Ad Memoriam: Founding Chairman Koji Omi

STS forum Founding Chairman Koji Omi passed away on April 14, 2022 at the age of 89. Condolences and expressions of sympathy were received from around the world, a testament to the impact of our Founding Chairman’s vision and passion on so many global leaders.

Mr. Omi spent 26 years as an official at Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry and at the Science and Technology Agency, working to further the growth of the country’s industry, economy, and science and technology. During that time, he developed the conviction that science and technology would be vitally important for energizing Japan. Determined to make a difference, he was elected a member of Japan’s Lower House in 1983. During his time in parliament, he served as director-general of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Science and Technology Policy Bureau and introduced a member’s bill to lay out the fundamental direction of the country’s policies on science and technology. In 2001 he was appointed Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy, and he founded the Science and Technology in Society forum (the STS forum) in 2004.

The explosive progress of science and technology brought economic growth and enriched the quality of our lives. At the same time, advances in science and technology have raised important ethical, safety and environmental issues. These are “the lights and shadows of science and technology.” Thinking of humankind’s future 100, 200, or even 500 years ahead, it is essential to develop the lights and control the shadows. The STS forum was founded to bring together professional scientists and researchers, policymakers, and business leaders from all over the world to discuss the implications of science and technology issues for society on an equal footing and from the long-term perspective.

The STS forum attained incorporated non-profit organization status in 2006 and has continued to expand the scope of its activities. After retiring from politics in 2009, Mr. Omi devoted his tireless energies to traveling the globe for personal meetings with leading figures in the political, economic, and academic spheres to further the growth of the STS forum. In 2010, he received Japan’s Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun. He was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Technology Malaysia in 2013, the University of York and the Université du Québec in 2014, and from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, which he was instrumental in founding, in 2018.

Founding Chairman Koji Omi will be remembered for his passion and his achievements, and the STS forum will continue to be a platform for global leaders committed to humanity’s future to meet and discuss the lights and shadows of science and technology.

Memorial Message from Chairman Hiroshi Komiyama

As a member of the science and technology community, I am profoundly saddened to learn that STS forum founding chairman Koji Omi has passed away.

Since the founding of the STS forum in 2004, Mr. Omi tirelessly traveled throughout the world to meet countless individuals and glean the wisdom of science professionals, educators, policymakers, and business leaders. Through his pioneering efforts he singlehandedly created the STS forum, the world’s leading permanent platform for discussions on science and technology and the future of humankind. Together with the STS forum, the name of founding chairman Koji Omi will long be remembered.

Those of us remaining now feel the heavy responsibility of carrying on Mr. Omi’s legacy, working to fulfill his aspirations and helping the STS forum evolve. Building on the past achievements of the STS forum, together with all of you I will do my utmost to forward the progress of science and technology for the future of humankind.

Founding chairman Omi, thank you for your long-standing dedication to the ideals of the STS forum. I offer my deepest sympathy and pray for the repose of your soul.

Hiroshi Komiyama, Chairman, STS forum

“… These are the so-called
Lights and Shadows of Science and Technology …”

-- 2008 Annual Meeting Opening Session --

If you would like to submit a condolence message or share your memories of Founding Chairman Omi with the STS forum, please feel free to use the form below. Kindly note that we may share your message, along with your name, title, and organization, on our website or at the Annual Meeting venue for the purpose of commemorating Mr. Omi.

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    Getting to STS forum (NPO) Secretariat

    By Tokyo Metro (Subway)

    From Akasaka-Mitsuke Station on Marunouchi Line /Ginza Line
    Take Exit 11 (1 minute on foot)
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    Take Exit 8 (5 minutes on foot)