Dr. Saburo Nagakura, Chairman, Committee on the International Prize
is a great honor to be able to convene this presentation ceremony of the
2002 International Prize for Biology in the presence of Their Majesties
the Emperor and Empress and with the attendance of many eminent persons
and distinguished guests from both Japan and abroad.
The International Prize for Biology was established in 1985 to celebrate
the 60th anniversary of the reign of the Emperor Showa and to
commemorate his long-held interest in scientific research in the field
of biology. Since its inception, the purpose of this prize has been to
recognize and to promote important advances in the study of biology.
This year marks the 18th award presentation. Having come thus far, I
wish to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all who are
gathered here and to the many others whose valuable cooperation and
support have made it possible to sustain this effort over so many years.
Dr. Masatoshi Nei, the winner of this yearfs Prize, developed
statistical methods, and by applying them to molecular-level data, he
devised a theoretical basis for explaining many experimental
observations that had previous defied interpretation. Among them are the
evolutional relationship among diverse species, the times of species
divergence from common ancestors, and the location of gene regions in
which natural selection operates. These achievements laid the
theoretical foundation of the current field of molecular evolutionary
biology, and have been of enormous contribution to scientific progress
Dr. Nei is most highly deserving of this prize. On behalf of the
Committee, I would like to both congratulate him and extend him our
deepest esteem for his most valuable work as a scientist and a
At this time, I would like to thank the members of the Selection
Committee who bore the weighty responsibility of making this nomination.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to
the members of the universities, research centers, academic associations
and other organizations, both in Japan and abroad, who have favored us
with their recommendations of candidates for this year's prize.
As I explained at the beginning, having been awarded eighteen times now
the International Prize for Biology has earned a degree of acclaim
suitable to commemorating Emperor Showafs long devotion to biological
research. The Committee on the International Prize for Biology has
committed itself to making every effort to sustain the stature of this
In closing, may I ask you for your continued encouragement and support
for the work of the Prize Committee.