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|Thank you very much indeed, Dr. Henry Szechtman, 1998 Congress President.
In December 1994, I have started a project of the virtual scientific conference on the Internet, "Internet World Congress on Biomedical Sciences." This was the first World Wide Web (WWW)-based virtual international meeting in the world. As you visit here now, anyone could participate in this meeting through the Internet without travelling abroad. The number of accesses to the Congress WWW server was more than 50,000. This had aroused much interest in the future style of international meetings among scientists. At the second Congress held in December 1995, the access numbers exceeded 120,000. The first and second Congress were organized by Mie University School of Medicine. However, it has proven to be difficult for one medical school to accommodate many participants. We realized that it was necessary to have support from a variety of institutions to hold the virtual meetings on the Internet. Accordingly, INABIS was founded on April 1, 1996.
Since then, the Internet World Congress became an annual event held by INABIS. The mission of INABIS is to help biomedical scientists exchange scientific information on the Internet. Scientists can save their precious time and budget if they exchange information electronically. So, they may be expected to exchange scientific information more often on the Internet than through conventional meetings. Many scientists have also started to use the Internet for their scientific activities.
The third and fourth Congress were subsequently organized at "Riken, Tsukuba, Japan" and "University of Occupational and Environmental Health of Japan, Kitakyushu, Japan," respectively. The present meeting is the first one outside Japan, and possibly the first such event organized in North America. Owing to Dr. Szechtman's splendid leadership, the quality of the INABIS meeting is surprisingly heightened. We have received Keynote Addresses from Dr. Floyd Bloom (Scripps Research Institute, USA and Editor of Science) and Dr. Allan W Cowley Jr (Medical College of Wisconsin, USA) , and many excellent presentations. INABIS '98 will mark the first step toward a real international congress on the Internet!
Sumio Murase, M.D., Ph.D.