On the introduction of a presidential system

I would like to inform you that I was appointed as president at the first council of this year (May 10, 2013) during the 30th meeting of the Japanese Association for Chest Surgery in Nagoya, and so convey to you a greeting message.

On behalf of my fellow members, I would like to thank the previous president, Dr. Takashi Kondo, for his efforts to manage the association as the first president.

Our association has a history of over 30 years, including the period when it was a workshop on respiratory surgery. This represents a single generation in a human lifetime, during which the demands for medical practice in the field of respiratory surgery increased with the growing number of lung cancer patients, leading to the growth of the association. To meet the demands of the times, the executive office established the board certification system for respiratory surgeons and, thereby, contributed to the qualitative improvement of medical practices in the field of respiratory surgery. In addition to these external factors, the efforts of the members, such as the establishment of minimally invasive thoracic surgery (VATS or hybrid approach) and the start of lung transplantation, led to marked technical progress. Furthermore, excellent results of surgical treatments developed in Japan have been reported both in and outside Japan by means of the national lung cancer registry and the database of thymic epithelial tumors. Some members have shown successful results in the field of basic research. The development of the association has been accomplished by the efforts of individual members.

At the 21st meeting of the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons (ESTS) conducted this year, 30 or more presentations were delivered by members from Japan, accounting for 10% of the total. It has been suggested that Japan has most frequently contributed to the academic journal issued by the ESTS in cooperation with the European Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery (EACTS), the so-called European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Thus, I think that the association has steadily developed over the past 30 years but should not be content with its current situation, as written by Masayuki Akiyama: “an old saying runs that don’t’ let your guard down even after a victory.”

At the beginning of the 2nd generation of the association, there are many concerns regarding the medical environment, including reduction in medical costs according to economic situations, alteration of the system for certifying medical specialists by the government, the primary training system involving many problems, a reduced number of young doctors who desire to become a surgeon, and the trend toward a decrease in the members. Additionally, it is important to ensure funds for reinforcing academic research initiated by the association, international exchanges, and programs such as a summer school. Although we have no quick remedy to eliminate specific concerns, the field of respiratory surgery should continue to be attractive through the provision of medical practices in a wide range of fields, continuous technological innovation, and determination of additional research subjects.

I would like to thank you in advance for your concerted efforts toward the further development of the Japanese Association of Chest Surgery in its 2nd generation.

Meinoshin Okumura, Birmingham, the United Kingdom, May 28, 2013