The disease structure of Japan and the rest of the world has undergone major changes. Changes in lifestyles and the aging of population have increased the importance of respiratory illnesses year after year. In mortality statistics by organ type, when deaths from pneumonia, lung cancer and COPD are combined, respiratory illnesses are the No.1 cause of death for Japanese people. There is no exaggeration to say that respiratory illnesses are the core of the medical world in the 21st century. Us respiratory physicians face serious responsibilities and obligations.
Until now, doctors and researchers have strived to deliver accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and prevention of illnesses. We have spent a tremendous amount of time and effort to uncover the cause and mechanisms of various diseases. These will continue to be important goals in medical research. Yet, the time has come for the medical community to face the fact that there are more challenges to be dealt with. Today's challenges include end-of-life care, balance between treatment and patient care, considerations to medical cost / medical economy, and the approach to environmental issues from the perspective of disease prevention. These entail external factors that cannot be resolved unless we transcend the conventional scope of medical care. In addition, we must handle respiratory illnesses with broader perspectives such as medical safety, infectious disease control, medical ethics, research ethics, conflict of interest, response to new guidelines / laws, change to the medical specialist certification system, community medicine, medical collaboration and international partnerships.
In the given situation, I have been asked to speak before the 57th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Respiratory Society. The theme of this year's meeting is 'Clean Air & Clean Science.' It seems that enough has already been said about air pollution and other environmental issues. Yet, there remains a mountain of new and important tasks lying ahead. Environmental challenges Japan faces include the issue of PM2.5 and health hazard from dust particles released in earthquakes in the Tohoku and Kumamoto regions. We must not ignore issues surrounding the indoor environment. International issues include the household use of biomass fuel and tobacco smoking, including the effect of passive smoking. There are scientific moves to address these issues. 'Clean Air' has also been listed by the American Thoracic Society and the European Respiratory Society as one of the priority tasks for controlling respiratory illnesses, forming a new trend in our academic domain. 'Clean Science' is a phrase coined in response to a series of medical research scandals. This is a seriously disturbing issue for everyone involved in medical research. The Japanese Respiratory Society has chosen to use this phrase as the keyword to promote clean academic and research activities, enhancing the scientific content, expanding the international session and incorporating the up-to-date education program project. Your participation would be sincerely appreciated.
President, the 57th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Respiratory Society
Professor, Research Institute for Diseases of the Chest, Graduate school of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University