Department of Global Health
School of Health Sciences
University of the Ryukyus
Overview of Research
This research project will propose an approach to counter vector-borne infections by enhancing the resources currently available in Okinawa and strengthening domestic and international networks. Industry, government and academia will collaborate to establish an innovative ecosystem and apply scientific knowledge acquired through a collaborative research framework. The project envisions not only the commercialization of biotechnology, but also the application of socio-technologies, including collaboration among communities.
Research Subject (Vectors)
The research team’s principal weapon is the formulation of a counter strategy. The team’s research will not be limited to specific vectors, but, within a collaborative research framework and network of research collaborators, will create vector-specific approaches that focus on mosquitoes, mites, rats and other carriers.
Research Subject (Pathogenic Organisms)
The research team will focus on diseases that ordinarily do not receive much attention and, specifically, Neglected Tropical Diseases. Such maladies are rampant among the poorest segment of the population in tropical regions. Just as the 2015 small outbreak of dengue fever in Tokyo shows, these diseases are not something that can be ignored as the impact of global warming increases.
Infectious disease control, socio-technology, innovation
Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University in Thailand
College of Public Health, University of the Philippines
At the 1998 G8 Summit, then Prime Minister Hashimoto proclaimed that the world needed to address measures to counter parasites. This declaration came to be called the Hashimoto Initiative, which formed the basis of the Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative announced at the 2000 G8 Summit in Okinawa. The WHO set up a control department to focus specifically on parasitosis and other diseases collectively referred to as Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD), which are prevalent among the poorest segment of the population in tropical regions and have not previously been a focus of attention. The WHO has designated 17 NTDs in particular that have been the cause of health hazards in many regions, and advanced measures to control such diseases. However, it is not just these 17 diseases that are the problem. There are many other infectious diseases which have not been addressed, and countermeasures are needed to control such diseases in each respective region. For example, in Okinawa, large-scale outbreaks have been reported of leptospirosis, and measures must be furthered to control such diseases. In addition, the effects of global warming have also increased the risk that dengue fever and zika fever may spread. With the cooperation of Southeast Asia where illnesses are rampant, the research team’s aim is to garner mutually-beneficial research results. Furthermore, although zoonosis is a serious problem in Southeast Asia, some zoonotic diseases have been assumed to cause little damage to people in Okinawa even though animals have been infected, and the research team is analyzing these circumstances. It is precisely because this research is conducted in Okinawa where transmissions of diseases have been observed that makes it possible to develop appropriate technology, such as diagnostic kits, which have a direct bearing on such countermeasures. The aim of this research is to apply such knowledge and fully utilize the resources available in Okinawa, including those of the private sector, to succeed in establishing the Okinawa model.
Asakura T, Mallee H, Tomokawa S, Moji K, Kobayashi J
The ecosystem approach to health is a promising strategy in international development: lessons from Japan and Laos
Globalization and Health 2015 doi:10.1186/s12992-015-0093-0
Takahashi K, Kobayashi J, Nomura BM, Kakimoto K, Nakamura Y
Can Japan Contribute to the Post Millennium Development Goals? Making Human Security Mainstream through the TICAD Process
Trop Med Health. 41(3): 135–142. 2013