Message from Director

The passions, the interests, and the science and technology

In his book, The Passions and the Interests, on the history of social thought, Albert Harshman explains the shift of the governance from confusion to stability in each European country in the early modern period. He points out that it was the interests, that is to say “moneymaking passion”, that successfully controlled the kings’ malevolent passions, which had been repressed under the Roman Catholic power in the Middle Ages, released during the Renaissance, and then disrupted the societies in the post-Renaissance era. The interests that had been recognized as one of the three big moral sins in the Middle Ages turned into a driving force for governing a nation and providing relief to people.

In the preparation for the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai in March 2015, the Science Council of Japan, in cooperation with the science and technology communities in the world, emphasized that science and technology should be introduced to disaster risk reduction including governance, investment, early warning and recovery, and also stressed that dialogues between relevant stakeholders and science and technology communities should be promoted at the national platform on disaster risk reduction. This proposal was clearly included in the negotiated outcome document of the Conference, “Sendai Framework”. At the 8th World Water Forum held in Brasilia, Brazil, in March 2018, H.I.H. the Crown Prince of Japan introduced the historical ingenuity and efforts for sharing water, explained the key roles of the water cycle in the diversity and connectivity of the regions on the planet earth scientifically, and highlighted the importance of the knowledge fusion between society and science and technology communities for prosperity, peace and happiness.

We recognize climate change as well as changes in societies with regards to population, land use and so on. We need to improve our capacity of simulating the changes and assessing and predicting their impacts, and share the obtained scientific knowledge with society to support in making practical policies and taking informed actions. As with the past paradigm shift from the passions to the interests, a new dynamic shift is needed for science and technology to be truly integrated in society.

27 Apiril 2018
Toshio KOIKE
Director of ICHARM