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Opening Remarks Shin-ichi Ota Director Science Information Division Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture Tokyo, Japan Historical Overview In 1980, the US/Japan Cooperative Program on Science and Technology was established by President Jimmy Carter and Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira. This program was intended to facilitate an exchange of opinion on techniques and concepts concerning problems common to the two countries and to identify necessary items for international consensus. Since the proposal to their respective governments by Drs. Joe R. Held and Tatsuji Nomura, the US/Japan Cooperative Program on Laboratory Animal Science has continued every year to provide exchanges of information through the great efforts of those concerned from both countries. The same effort has characterized this 19th meeting. Major results of past US/Japan meetings include the Manual of Microbiologic Monitoring of Laboratory Animals (Monbusho-Public Health Service/NIH 1986; US Public Health Service/NIH 1994). These publications have been widely used in the field of biomedical science. The Genetic Monitoring Manual is now being prepared in Japan. A paper concerning international reference strains of rats, entitled ''Establishment and Preservation of Reference Inbred Strains of Rats for General Purpose Use,'' was published in 1991 in ILAR News (Nomura and Potkay 1991). International standardization of rats was thus undertaken, first by the US/Japan Cooperative Program and subsequently by the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS). These activities have reached a global scale with the ICLAS International Rat Genetic Nomenclature Committee, which first met in 1994 in Sapporo, Japan. The second ICLAS meeting was held last year in
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Toulouse, France; and the third meeting was held earlier this year in Halifax, Canada. When international harmonization of drug safety data for new drug development is achieved through the activities of the International Conference on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for International Registration for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use, international standardization of the quality of laboratory animals as tools to obtain reproducible data will become even more important. Expectations The makeup of the US/Japan meetings has changed much over the last 18 years. The Institute for Laboratory Animal Research of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health are participating as new members. This current meeting has a new format, and I would like to see the topics discussed at these meetings expand in the future. I hope that useful information will be exchanged by both sides and that this information exchange will continue. Finally, I sincerely thank Drs. Leo Whitehair and Ralph Dell as well as all of the US participants for their work in organizing this meeting. References Nomura T., and S. Potkay. 1991. Establishment and preservation of reference inbred strains of rats for general purpose use. Report on US/Japan non-energy research and development cooperation: Laboratory animal science. ILAR News 33:42–46. Monbusho-Public Health Service/NIH. 1986. Manual of Microbiologic Monitoring of Laboratory Animals. Soft Science, Inc., Tokyo, Japan. US Public Health Service/NIH. 1994. Manual of Microbiologic Monitoring of Laboratory Animals. 2nd edition. (NIH Publication No. 94-2498). GPO, Washington, D.C.
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