of Japan as well as other participating countries.”

Dr. Islam also says, The effective theory and practical sessions, hands-on practice on modern diagnostic procedures, visit to JICA museum, Oshino Hakkai (a world heritage site), Dr. Sugiura’s Memorial Museum involved in the eradication of schistosomiasis in Japan at Yamanashi prefecture and Life Museum of Azabu University will remain in my memory permanently.

My sincerest appreciation goes to the SSP 2018 chief coordinator Professor Dr. Ooi Hong Kean and other organizing members including eminent scientists for their sincerity and untiring diligence to make me sip from the infinite ocean of knowledge. I would like to acknowledge Mr. Mitsuhiro Nemoto, Director of Japan-Asia Youth Exchange Program in Science administered by JST for the kind invitation and financial support and Dr Masao Asari, President, Azabu University for the wonderful hospitality and necessary arrangements to participate in the Sakura Exchange Program in Science 2018 at Azabu University, Japan. Hopefully the invitation of participants from Bangladesh will increase in near future.”

He added, The enriched cultural heritage and wonders of nature of Japan and Japanese time management have become a memory of lifetime to me. In the end, I wish every success of the upcoming SSP project at Azabu University, Japan”

Dr. Saifur Rahman, Lecturer, Department of Microbiology and Hygiene, Bangladesh Agricultural University was the first participant from Bangladesh in SSP 2017. He says, “I was very lucky to be nominated for the SSP 2017 as a young faculty member from Bangladesh Agricultural University as well as Bangladesh. The program provided excellent scope for experiencing and sharing the scientific knowledge with faculties and researchers from different corners of the world as well as from Japan.

He also says, “I have learnt many advanced techniques used in modern veterinary science by hand on practice in the laboratory of Azabu University. Within the 10 days program what we haven’t done! We have visited many historic places, museum, and experienced Japanese culture and hospitality. My special appreciation goes to the organizing team and thanks to JST for funding and to Azabu University for hosting such a wonderful program.”

Dr Ooi Hong Kean, Professor, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Azabu University, Japan coordinated the training program smoothly. He emphasized on the coordination of different countries to coin out the causes and preventive measures of various emerging zoonoses for a better future.

Dr. Md Ariful Islam, Professor, Department of Microbiology and Hygiene, Bangladesh Agricultural University is the country coordinator of Bangladesh for this program.

He says, “The Sakura Science Plan (SSP) project at Azabu University, Japan is a great opportunity for our young colleagues from Bangladesh Agricultural University to visit a technologically advanced country like Japan and to meet renowned researchers and academicians coming from different parts of the world. The training course is effectively organized to focus on the diagnosis and control of different infectious and zoonotic diseases of veterinary and medical importance to meet the challenges of the participating countries.”

Mr. Islam also says, “I believe this opportunity will bring benefit to build up the professional career for our young colleagues as well as help establish collaboration with scientists in the field of common interest. I hope the SSP chief coordinator Professor Dr Ooi Hong Lean will continue his kind support for our young colleagues from Bangladesh Agricultural University as long as the SSP project continues.”

Apart from academics, the participants got the opportunity to explore the beauty of Japan and her cultural heritage. Study tours were conducted at Life Museum of Azabu University, JICA museum at Yokohama, Oshino Hakkai (a world heritage site) and Dr. Sugiura’s Memorial Museum involved in the eradication of schistosomiasis in Japan at Yamanashi prefecture.

The SSP 2018 came to an end through a closing and certificate giving ceremony to the participants.

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