Message from the President


The 116th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology will be held at the Sendai International Center and the Tohoku University Kawauchi Hagi Hall in Sendai over three days, June 18–20, 2020. It will be the fifth time for the annual meeting to be held in the Tohoku region, and no less than 20 years since the last meeting was held in Sendai when Dr. Mitsumoto Sato organized the 96th annual meeting. It is a great honor to be hosting a learned society with over 100 years of tradition, and I would like to thank all the members and others involved most sincerely for their support.

The theme chosen for this year’s annual meeting is “Critique on psychiatry today as a signpost for the next 10 years.”

The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, and the subsequent accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station triggered a mental health crisis in the Tohoku region as a result of a massive loss of beds in psychiatric departments, the large-scale evacuation of residents and widespread health concerns, and the intense multilayered suffering caused by discrimination and damage caused by rumors. Mental health care in this region has been a litmus test for the future of mental health care and welfare in Japan. In a nutshell, Tohoku is where Japan’s overall mental health care issues are most pressing—issues including securing psychiatric emergency medical services, outreach and community mental health care, pediatric mental health care, medical care for mentally ill offenders and medical services for persons with mental illness accompanied by physical complications, as well as suicide prevention, measures addressing alcohol dependence, better medical care and welfare for dementia, and making up for the shortage in psychiatric health care facilities and psychiatrists. Given the multitude of challenges faced here, it means a lot that we are holding our annual meeting in Tohoku.

Back in 2011, besides revising ministerial ordinances in order to add mental disorders and home-based medical care to medical care plans under the new system of “five diseases, five services and home-based medical care,” the national government also amended the Mental Health and Welfare Act. 2020 will be an important year for evaluating the outcomes of these revisions. In education, the new system for medical specialists finally began to be rolled out in 2018 after a few ups and downs, and along with the current clinical training system, 2020 will be a year for looking back on these systems. The success of introducing the new undergraduate curriculum will also be tested in 2020. In research, 2020 will mark the year in which we look back on the tenth year since Nature announced “A decade for psychiatric disorders” in the foreword of its New Year issue in 2010. I think new findings and potential biomarkers obtained over these past ten years which could lead to a breakthrough in mental disorders are also topics of discussion that need to be addressed by our society. In recent years, quite a few clinicians in mental health care have questioned the limits of EBM psychiatry without solid biomarkers, so I think it is time to examine psychiatry in Japan which has developed in collaboration with the world.

Consequently, 2020 will be an important year requiring a historical review of our current mental health care and psychiatry in conjunction with reform for the future. It will also be an eventful time for our whole country busy with the Olympics. Together with members from across the Tohoku region, we will strive for an annual meeting to serve as a signpost for the future of mental health care and psychiatry in Japan. I look forward to seeing you all in Sendai for our annual meeting.

Hirooki Yabe, President
Department of Neuropsychiatry
School of Medicine
Fukushima Medical University

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