New Year Greetings for 2022

Junichiro Niwa

I wish a Happy New Year to all the members of the Japan Concrete Institute. May 2022 be a great year for all of you.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, which has been going on for two years, remains as unpredictable as ever with the emergence of new mutant strains. That said, it is truly gratifying to see that the fifth wave of infections, which had been on the rise since around August last year, has gradually slowed down as the vaccination rate increased. There are also good news regarding the development of oral antiviral drugs, which we hope will become available as soon as possible.

October saw the invigorating news that Dr. Syukuro Manabe, a senior researcher at Princeton University, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. He has been working on the development of a macroscopic global climate model since the 1960s, and it is truly amazing that he was already predicting global warming numerically in the 1980s, particularly in view of the fact that he had to perform numerical calculations, which are commonplace today, using the limited computing resources of the time to predict events. The Japanese government has announced its policy of carbon neutrality by 2050 with a view to becoming a low-carbon or carbon free society to combat global warming, and serious action in this direction is expected from the concrete sector as well. What this means is that the time has come for the cement, ready-mixed concrete, design, construction, and product industries and sectors to collaborate in earnest toward carbon neutrality. Moreover, in the field of concrete, it will become even more important to conduct continuous research and development on new technologies, including collaboration with different fields beyond the conventional framework, and to demonstrate and apply these technologies. It is my hope that the various committees of JCI will work even more actively in this direction in the future.

At the JCI Annual Convention 2021 in Nagoya, which was held in a completely online format in view of the coronavirus pandemic, Concrete Techno Plaza too was held online at a virtual venue and drew great reviews. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the members of the Annual Convention Planning Committee for their efforts in making this event a success. Preparations are currently underway to hold the JCI Annual Convention 2022 in Chiba at Makuhari Messe, and the Annual Convention Planning Committee would much prefer to hold the convention in a face-to-face format at a physical location. I myself also hope that we will be able to hold this event in this manner.

The Authorized Concrete Diagnosis & Maintenance Engineer qualification examinations and the Authorized Concrete Engineer and Authorized Chief Concrete Engineer qualification examinations, which are important certification schemes of JCI, are to be held as scheduled at the end of October and November, respectively, taking all possible precautions to prevent infection as in the previous year. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to the committees related to these qualification examinations and all the parties who are helping with their implementation.

The pandemic will continue to affect us all this year. However, unlike the previous year, there is a sense that things will get better in the near future. I would like us to join forces in dealing with the adversities that are set to continue for a while longer, and I look forward to the strong support and cooperation of all JCI members as we do so.

Junichiro Niwa
Professor Emeritus, Tokyo Institute of Technology

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