- Junji Ichikawa
- Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Tsukuba
Since December 1, 2017, over the past year, it has been a tremendous privilege to serve as Chairman of The Society of Fluorine Chemistry, Japan. My involvement in fluorine chemistry began when I was appointed as an assistant professor at Kyushu University. However, even before that, I had more opportunities to get familiarized with fluorine chemistry than other graduate students, since I studied synthetic organic chemistry and reaction development under the supervision of Professor Teruaki Mukaiyama. At that time, fluorine chemistry had not yet become my main area of interest; I just used fluoride ions for reactions such as the cleavage of silyl ethers and the activation of alcohols. During the first year of my doctor course, to determine the enantiomeric excess of the product alcohols, I had prepared MTPA esters from those alcohols day after day and subjected to 19F-NMR analysis countless times. Unfortunately, the results (the enantiomeric excess) turned out to be disappointing in most cases, and I did not realize at all that fluorine chemistry was indeed a part of my research back then.
I had the first opportunity to be fully involved in fluorine chemistry when I became an assistant professor in Professor Hiroshi Kobayashi’s group at Kyushu University. I developed methods for fluorination via sulfonium salts as well as difluoroalkene synthesis using boron reagents. This experience made me fascinated and enhanced my interest toward synthetic applications of the unique properties of fluorine substituents. Looking back, on December 1, 1985, I started my career in chemistry at Kyushu University. Coincidentally, I took on Chairman at The Society of Fluorine Chemistry, Japan, starting on the same date of 2017. This reminded me that I had spent more than half of my life with fluorine chemistry, and the time had come to return the favor and foster the community of fluorine chemistry as Chairman.
Five professors have served as Chairman of The Society of Fluorine Chemistry, Japan: Professors Takashi Ishihara, Tsuyoshi Nakajima, Toshio Fuchigami, Toshiyuki Itoh, and Takashi Yamazaki. Each served for two years, thus 10 years has passed since the foundation of the society. Over the past ten years, their untiring dedication to the community facilitated active interactions among peers and assisted in the fulfillment of the society’s events.
This year, we held our 41st annual meeting, the Fluorine Conference of Japan. We also host other annual events, including the Fluorine Chemistry Seminar to provide more information on cutting-edge fluorine chemistry and related technology to the community, the Fluorine Chemistry Young Researchers’ Conference to nurture the next generation of fluorine chemists and help them network with peers, and the Fluorine Chemistry Research Lectures to share knowledge of fluorine chemistry all over Japan. By promoting these events, we, the board members of the Society (chairman, 2 deputy chairmans, and 12 trustees), are determined to execute three missions of the Society so as to drive advances in fluorine chemistry: (i) enhance knowledge, education, and innovation of fluorine-related research and technology, (ii) facilitate interactions within the community, and (iii) nurture the future generations of fluorine chemists.
For example, to encourage young fluorine chemists, we are preparing to construct a new commendation system. Further, as the community grows, we would like to expand our mission to contribute to society outside of our community while continuously supporting peer fluorine chemists. To achieve this goal, we are setting up a new planning committee to ensure continuous improvement of our activities and launch new events for the benefits of society. The Society of Fluorine Chemistry, Japan has a history of over 45 years. Founded as the Fluorine Chemistry Conference in 1972, it was later called The Japanese Association of Fluorine Chemists before it became the current organizational structure. Currently, the society is widely recognized as the formal academic society. We hope that you look forward to seeing the advanced structure of the Society of Fluorine Chemistry, Japan.
We will continuously make our society better by adapting to the changing times and circumstances as well as incorporating the words and ideas of our members. Thus, we always seek your ideas and appreciate your perspective. We would like to ask your continued support and encouragement in the years to come.
December 17, 2018