Inaugural message from the President
“On my appointment as President” Tadashi Onodera
Last April, the inauguration of this conference as a General Incorporated Association was approved by the Cabinet Office and I became the first chairman of the fledgling video information media conference, which renewed my keen sense of the responsibility involved.
My association with this conference goes back more than 40 years. I started work at the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation, as NTT was called at that time, and was assigned to the wireless department. Back then, the wireless department was in charge of the TV-relay networks within Japan, just when the simultaneous video/audio transmission system was being introduced.
After that, I was assigned to the newly-established technical station video communications department, and over a period of three and a half years I was involved in proving trials of TV phones between Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, from design to the reporting of results.
I think that we should respond decisively to the wide range of challenges faced by conferences, while working in cooperation with all its officials. However, there is one issue in particular that must be addressed urgently, which is the way in which the membership is continuously declining and the consequent worsening of the financial structure of this conference.
All of the revitalization policies inherited from the previous chairman, Mr. Uchida, are significant, and I think we should follow them actively. Decreasing membership is a problem facing many conferences and it is believed that a number of factors are involved. The actual number of conferences is increasing, which means that we see some overlap between conferences in specialist fields. It is also true that there are increasing financial and temporal burdens on members who attend many conferences. The factors associated with Japan’s population decrease are also significant, which is a problem for conferences overall and which cannot be resolved easily. However, it is also true that attendances are increasing at some conferences.
It is well known that conference activities do not have commercial objectives. They exist to represent the academic world, by providing services such as scientific papers, annual meetings, and seminars where individual members support each other, so in a sense they can be thought of as inviolate. However, it is true that everyone here has enrolled in this conference with certain expectations. In particular, a large proportion of the funding that supports the activities of this conference comes from maintenance members who are mainly businesses and institutions, together with the membership fees of regular members. We could say that a major challenge is how we should respond in the future to the expectations of maintenance members as well as regular members. Membership fees that were not a large load to maintenance members in periods of high growth are the victims of cost-cutting in today’s tougher economic climate.
However, the field of video information media that underpins this conference is the central technology of ICT and is a field which is expected to grow even further in the future, so we should be in a situation in which it would not be surprising if the membership increases.
Is the gap with the present state of affairs due to an incomplete understanding of the activities of this conference by everyone here? Or I wonder if it is because there is a mismatch between the expectations of members and the activities of this conference?
As well as further enriching the basic activities we have engaged in up to now, such as the rapid publication of papers, the publication of timely articles in academic journals that are different from trade journals, the provision of lively discussion venues such as annual meetings and seminars, the holding of accessible workshops with a depth of content that is somewhat different from those of private-sector seminars, and the implementation of various browsing and registration functions on the Internet, I consider that our first priority should be to expand the attractive member services that utilize the advantages of this conference.
I would like to do my humble best towards the growth of this conference, while listening to the voices of all members and asking for your understanding and cooperation. Thank you all for attending.
Greetings from the Conference Chairman, Onodera Tadashi, Chairman of KDDI Corporation