National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Dr. Kaifu, the Former Director General of NAOJ, Takes the Position as the New IAU President

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On August 30, 2012, the General Assembly (GA) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), meeting in Beijing, China, has named Dr. Norio Kaifu, the former Director General of NAOJ, as the new President. He is the second person as a Japanese who takes the position as the IAU President.

Dr. Norio Kaifu
Dr. Norio Kaifu

The first Japanese IAU president was Dr. Yoshihide Kozai, the former NAOJ's Director General.

The IAU President Kaifu answered to a reporter from “INQUIRIES OF HEAVEN”, the IAU GA's daily newspaper, and talked about the priority activity of IAU. The followings are the extracts from the interview article appeared in “INQUIRIES OF HEAVEN”.

“The objective of the IAU is to promote astronomy in all its aspects. The priority for the IAU at this time is to broaden the activities of astronomy in research, education and public outreach all over the world. We see more countries joining cutting-edge research, but unfortunately we still cannot share excitement of astronomy with many people in the developing world. Therefore, we started the IAU's 10-year strategic plan, “Astronomy for the Developing World”, succeeding the IYA2009. The platform for the plan was settled during the past three years, thanks to the OAD and many supporters, so the coming three years will be important for implementation.”

Dr. Kaifu has been spending a long time on promoting cooperation in Asia. He mentioned about his foresee the future of astronomy in Asia.

“In 1990 we started cooperation of astronomy in East Asia with many friends in this region. Regional cooperation is a keyword. It is important even, or especially, in the global era.
We organized lots of meetings and conferences for continuous mutual exchange and cooperation.
In 2005, the East Asian Core Observatories Association (EACOA) was established by ASIAA (Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics), KASI (Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute), NAOC (National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences), and NAOJ (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan). Directors meet regularly to discuss exchange young astronomers, cooperation in large international telescope projects, etc. We wish to proceed toward further cooperation of East Asian astronomy.”

Dr. Kaifu will play a role of the IAU President for the term 2012 - 2015.