Since the kick-off of our “Portraits of the national bone and mineral societies” series in May 2018, we have had wonderful insights in the organization, the specialties and peculiarities of bone and mineral societies from European countries such as Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Hungary.
By email, Teun de Vries (TdV) has interviewed Yoshiya Tanaka (YT), the Vice President of the Japanese Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
TdV: Dear Dr. Tanaka, it is a pleasure to be in touch with you, representing the Japanese bone and mineral society. When I entered the field of osteoclast biology in 1999, I was amazed by the great Japanese contributions to the field. Personally, I admire the work of many osteoclast biologists from Japan. Could you tell us more about your society?
YT: The official name of our society in English is indeed the Japanese Society for bone and mineral research (http://jsbmr.umin.jp/en/), in Japanese: 日本骨代謝学会（Nihon Kotsu-Taisha Gakkai). The Society was founded at first as a research cooperative meeting in 1967, and developed to the JSBMR in 1982.
TdV: Compared to many European Societies, your society has a long history, you must have well established traditions. To start with: what is your board structure?
YT: Professor Sakae Tanaka is the president of the society, I am the Vice President. The board furthermore contains 10 board members and 2 inspectors. There are 14 official committees, including a committee for international affairs, a committee of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism’s (JBMM) editorial board. This journal is issued by the society and has found its way to a broad international readership.
TdV: How many members does your society have and what fields within bone research are especially represented.
YT: Currently, we have approximately 2200 members. Members represent a very diverse group of bone professionals specialized in endocrinology, rheumatology, osteoporosis, orthopedics, dentistry, pharmacology, basic medical science, molecular biology, pathology, nutrition, agriculture, medical technology.
TdV: That tells us that Japan has a very large research community studying bones, a number that none of the European countries will ever reach! Interesting to see that also nutritionists and agriculturalists are involved. What are the activities of the society?
YT: We have organized annual meetings from 1983. This year’s 37th annual meeting will be he held in Kobe between October 12-14. The dates for 2020 are known already, the 38th annual meeting will also be in Kobe, between October 9-12. A typical Japanese activity is our “Skeletal Science Restart”, an annual training meeting to be held in Sapporo between November 15-17 in 2019. Every year, about 30 young members attend this meeting.
TdV: Apart from the annual meetings and the meetings for young scientists in the bone field: could you give an overview of other scientific activities of the society?
YT: As briefly mentioned earlier during this interview, our official journal is the Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism, an established journal in the bone field. Furthermore, we have published clinical guidelines on the following topics, supporting Japanese clinicians in their clinical decisions:
- Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw: position paper from the Allied Task Force Committee of Japanese Society for Bone and Mineral Research, Japan (2010 and revised in 2016)
- Guidelines on the management and treatment of osteoporosis (2012 and revised in 2015)
- Diagnosis criteria for rickets and osteomalacia (2015)
- Guidelines on the management and treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis of the Japanese Society for Bone and Mineral Research (2004 and revised in 2014)
- Diagnosis criteria for spine fracture (2012)
TdV: Could you enlighten us on the connection with ECTS? From my personal observation, I have seen many Japanese attending the past congress in Budapest. What will be near future activities between ECTS and the Japanese society?
YT: That is correct, more and more, the ECTS congress is discovered by Japanese researchers. We hope to contribute and display our research in the future. Together with the ECTS president Anna Teti, Claus Glüer and Salvatore Minisola, we plan to have joined sessions at the annual meeting of the ECTS and JSBMR from 2020. Maybe one each from the basic and the clinical field. Travel accommodation and registry fee may be paid by host community. Speakers may be invited in sponsored session to save the cost. Travel grants (awards) for young researchers (10-15 members) in the annual meeting of each community will be considered from 2020 as an ECTS-JSBMR exchange program (short stay). New investigator education session in each annual meeting and interaction between ECTS Academy and its counterpart in JSBMR will be planned in future, along with training course (or international school) in ECTS and JSBMR for youths in both communities. And finally, it would be very worthwhile to establish ECTS-JSBMR exchange programs, such as long stay in Center of Excellent (CoE) in each community.
TdV: I thank you for this wonderful interview and I wish your organization all the best for the future!
YT: Thank you, you are welcome.