Speaker Details

Koji Omi

Koji Omi was born in 1932 in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. After graduation from Hitotsubashi University in 1956, he joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). On an assignment with MITI, he served as Consul at the Japanese Consulate in New York from 1970 to 1974. He established his reputation for proactive action in acquiring up-to-date world energy related information during the first oil shock in 1973. After assuming various key posts at MITI, such as Director of the South Asia & Eastern Europe Division, Trade Policy Bureau, and Director of the Small Enterprise Policy Division, Small & Medium Enterprise Agency (S & MEA), Koji Omi resigned from MITI in 1982 to run for the House of Representatives (lower house). He was elected in 1983 for the No.1 Gunma district with the largest number of votes won by a new independent candidate. During his 26 years of service until August 2009 in the House, Koji Omi held prominent positions in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and served three times as Cabinet Member namely Minister of Finance (2006 – 2007), Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs (2001-2002), and Minister of State for Economic Planning (1997 – 1998). Koji Omi is considered a key political figure and one of the most influential in the field of science and technology in Japan. One of his achievements includes the central role he played in enacting the Fundamental Law of Science and Technology in 1995. This law has contributed greatly toward making Japan a science and technology-oriented nation. As Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs, and for Science and Technology, Koji Omi advocated for, and was very influential in promoting, the founding of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, an international and interdisciplinary graduate university. In 2004 he founded the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum, a non-profit organization, with the aim of building a worldwide network among scientists, policy makers, business people and journalists. STS forum has been successfully held annually in Kyoto, Japan, to discuss the “lights and shadows” of science and technology for the sake of humankind. Koji Omi was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science Policy & Technology by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in 2013 and another honorary doctorate from University of York in January 2014, and from University of Quebec in June 2014.

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