UCL-Japan Youth Challenge Symposium: Accessibility for All: Sports, AI and...

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Christopher Ingold Auditorium, XLG2

20 Gordon Street

Kings Cross



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UCL-Japan Youth Challenge Public Symposium: Accessibility for All: Sports, AI and Robotics

Accessibility is the most important issue in our lives. In our history, we have always developed new ideas and technologies in order to solve accessibility problems. For example, the car was developed to allow us to visit distance places, and the phone enabled us to communicate with people in even the remotest of regions. However, we still face many accessibility problems. This symposium will aim to understand the current issues and discuss how to solve them, with a focus on the development and deployment of new technology and AI. This is a public symposium and all are welcome to attend.

On 11th March 2011, one of the most powerful earthquakes in human history struck the north-east of Japan. It caused a large tsunami which devastated the coastline of East Japan and resulted in the death of 15,895 people. In Fukushima, the tsunami struck TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing an explosion in the reactors and the release of radioactive material. The resulting radioactive-contamination was the most serious since the Chernobyl disaster. More than 100,000 people were evacuated and displaced from their homes. The decommissioning of the reactors and the removal of the radioactive-contamination are essential for Japan to be able to overcome this issue.

In Part-1 of this symposium, Naomi Hirose (Former President of TEPCO) will discuss the progress being made towards decommissioning the power plant, and the technological developments associated with this.

Part-2 will begin with Kazushi Takahashi (Fukushima Prefecture), discussing the removal of radioactive-contamination from the region. The symposium will then look the much wider themes surrounding accessibility issues and discuss future approaches using technology and AI.

Topics under discussion will include ageing, one of the most common and largest problems facing the developed world. Japan is well known as having a super-aged population but the U.K is quickly catching-up. Experts will discuss how to tackle the accessibility problems that are associated with ageing, through the development of new technologies and AI. With Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games next year, the technologies that are developed for the ageing generations should also be applicable to people with disabilities. We will be joined by two special guest Paralympians at this symposium; Noel Thatcher, MBE, a legend of British Para-Athletics and five time Paralympic gold medallist and Takayuki Suzuki, who has 5 medals across the Athens, Beijing, and London Paralympic Games, and is aiming for another in Tokyo 2020. They will be talking about their lives and experiences as Paralympians.

Through this symposium, we hope that the participants will come to understand the importance of accessibility associated problems. Whilst we especially hope that the accessibility problems in Fukushima will be solved soon, we also hope that new technology and AI may bring a much better future to all of us. This symposium has been co-organised with the Japan Foundation, and is supported by Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Japan Sports Council, UCL Grand Challenge, UCL Global Disability Innovation Hub, Embassy of Japan, UK-Japan Season of Culture.

Following the symposium we will host the “Fukushima Reception”, during which food and drinks (sake) will be served. All participants are welcome to attend. Both the reception and Part-2 of the symposium are kindly supported by Fukushima Prefecture.

26th July 2019
13:00 – 18:00 (symposium)
18:00 – 20:00 (reception)

University College London (UCL)
Christopher Ingold Building, XLG2 Auditorium (symposium)
Wilkins Building, South Cloisters, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT (reception)


13:00-13:10 Opening by Shin-ichi Ohnuma (Chair in Experimental Ophthalmology, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL Japan Ambassador, Deputy Director International, UCL)

Part-1 Current situation of Nuclear Power plants in Fukushima

13:10-14:00 Plenary Presentation: Naomi Hirose
(Vice Chairman, Tokyo Electric Power Company)

Title - "Fukushima Recovery: Updates & Challenges"

14:00-14:10 Discussion

Part-2 Accessibility for All: Sports, AI and Robotics

14:20-14:30 Short introduction of Part-2

14:30-14:50 Presentation by Kazushi Takahashi (Fukushima Prefecture)

14:50-15:10 Noriko Cable (Secondment and Lecturer in Mental Health Sciences at Division of Psychiatry, UCL)

Title - "Health longevity: Social connection as accessibility"

15:10-15:30 Noel Thatcher MBE (Six-time British Paralympic runner [1984 - 2004],
collecting a total of five gold medals)

Title - "Sport for All post 2012"

15:30-16:00 Tea break

16:00-16:40 High School students presentations

About 100 Japanese and UK high school students who attend to UCL-Japan Youth Challenge Summer School will report from their Workshop on the subject of “Accessibility for All” and present their inspirations for future challenges.

16:40-17:00 Takayuki Suzuki (Paralympic medallist at Athens, Beijing, and London, Goldwin Inc)

17:00-17:30 Plenary Presentation: Cathy Holloway (Global Disability Innovation Hub, UCL)
Title - "Global DIsbility Innovation - the changing nature of accessibility"

17:30-17:40 Closing Remark by Yasu Takeuchi(Reader in Morecular Virology, Division of Infection and Immunity, UCL)

18:00-20:00 Reception

at UCL South Cloisters, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT


Part 1Naomi Hirose - Vice Chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company

Part 2

Noriko Cable - Research fellow at UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health

Noel Thatcher MBE - Six-time British Paralympic runner [1984 - 2004], collecting a total of five gold medals


Takayuki Suzuki - Paralympic medallist at Athens, Beijing, and London, Goldwin Inc

Cathy Holloway - Academic Director and co-founder of Global Disability Innovation Hub, UCL

Kazushi Takahashi - Fukushima Prefecture


UCL, UCL-Japan Youth Challenge, Japan Foundation, UCL Grand Challenges, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan Sport Council London, Global Disability Innovation Hub, Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation , and UK-Japan Institute

Supported by:

Embassy of Japan in the UK, MUJI Europe Holdings LTD, Council of Local Authorities for International Relations, The UCL Academy, Rikkyo School in England, The Japan Society for Promotions of Science, Fujifilm UK Ltd, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe Ltd, Santen UK Limited, IHI Europe Ltd, NH Foods U.K. Ltd, Astex Pharmaceuticals Inc, UCL Global Engagement Office, Shimizu Corporation, Clark Memorial International High School, IPU New Zealand, International Pacific University, Educational Research Foundation, Kagoshima Prefecture, Mitoco Kawachi Corporation

2019 UCL-Japan Grand Challenge Symposium.

UCL, 20 Gordon Street UCL Christopher Ingold Building, London, WC1H 0AJ

In August 2017, the Prime Minister has announced in Tokyo that a UK Season of Culture will take place in Japan between 2019 and 2020, bringing together British and Japanese artists, technology experts, researchers and business, to spur on modernisation and inspire a new generation of innovators.

The season, run by the British Council, will provide UK artists and their Japanese partners with opportunities to share state-of-the-art digital technology, including virtual reality and robotics, and will showcase the best of UK and Japanese creativity in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

In parallel with the UK Season of Culture, Japan will hold a series of cultural events in the UK. UCL-Japan Youth Challenge Symposium is the supported event from Japan-UK Season fo Culture 2019-20.

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20 Gordon Street

Kings Cross



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