19 Nov 2012

Their Majesties the Emperor and the Empress of Japan Visit OIST

On Monday 19 November, His Majesty the Emperor Akihito and Her Majesty the Empress Michiko of Japan visited the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST). OIST President Jonathan Dorfan, greeted Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress on their arrival and gave an introduction to the goals and ambitions of the new university.  In his welcoming address President Dorfan stated, “Your visit will long be remembered as providing inspiration to us all but also as providing further validation for the importance of OIST Graduate University to Japan and the world.” 

The Imperial Couple then met with the 34 new graduate students who have come to Okinawa to study and carry out research. The students, who represent 18 different nations and regions and have a wide range of academic backgrounds, were thrilled by the relaxed, open discussion. "It is such an honor for me to meet the Emperor and Empress of Japan.” said Abudukeyoumu Nilupaer, a doctoral student from China. "I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to explain my dreams to such distinguished visitors."

In their tour of the university buildings, the Imperial Couple visited the research laboratories of Prof. Kenji Doya, who explained his unit's work on neuroscience, and Prof. Noriyuki Satoh whose research into the genome of corals and other marine life can have an important influence on the healthy future of Okinawa's environment.

Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress were accompanied by senior Okinawan representatives including, Governor of Okinawa Mr. Hirokazu Nakaima, Chair of Okinawa Prefectural Assembly Mr. Masaharu Kina, Mayor of Onna Village Mr. Fumiyasu Shikiya, and Chair of Onna Village Assembly Mr. Ikuo Yamashiro.

Following lunch, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress were introduced to members of the OIST faculty and senior management prior to their departure.

Photos of the visit by the Emperor and the Empress
Video of the visit by the Emperor and the Empress