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Introduction to the Japan Diabetes Society

Takashi Kadowaki
Chairman of the Board of Directors
The Japan Diabetes Society
(Professor, Department of Nutrition and Metabolism,
Division of Internal Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine
and Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo)
Takashi Kadowaki

An organizing committee for the Japan Diabetes Society (JDS) convened at the University of Tokyo on December 15, 1957, which led to its initial board members being elected to launch the JDS for the progress and advancement of diabetology aimed at prevention of diabetes among the Japanese population. The JDS will be celebrating its 60th anniversary on December 15, 2017. At its inception, Japan was still in the midst of its post-war recovery and diabetes remained largely unrecognized as a disease of interest. Despite these circumstances, seeing that the upcoming economic growth and associated changes in lifestyle presaged an increase in the prevalence of diabetes, our forerunners sincerely pursued research on the etiology and treatment of diabetes in the country, while learning from research achievements overseas, in the hope of advancing diabetes research and translating diabetes research findings of interest into clinical practice. Indeed, since its inception, the JDS devoted itself to promoting a correct understanding of diabetes by holding its annual scientific meetings, publishing its official journal “Tonyobyo” (“Diabetes”) and issuing its educational booklets, such as “Food Exchange Lists: Dietary Guidance for People with Diabetes”. In the years that followed, as Japan went through a rapid economic growth, people with diabetes started to increase in number and diabetes came gradually to be termed a national affliction. Against this background, the JDS started to enhance its academic and scientific activities with renewed interest in 1985 with over 3,500 members; in the process, it became incorporated to fulfill its social missions, established itself as a general incorporated association in 2012, and continued to grow, accounting for a membership of some 18,000 (as of the end of 2016).

Indeed, during the 60 years since its inception, the JDS has not only continued and expanded its academic and scientific activities as they related to the etiology and treatment of diabetes; it has also implemented a series of activities aimed at improving the environment for diabetes care to fulfill its social missions. In 1989, the JDS launched its board certification program for member diabetologists to foster highly knowledgeable and experienced diabetologists for diabetes care, which has produced, to date, a total of 5,500 board-certified diabetologists nationwide. Additionally, the JDS, the Japan Academy of Diabetes Education, and the Japan Society of Metabolism and Clinical Nutrition joined forces in launching the Japanese Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (JCBDE) in 2000 with a view to fostering healthcare personnel well versed and experienced enough in diabetes care to improve the diabetes care environment and promote team-based care, e.g., nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, clinical laboratory technicians, and physiotherapists; to date, the JCBDE has produced a total of 19,000 board-certified diabetes educators who remain up and running nationwide.

In the meantime, with the increasing prevalence of obesity, the number of patients with diabetes has also increased further and is estimated to account for a total of some 10 million or 20 million including those at risk of developing diabetes, who are also affected by serious health problems, which include complications such as microangiopathy (i.e., nephropathy, retinopathy and neuropathy) and macroangiopathy (i.e., cerebral infarction and myocardial infarction). Again, with the super-aging of the diabetes population, a new array of complications has also come into the picture, including malignancy, dementia, and frailty, thus making diabetes one of the most serious diseases leading to shorter lifespans. In view of this, the JDS, the Japan Medical Association (JMA) and the Japan Association for Diabetes Education and Care (JADEC) jointly launched the Japan Promotion Council for Diabetes Prevention and Countermeasures in February 2005 to implement a wide range of projects aimed at prevention and treatment of diabetes. Again, the JDS developed its second 5-year plan, the “DREAMS” in 2010, which aimed at 1) creating a framework for early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes (Diagnosis and Cure); 2) advancing diabetes research and human resource development (Research to Cure); 3) creating and disseminating evidence-based practices (Evidence for Optimum Care); 4) forging global alliances against diabetes (Alliance for Diabetes); 5) preventing diabetes (Mentoring Program for Diabetes Prevention); and 6) preventing or arresting progression of diabetes (Stop DM). Ever since, the JDS has not only continued to implement multifaceted and comprehensive measures against diabetes, while at the same time ensuring societal alignment; toward realization of the DREAMS, the JDS has also seized every opportunity to collaborate with other related professional societies and organizations, i.e., JADEC, JMA, the Japan Society of Diabetic Complications (JSDC), the Japanese Society of Nephrology, the Japanese Society of Ophthalmic Diabetology (JSOD), the Japan Atherosclerosis Society, the Japanese Society of Hypertension, the Japanese Cancer Association, the Japan Society of Hepatology, the Japan Geriatrics Society, and the Japan Association for Medical Informatics, thus implementing research through joint committees and providing clinical practice recommendations through joint symposia. Additionally, with the prevalence of diabetes increasing worldwide and the United Nations’ “Unite for Diabetes” campaign moving forward, the JDS is currently exercising its leadership in collaboration with the IDF, ADA and EASD, particularly AASD in implementing measures against diabetes in Asia where diabetes is shown to increase rapidly. Furthermore, from 2015 onwards, the JDS has implemented the third 5-year plan toward realization of the DREAMS.

In view of the forthcoming 60th anniversary of the JDS, I am poised to make every sincere effort toward the realization of the JDS’s mission as they are embodied in the “DREAMS”, which include ensuring further advances in diabetes research, diabetes management and prevention, and human resource development. In commemorating its 60th anniversary, the JDS plans on a commemorative publication, as well as on a JDS-sponsored commemorative ceremony, symposium and gala banquet on the anniversary day, December 15, 2017. I would like to close by extending my heartfelt invitation not only to JDS members but to delegates from professional societies and organizations that have worked together with the JDS over the years to become part of these commemorative events.

March 2017
(From the Prospectus for JDS's Proposed Events Commemorating Its 60th Anniversary)

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