Address by His Majesty the Emperor (2002)

Address by His Majesty the Emperor on the Occasion of the 26th International Congress of Internal Medicine Kyoto International Conference Hall (May 26, 2002)

I am very pleased that the 26th International Congress of Internal Medicine is held in Kyoto, with so many participants from home and abroad, on the occasion of the centennial year of the founding of Japan Society of Internal Medicine. The first International Congress of Internal Medicine which Japan hosted was the 17th Congress held 18 years ago. As we attended that Congress which was also held in Kyoto, we are hoping that, this time, we may see some of the participants of that Congress again.

As I look back on the history of medical science in Japan and the world over the past one hundred years since the time Japan Society of Internal Medicine was founded, I am deeply moved by the progress it has made. I pay my deep respect to the large number of medical scientists for their efforts to bring about this propress. Medical science one hundred years ago was at such a stage that facts about infectious diseases are beginning to be recognized. The discovery of plague bacillus, to which Shibasaburo Kitazato made a great contribution, as well as that of bacillus Dysenteriae by Kiyoshi Shiga both took place at the end of the 19th century. The beginning of the 20th century was the time more for inquiry into various diseases than their treatment. It was only towards the latter half of the 20th century that antibiotics and various other medicine to cure diseases were developed. I recall that such medicine as penicillin, streptomycin and promin all of which came to save many lives have come to be introduced one after another. More recent developments in medical science and related scientific technology have improved technologies for early diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and contributed greatly to better health.

Medical science and medical care have come to be divided into many highly specialized areas, and deep knowledge is required in each of them. At the same time, it seems to be very important that medical doctors, while dealing with these details, do not lose sight of the perspective to grasp a human being as a whole. Furthermore, medical doctors are required, in addition to the treatment of disease itself, to share and understand with sympathy the anxieties and sufferings each one of the patients feels keenly. I can well imagine how hard a task it is for medical doctors to engage in medical care day after day while meeting all of these requirements.

I understand that the main theme of this International Congress is "Global Physicians Network:A Challenge of the New Century". In closing, let me express my sincere hope that the internists of the world will further promote both the specialization and the synthesis of medical science, while sharing valuable medical information among themselves, and contribute further to enhance the health and happiness of mankind.