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Geological Societies mark 400 years of British Japanese relations


8 August 2013

The Geological Societies of London and Japan today signed an agreement for academic co-operation and exchange, on the 400th anniversary of Japanese-British relations.

Signed by GSL President David Shilston, and GSJ President Akira Ishiwatari, the agreement includes a commitment to the exchange of information, participation in collaborative research activities and publications, and joint organisation of seminars and academic meetings.

‘We are delighted that a long standing friendship between our two Societies has been formalised’ says Mr Shilston. ‘That it should take place during a year which celebrates 400 years of cultural exchange between our two countries is all the more fitting.’

In 1613, the British ship Clove arrived at the island of Hirado in South West Japan. The exchange of official letters and gifts marked the beginning of 400 years of diplomatic, cultural and trading relations between Britain and Japan.

‘It is our honour to conclude this academic agreement with the oldest Geological Society in the world’ says Professor Ishiwatari. ‘I look forward to a fruitful scientific exchange between our Societies, starting with co-operative research on tsunami deposits.’

Japan 400 was launched in January 2013. Historians, journalists, representatives of cultural institutions and enthusiasts are celebrating with a programme of events in London and around Britain.

‘Whether geological matters were on the envoys' minds in 1613, we don’t know’ says Shilston. ‘But we can be fairly certain that possible mineral trading was, as by that time, Japan was already on its way to supplying about one third of the world’s silver in the 17th century.

‘We hope that today’s agreement marks a new period of exchange. We look forward to the mutual benefits that the sharing of our academic and educational resources will bring to our two Societies.’

Further information

Please contact Sarah Day
Tel: 0207 432 0954

Related links

The Geological Society of Japan

Japan 400