On Friday, April 23, 2004, a briefing session was held by the Sapporo International Plaza at the COE headquarters in our department. The session opened with welcoming remarks by Mr. Toshihiko Neko, head of the Planning Division of the Plaza's Convention Bureau.
Other speakers included Mr. Tomohiro Wajima, a program officer of the Promotion Division,
who reported on the Plaza's initiatives to support the COE program, and Mr. Minoru Tokunaga,
head of the public relations division of the Sapporo Convention Center, who gave an overview of
the facilities at the center.
Mr. Mitsuaki Nakata, the new director of the Sapporo Guest House, wrapped up the session with his inaugural speech, followed by a brief question and answer session.
Our COE program has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Sapporo International Plaza. Under the partnership, full logistical support was provided by the Plaza when we hosted the Mathematical Society of Japan's 4th international research Institute ("Nonlinear Wave") in 1995, and its 12th international research Institute ("Singularity Theory and its Applications") in 2003.
Furthermore, the Sapporo Guest House has offered accommodations to a great number of foreign researchers who visit our department every year. It has also served as an open forum for researchers, with a total of 16 meetings held under the heading of the "Sapporo Guest House Symposium" so far.
The day's briefing session was also designed to help strengthen the ties between our department and the Plaza by providing an opportunity for our COE staff and the Plaza personnel to exchange ideas on how to further improve the partnership.