Director General Yoshihiro Yoneda
The National Institutes of Biomedical Innovation, Health, and Nutrition (NIBIOHN) was established in April 2015 by integrating the National Institute of Biomedical Innovation (NIBIO) and the National Institute of Health and Nutrition (NIHN). The goal of NIBIO is to support the development of innovative pharmaceutical and medical products in Japan, while the objective of NIHN is to help improve the health and well-being of the Japanese population through surveys and studies on hygiene, nutrition, and diet.
This organizational restructuring allowed NIBIO to launch a new division, the Center for Drug Design Research. NIBIO believes that partnership is a key pillar of its mission, and aims to become a coordinating hub for industry-academia-government collaboration. In 2016, the Center welcomed a new director with ample private-sector work experience. In 2017, he was appointed as the director of NIBIO and has since promoted academia-industry partnerships. Another pillar of NIBIO's mission is to provide assistance regarding drug discovery. Under the national Drug Discovery Support Network initiative, NIBIO is actively engaged in assisting drug discovery efforts as a core member of the network. NIHN, well known for its expertise in health research on food, nutrition, and physical activity, recruited a new director from the private sector in 2017. The NIHN director also serves as the executive director of NIBIOHN. Under the leadership of the new director, efforts are underway to achieve healthy longevity and well-being in the Japanese population.
The organizational restructuring of NIBIO and NIHN opened the door to new domains of research that span the expertise of the two institutes. One example is a new project on gut bacteria. Before the organizational integration, NIHN was engaged in an ongoing prospective cohort study of Tokyo residents. In 2015, this study was expanded to include research on intestinal flora in the healthy population, and NIBIO scientists were assigned responsibility for the main analysis. In 2016, this program was further expanded to include residents of Shunan City, Yamaguchi, and Minamiuonuma City, Niigata, to elucidate the relationship between gut flora on the one hand and diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors on the other.
Here, I regretfully report on the findings of misconduct made in January 2018 regarding one of NIHN's research projects: several unauthorized researchers performed radiographic bone mineral density measurements. NIHN convened an independent panel of external experts who were charged with finding facts, investigating causes, and making recommendations for preventing recurrence. Taking into account the panel's report and proposals, we formulated new recurrence prevention policies and imposed punishment for the misconduct in August 2018. I offer my deepest apologies to the study participants for the concerns and inconveniences caused by this incident. To the best of our knowledge, no injuries have been reported. Taking serious note of this wrongdoing, we will make every possible effort to ensure your trust of our organization. We remain committed to research on innovative medical products, world-class health care, and healthy longevity. We sincerely ask for your continued support.
Executive Director keiichi Abe
The National Institute of Health and Nutrition (NIHN), under the umbrella of the National Institutes of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition (NIBIOHN), was originally established in 1920 with a long history of contributing to the development of nutritional science in Japan. The National Health and Nutrition Survey Program has yielded long-term annual data on nutritional consumption among the Japanese population, providing a scientific basis for national programs related to health and nutrition. In addition, NIHN's database for health foods, "HFNet" is the sole authorized database with thorough scientific evaluation, which has over 6 million accesses per year, providing scientifically evaluated information to a wide range of professionals, such as medical doctors, pharmacists, nutritionists, or researchers in food industry. The statutory task related to approval and withdrawal of food or food supplements harboring health claims is another pillar of NIHN's function. Moreover, the institute is the only WHO Collaborating Center for Nutrition and Physical Activity in the East Asian region, leading researches of health and nutrition in Asian countries as a think tank.
In its mid- to long-term research strategy staring from 2015, NIHN has put its focus on the following three research targets: (1)positive interaction between physical exercise and nutrition or nutrient factors (ii) evaluation of the health impacts by dietary variation (iii) effectiveness and safety of health foods. NIHN's research programs are covering a wide range of health and nutrition research, from efficacy and safety study, analysis of food factors, to epidemiological study or intervention study. We have just put flail research as one of our directions of social implementation to achieve healthy longevity. And now we are accelerating to open the door for the collaboration not only with academic and government sectors, but also with industries to focus on practical application of research outcomes.
Our ultimate goal is to achieve healthy longevity, and it is highly appreciated to give us any suggestion and support.