Central Institute for Experimental Animals
I simply want to mention what I perceive to be the fundamental difference in microbiologic management in the United States, Europe, and Japan. In Japan, where laboratory animal science began in the 1950s, most if not all microbiologists are involved in research on infections and immunity. From the beginning, we have been concerned about microbiologic quality. In the United States and Europe, however, the focus is on health surveillance or health monitoring, which is very different. Microbiologic quality covers good health, but health monitoring does not cover microbiologic quality.
Recently, Japanese molecular geneticists have requested very sophisticated animals for the analysis of gene expression related to immunity or infection. They need animals with very high microbiologic quality, and we cannot compromise. For instance, we simply never use animals with an inapparent infection until the infection has been eliminated.
In Japan, we have only one ICLAS Monitoring Center (CIEA), which selects minimum requirements; and for 20 years, we have had no problems. Of course, we are prepared to encounter problems, and so we continue to exchange information and ideas frequently.
Japanese universities maintain good cooperation because the Ministry of Education supports all the university animal centers, and they all have in-house microbiologic laboratories. If a problem develops, they immediately send it to the center. I believe we are fortunate to have this simple system, which is different from US and European systems.
Finally, on behalf of the Japanese, I would like to thank the US hosts and all of the staff for organizing this excellent meeting. We, the Japanese, have learned much.