The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers Vol. 12, No. 1 June, 2001

New Challenges for the JSME

Toshio Kobayashi, President
Professor, University of Tokyo

kobayasiI have recently been appointed the 79th president of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME) by recommendation of the members. It is an honor to become the president of JSME, with its long history and prominent tradition. But I also feel a tremendous responsibility as President to guide JSME in the midst of its reforms. I would like to exert my utmost with the help of the vice-presidents, the executive board directors, and administrative officers. I would like to ask you for your warm support throughout the 79th term.
Currently the industrial structure of Japan faces a turning point. New organizational structures have been called for in many areas including academic societies. JSME is no exception and we have been taking measure to meet the needs of society. In the 74th term, during presidency of Dr. Abe Hiroyuki five years ago, the report on the next century plan was developed. From the 75th to the 78th terms, JSME executed policies to reinforce the fundamental structures of JSME and carry out the plan. During the 76th term, the financial management was restructured and the financial situation was turned from deficit to surplus. In the 77th and 78th terms, several action plans were formulated within the framework of the plan for the next century,
addressing such issues as reinforcement of the information network system, international collaboration, industrial collaboration,
organizational reform, and engineering education. The executive board directors set a term of office of two years and introduced the president-elect system from the 78th term; henceforth the head vice-president becomes the president of the following term. In addition, the executive board of management was established to execute projects and plans both over the short term and strategically. The executive board of the 79th term will build on these improvements. The specific plans are as follows: 1) analysis of the main organization reform plan, 2) consideration of the financial situation, 3) development of mechanical engineers and improvement of continuing education programs, and 4) reinforcement of collaboration with other
mechanical engineering organizations and member activities. The 79th term is thus a term of challenge, and particularly I would like to put emphasis on the following three things.
First of all, it is important to provide high quality research and technology information actively and widely. Originally, academic
organizations with deep roots, like JSME, were founded to exchange recent information and knowledge of various fields and cutting edge technology. Practitioners thus had a clear motivation to become members. However, because of recent advancements in information technology, there are many ways to obtain information. This current situation reduces the importance of JSME as an essential information source compared to the situation several years ago. Thus JSME has to provide
information with high quality and reliability widely in many functions. It is necessary that the 20 divisions in JSME to plan their activities so to respond to social needs for mechanical engineering. It is also important to promote and improve JSME
publications such as the transactions, and the international journal.
Secondly, the “products” of our society are not just things, ideas, and publications, but people. As such, we need to focus on how we help cultivate and develop our members and prospective members, with a focus on continuing education. Specifically, the “Center for the Promotion of Research and Development” and the “Center for Engineering Education” will soon start their activities. Since this term is crucial to lay out the future of the centers, I will work to make them a success.
Finally, we would like to promote corroboration with organizations outside. Recently academic organizations have been playing an important role in national policy of science and technology. Thus JSME is actively promoting collaboration with other academic organizations in order to solidify its role in science and technology policy. Relationships with other mechanical engineering societies in Asian countries will be also actively promoted. Currently we are planing to invite the presidents of the mechanical engineering society in China, Korea, and Indonesia to the annual meeting this fall.
I would like to encourage active exchanges among JSME members as we work on the above challenges, particularly to provide opportunities not only to exchange specialized information but also to broaden social and academic horizons across generations and across fields of expertise.
Before closing, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the past president Ichiro Kanazawa, the past executive board of directors, and to the members who have contributed to each division and branch. I would like to call upon your support also for the 79th term.

Re-Engineering of Engineering Profession in Japan

Hideo Ohashi
Vice-President, JABEE
President, Kogakuin University

Introduction

International reputation swings up and down like riding on a jet coaster. When Japanese industries boasted their competitiveness on the global market in 1980’s, Japanese style management, featuring lifetime employment, in-house job training and seniority-based wages, collected worldwide attention. In those days commentary books on the success and secret of Japanese style management were found in bookstores everywhere in the world. Now the situation turned around 180 degrees. The same management style is criticized today as the culprit of declining industrial power.
Engineering education of Japan has followed the similar fate. Our engineering education was once thought as the driving force of the epoch making industrial development. Numerous groups from abroad visited us and asked “what is the secret?” There was no secret indeed. We could only mention several features of our engineering education, for instance, emphasis on fundamentals and principles, cultivation of cooperative mind by experiment and practice in a team, and enhancement of integration ability through graduation thesis. These features happed to match with the demand of Japanese industries, which did not expect job-readiness from fresh graduates and did lay value only on the possibility of future development. They considered new graduates as raw material, which should be forged to powerful components of each organization through long-sighted in-house training programs.
Lifetime employment was, however, the presumption of the above practice. The features of Japanese engineering education could be effective only in association with Japanese style management. It could not be a universal model for the rest of the world.
Since the end of the Cold-War Regime in the beginning of nineties, expanding economic activities and proliferation of information technology have lowered the borders of nations. In this borderless age, each nation cannot survive alone. Every nation must design its future in consideration of the economical and cultural interdependence on global scale. This new situation forced each nation to make its system transparent to outside and compatible with global standards. Now, Japanese style management undergoes rigorous reforms to adjust itself to the new circumstances.

From Organization-Based to Individuals-Based Society

Japanese society has been reasonably safe, reliable and even dynamic. Who have been supporting these features of our society?
The answer could be “Organization-based society” as illustrated in the left half of Fig. 1. In this society, individuals have a strong sense of membership to organizations, especially companies, to which they belong. As the reward to the royalty, individuals are protected lifetime by the organization. In a red organization, there are only red employees who are trained to make the most of facilities and human relations of the organization. Red employees may be almost useless in a blue organization, until they re-dye themselves to the new color. In this kind of society, the responsibility for keeping reliable society is borne by organizations, private as well as public, but not by individuals. Japanese style management and “Organization-based society” are mutually dependent and inseparable.
The globalization forces Japanese companies to shift to more globally competitive management system. Re-engineering,
restructuring and reduction of manpower are now common not only in deficit-ailing companies but also in profit-thirsty booming companies. Our society has started to adjust to this new situation, with great pains and troubles of people who are unexpectedly dismissed from their shelters. What is the new goal of our society to which we try to make a soft landing?

 

 Fig. 1 Reform of Social Structure

Fig. 1 Reform of Social Structure

The answer could be “Individuals-based society”, as it is common in the western countries. The image of this society is illustrated in the right half of Fig. 1. The whole society is covered and supported by the networks of professionals who bear the responsibility in respective fields with their expertise and morality. There need networks of medical doctors, of lawyers, of accountants, etc., and not to the last, of engineers who are responsible for developing, designing, manufacturing and operating human-made hard-wares and soft-wares, the core of modern technological society.
Even in the individuals-based society, the role and importance of organizations will never change or even greater. Activities of organizations cross easily the borders of nations. Multinational enterprises are becoming common. The networks of professionals, i.e., professional societies are also becoming borderless. In such borderless age, each professional must prove own competence by some kind of globally acknowledgeable credentials, preferably by professional certificates.
To materialize the transformation from organization-based to individuals-based society, the hardest barrier consists in our culture and consciousness. We have long cultural tradition of respecting “learning” as the road to sublime truth, but of looking down “profession” as mere means of getting bread. As the result of this subconscious prejudice, being a professional, especially being an intellectual professional, has collected little interest and respect of our society. We need a revolution of our consciousness, that is, from ignoring to respecting professionals.

FOR ESTABLISHING ENGINEERING PROFESSION

Science Council of Japan (SCJ), Japan Federation of Eng. Societies and Japan Society for Eng. Education have been cooperating closely to reform public awareness on the importance of engineering profession.
In December 1998, the president of SCJ, Dr. H. Yoshikawa, addressed a public declaration in which the following issues were pointed out:

  1. The safety and reliability of modern society depend heavily on human-made products such as materials, buildings, vehicles, communication and information devices and systems, etc.
  2. Engineers are totally responsible for such products, throughout planning, developing, designing, manufacturing and operating phases. Engineers must be qualified to accept such responsibility.
  3. Society should recognize the role of engineers properly. To obtain the public understanding, there must be a publicly acceptable system that assures the professional qualification of engineers.
  4. Introduction of Japanese version Professional Engineer is urgent, that should match, of course, with global standards.
  5. Introduction of an accreditation system of engineering education on university level is also urgent. Accreditation not only assures basic education for qualified engineers, but also generates strong driving force for the improvement of university education.
  6. To maintain lifelong expertise of engineers, the importance of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) must be recognized.

RE-engineering of Engineering profession

Responding to the above-mentioned declaration, we have started to re-engineering our traditional systems.
The Target is to build an integrated national system that can maintain the output of engineers at the top gear
throughout their lifelong career, for the benefit of the society and the individuals as well. Such system must
cover every stage of the Professional Development of Engineers (PDE), that is, fundamental education,
training and practice, professional certification and finally CPD, as illustrated in Fig. 2.

 Fig. 2 Integrated System for PDE

Fig. 2 Integrated System for PDE

Engineering education in universities provides fundamental education needed for entry level engineers. To improve the quality of education and to assure the global equivalence, Japan Accreditation Board for Engineering Education (JABEE) was established in November 1999. Accreditation of engineering programs will be conducted by JABEE with close cooperation of relevant engineering societies. Those who finish fundamental education accumulate training and practice and gradually build up professional competence as globally deployable engineers. At an appropriate stage of the development, one may apply for a professional certificate such as domestic Professional Engineer as the token of an independent professional. Since the requirements for domestic PE and international PE, e.g. APEC Engineer or EMF International Engineer, are fundamentally compatible, domestic PEs may apply for an international professional certificate once their length of engineering practice exceeds the respective requirement.
CPD is essential for engineers of every stage. Engineers without professional certificates need CPD to maintain and enhance their employability. For PEs, domestic as well as international, CPD is requested as their professional responsibility. CPD is driven, of course, by the initiatives of individuals as the means of endless updating of their expertise. Professional societies, educational institutions like universities, in-house training centers of private companies, they are all providers of CPD service and must share their roles so that the clients, all engineers, have a variety of programs to choose from. The documents (contents) needed for CPD must be also prepared and provided by them.
There are so many participating organizations in the downstream of PDE. There must be a conductor that harmonizes the interests of participants and integrates whole components into an effective system, similar to the role of JABEE in the upstream of PDE. The foundation of PDE Council is now under preparation for this purpose.
The details of our re-engineering are described further in the following sections.

ACCREDITAION OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION

In order to establish a quality assurance system of engineering education at Bachelor level, a committee named “Global Engineers Education Committee” headed by Dr. Yoshikawa was founded in 1987. After elaborate consultation and dissemination among relevant organizations, that is, educational institutions, major engineering societies, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Intern. Trade and Industry, Science and Technology Agency (STA) and also employers represented by Keidanren (Japan Fed. of Economic Organizations), JABEE (http://www.jabee.org) was finally founded on November 19, 1999 by the enthusiastic support of all relevant organizations.
Membership of JABEE is categorized into two groups, i.e., ordinary and supporting members. An engineering program applied for accreditation is first evaluated by the relevant engineering societies and JABEE decides the accreditation on the basis of their evaluation report. In this context, only participating engineering societies are eligible for ordinary members. Industrial companies that have strong interest in the quality of engineering education are eligible for supporting members. Among 18 Board Members, 16 are presidents of major engineering societies including JSME. They are considered as the ex-officio representatives of more than 80 (as of May 2001) ordinary members.
Our accreditation practice follows basically that of Engineering Criteria 2000 set up by ABET. Introduction of engineering ethics and enhancement of communication capability are examples of what is rather new for us. Intensive preparatory works are now going on. Dissemination of the significance of accreditation to educational institutions and the training of evaluators are urgent tasks. JABEE has finished trial accreditation of 20 engineering programs last year and plans to start authentic accreditation this year. JABEE plans to apply for the provisional membership in Washington Accord this year and wish to join the global link of mutual equivalence in engineering education.

INTRODUCTION OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS LAW

Introduction of professional certificate compatible to PE of USA, CEng of UK, CPEng of Australia, for example, are urgently needed when engineering activities are expanding on global scale. The past Japanese engineering certificate based on “Consulting Engineers Law” lacked global equivalence and was isolated. Last year, Consulting Engineers Council of STA submitted to the government a set of recommendations on necessary revisions of the previous Law. The revised “Professional Engineers Law” was enacted April last year and went into effect from April 2001.
The revised Law defines new procedures to obtain and maintain Japanese professional certification called Professional Engineer, PE.JP, as illustrated in Fig. 3. The procedures consist of Primary Examination, training and practice (Initial Professional Development), Secondary Examination, certification of PE, and CPD. Graduates of accredited engineering programs are exempt from Primary Examination, since the basic capacity as an entry level engineer is assured by the program itself.
The enforcement of the new Law will have great influence on the public perception of engineering profession. We expect that the number of certified engineers will increase tenfold from the present number (about 40 thousand) in ten years and that the average age of rookie PEs will reduce to around 30. The responsibility to the public (engineering ethics) is stressed in the new Law and it will hopefully help regain public confidence on engineers and engineering achievements.
Since our requirements and procedures for professional certificate PE.JP are globally acknowledgeable, it will be easier for our PEs to apply to any regional or international engineering certificates such as APEC Engineer and International Engineer now discussed by Engineer Mobility Forum. There will be also no obstacles to the mutual recognition of professional certificates among the interested nations.

 

 Fig. 3 Procedures of Japanese Professional Engineers

Fig. 3 Procedures of Japanese Professional Engineers

ROLES OF ENGINEERING SOCIETIES

There are 2.4 million engineers in Japan. Among them, approximately 600 thousands belong to one or plural number of engineering societies/institutions that have definite range of disciplines to serve.
Each engineering society has two major functions, that is, academic (scientific) and professional. Academic function of JSME, for example, is to promote the advance of mechanical engineering science on the basis of quality (originality) judgment by peer review. Another function is to help mechanical engineers maintain and develop their expertise as professionals. In the case of JSME, more than 70 % of its members are engineers working in industries and, therefore, the role as a professional society should be at least as important as the role as an academic one. So-called trunk societies such as Society of Civil Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Architecture, Chemical Engineers, etc., have the character similar to that of JSME.
The members of engineering societies come from all engineering-related sectors, academia, industry, government, local autonomy, etc. Engineering societies are the sole organizations that may represent engineering interests in integrated form.
Engineering societies are expected to perform key contribution in every phase of professional development of engineers as illustrated in the following figure.

 

Fig. 4 Engineering Societies as the Key Contributor to Engineering Profession

Fig. 4 Engineering Societies as the Key Contributor to Engineering Profession

CONCLUDING REMARKS

Recent criticality accident at JCO’s Tokai Facility in Japan left severe damages to the public confidence on technology and subsequently on engineers. Short-term remedies are not sufficient to improve this situation. We are confident that the endeavor for the re-engineering of engineering profession described in the above will be a sure step forward to recover the public confidence.
Every nation has own history, culture and feeling of amenity. The reforms we are trying to achieve seem all within the frame of so-called westernization or introduction of Anglo-Saxon systems. The same situation happened 130 years ago when we went through Meiji Restoration. After mixing and fusing native and introduced species, the leaders of Meiji succeeded to produce new systems optimized to Japanese climate and situation.
New Japanese system for the 21 Century is now under construction. We hope our new system will be acknowledged as a universal model to enhance our service and contribution to the society.

Accreditation of Engineering Education Programs in Japan
― Contribution of JSME to the Activity of JABEE

Akira Nagashima
Chairman of JSME Committee for JABEE
Professor, Keio University

Since 1999, JSME has been cooperating with newly established Japanese organization, the Japan Accreditation Board for Engineering Education (JABEE). Japan has a large number of engineers which has supported Japanese industry and technological prosperity of the society. These engineers has been educated at higher education institutions for initiating in engineering career and, in many case, trained further working in industry. Also, there existed a qualification system for the title of qualified engineer called `gijutsushi`. However, in recent years, there have been some new aspects in working environment of engineers. Firstly, more Japanese engineers or international engineers educated in Japan work abroad or are hired by international companies. They are often requested to have an internationally accepted qualification. Secondly, higher quality of engineering education at institutions of higher education is more strongly demanded than before, partly for strong need to catch up with accelerated progress of technology and also to back up engineer training formerly done at industry.
JSME joined JABEE as one of its founding members and also serving as one of board members (one of 14 societies representing major engineering fields). JABEE was established in 1999 as the non-governmental accreditation organization in Japan to be qualified as an equivalent body to corresponding organizations for accreditation in other countries under Washington Accord. JABEE’s task is to organize accreditation of engineering education programs in Japanese institutions of higher education. Actual activity of evaluating education programs for accreditation is carried out by major societies of engineers. JSME is cooperating with JABEE in various ways by joining discussions of evaluation standards and sending representatives to the board of trustees and other committees of JABEE.
JSME is responsible for mechanical engineering and related fields. In 2000, the trial evaluations of selected institutions were performed in order to test soundness of the system. JSME worked for trial evaluation of three programs, two for mechanical engineering and one for measurement and control engineering. The last one was done cooperating with the Society of Instrumentation and Control Engineers. The category of mechanical engineering is broad and, in Japan, there exist a number of academic as well as professional societies covering or relating to particular divisions of mechanical engineering. It is important to find how to organize these related societies in accreditation activity covering related fields. The cooperation with the Society of Instrumentation and Control in 2000 was one trial and it was a valuable step. Through these trial evaluations, it was found that further effort was needed in such items as refining standards, providing qualified evaluators, developing understanding of ‘program’ definition, evaluating ‘outcomes’ of the education and so on. Both of JSME and JABEE have now been working for improving standards and accreditation procedures as well as organization structure.
Establishment of the new organization like JABEE has been corresponding to ambitious policies tackled by Japanese government aiming revitalizing science and technology in Japan. One of other changes was the recent revision of the law of ‘gijutsushi’, the qualified engineer. Societies of engineers now can (and are expected to) prepare training courses for a junior engineer, preliminary title to a qualified engineer. JSME is also developing the system of engineer education for career-up and the continuing professional development (CPD). The CPD is intended to provide chances to attain credits for renewing qualification of an engineer for members of JSME. These related activities are explained in other articles.
Through cooperation with JABEE and development of CPD, JSME wishes to proceed a new step for providing better services for its members and for contributing to improvement of engineering education in Japan.

Recent developments in engineering education in Japanese university

Shigehiko Kaneko, Associate Professor,
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Tokyo

1. Trial of PBL

The principal objective of traditional engineering education was to teach students how to apply knowledge and how to solve well defined problems. In the present age, the market has matured to the level that all necessary products for daily life are
completely supplied. Under these circumstances, a more valuable concept for engineering education is not teach “how-to” but rather to prepare an environment for the students to acquire problem analysis ability for enhanced creative work.
For this purpose, PBL (Problem or Project Based Learning) programs are deemed suitable in major universities and colleges in USA and Northern Europe. In such programs, experience through improvement of individual skills and teamwork are emphasized most. The aim of the education is meant for to initiate and cultivate the attitude of thinking by themselves and defining problems which leads to competence.
Recently, project based learning program in the department of mechanical engineering in the University of Tokyo emphasizing the relationship between current technology and recent social change especially deregulation of electric power supply business has been initiated. In this article, an outline of our program and the underlying idea of education are described.

2.PBL program introduced at the University of Tokyo – Micro Gas Turbine (MGT) Project

We have introduced the PBL program to replace the traditional bachelor’s thesis. The present theme is a micro gas turbine, which forms the core of a small-distributed energy system. At present, the purpose of this project is to develop a computer controlled start up and observation system, investigate the possibility of the combination with IT technology and find out problems to be solved before introducing small size distributed energy systems into hotels, convenience stores, hospitals etc.
Thus far, a 5kW micro gas turbine (see photograph) has been built. The system based on miniature size gas turbine for hobby use stably generates electric power by the combustion of city gas. The following items are studied: interlock, control, measurement systems, remote monitoring and control systems, annihilation of pressure pulsation arising in the gas supply piping etc. This project is run in cooperation with a Gas Company, gas fitting Works Company, turbine and Production Company among others. The companies provide knowledge and information to the students. Company consultants also act as instructors.
From the environmental point of view, Internet and mail, parcel delivery services and development of the rental business make a project such as this one feasible. By making use of these modern business tools, we can communicate with companies located far from Tokyo metropolitan area and even those overseas. The special feature of our PBL program is the selection of a topic where the students can recognize and appreciate the complexity of modern society, while at the same time have the opportunity to make breakthroughs and discoveries.

3. What the future holds for PBL programs- Can the PBL program create new venture business?

In order to produce new business entrepreneurs from the student population, it is important for them to capture the image and essence, not of large enterprises, but the small company organization. For this reason, I recommend introducing PBL program to the university education in place of individually written conventional bachelor’s theses. The training for teamwork through cooperative work and organizational management should be emphasized. The theme chosen for PBL is also important. The project should be proposed not only by companies but also by public organizations, which can set public themes. For increased variety, contest type PBL should be added into the category of PBL programs. In addition to these, it is also important to promote the exchange of ideas on teaching methods between universities. The PBL experience and results should be made public via home pages on the World Wide Web.

4.Curriculum design in the 21st century ?A new engineering education method launched in Japan

It is vitally important to frequently and always apply in a feedback loop the process of teaching action, curriculum re-evaluation based on input from the industrial world as well as input from university graduates in order that the curriculum can be kept up to date, reflecting the direction in which future engineers should aim.
Faculty members must seriously carry out examination on the work in the next generation. It is necessary to undertake curriculum reform reflecting changes in the job market. Therefore, a close relationship between small and medium companies with local firms should be maintained. Exchange between universities and companies should be attempted through serendipity of the themes and supply of talent.
As discussed above, I expect that Japanese original engineering education method consisting of the interaction between universities, companies, society, instructors and students that gives students competence will emerge in the near future.

Fig. 5kW micro gas turbine

Fig. 5kW micro gas turbine

‘Education’ from the View Point of Industry

Mutsuhiro Arinobu
General Manager Technology Planning Division
Toshiba Corporation

1.What is expected from university graduates?

Business University Forum members interviewed top executives of major private companies in Japan, questioning what they expected from university graduates. The answers are summarized as:

  1. Creativity
  2. Flexibility, the ability to adjust to different situations and a wide range of skills
  3. A sense of responsibility and ethics in team activities
  4. Leadership, cooperativeness and the ability to function as a group member.

The executives of big companies expect universities to educate the students as candidates for future Chief Executive Officers.
On the other hand, it is said that young Japanese engineers are not highly motivated in what they do. That is:

  1. They do not try to understand or deduct by considering deeply when they face new, unknown phenomena.
  2. They are one-dimensional in the way they look at things and poor at applying their knowledge to derive ideas or make estimations.
  3. They are not good at visualizing things just from drawings.

They appear to have been trained to solve problems only by applying standard, textbook formulae and educated mainly by lecture in the classroom. Their lack of experience in learning through experiments means they are not trained to make observations of real phenomena. Generally speaking, they are not trained in making something with their own hands.

2.Engineering education in US and Japan

Japanese universities have made many efforts to adjust their curricula to the requirements of the day. In the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Tokyo, classes for basics such as electricity and magnetism or circuit theory were reduced by one third during 1975-1997. On the other hand, classes for information and communication were approximately doubled, and those for experiments or seminars were apparently not changed.
Universities in the United States have made much more efforts. Stanford University and UC Irvine allocate about twice as much class hours for basics, electronic devices and information/communications and much more for experiments and seminars as the University of Tokyo does.
US universities try to educate their students widely from the basics to applications, including business management, and train them by using much more time for experiments and seminars than Japanese universities do. US students experience a much more demanding time in college than their Japanese counterparts.
It can be seen from the investigation of the curricula in mechanical-engineering-related departments in Japanese universities supported by the Manufacturing Science Center that the emphasis is on academic learning rather than
practical training for mechanical engineers. US universities take a different approach and one of their important missions is to train students to become accomplished professional engineers.

3.What are engineering graduates doing after joining a company?

For example, almost 99% of engineering graduates are engaged in fields based on their specialty in the ten years after joining Toshiba, but that is reduced to only a half in twenty years. This emphasizes the importance of training students to become as much of a professional engineer as possible in the universities and to provide them opportunities to acquire the skills necessary for their newly assigned job functions or keeping abreast of advancing technologies after joining a company.
In large companies such as Hitachi or Toshiba, education programs are arranged for employees according to their needs, such as pre-management development courses, specialist practice courses, and so on. However, it does not seem enough for engineers to learn only from in-company education programs, since changes in market demands and the progress of technologies are too rapid to be covered by in-house education alone.

4.What is expected from education?

JABEE has started trial accreditation of engineering education, as a means to investigate the engineering programs offered by the centers of higher education whether the programs are adequate to train students to become professional engineers. This may make a big impact on academia in Japan. In the United States, such
accreditation has been carried out more than 70 years. Moreover, based on the WTO’s General Agreements for Trade in Service, there are active movements towards the international mutual acceptance of professional credentials. The equivalency of the accreditation process assures the equivalency of the education systems and gives basic conditions for the equivalency of professional credentials. Furthermore, most engineering certifications in developed countries require the engineers to maintain their skills at high level through continuing education.
Japanese higher education organizations should make strenuous efforts to adjust their education programs to train students to become professionals from the international viewpoint, and professional societies should prepare continuous education programs to keep the skills of their members up to date. The role of professional societies where academic and industry members collaborate is becoming evermore important.

JSME News Vol. 12, No. 1

Editors: Sunao Kawai, Masafumi Katsuta, Marie Oshima, Yutaka Ohta, Keizo Watanabe
Published by The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0016, Japan

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