We will hold the 40th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Plant Biotechnology at Chiba University Nishi-Chiba Campus (Chiba City) from September 11th (Monday) to 13th (Wednesday), 2023. In the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, both domestic and international conferences have seen an increase in on-site events. However, infection prevention measures are essential, and both the organizers and participants were cautious. As of April 2023, the fourth year, it seems that the flow of people in the city has returned to the pre-pandemic state. At this conference, for the first time in four years, we will have a banquet where attendees can dine together in person, held at a hotel in Chiba City. We sincerely hope that all of you will participate in the conference and banquet on-site, renew old acquaintances, and foster new connections.

On the other hand, during the pandemic, online tools have become an integral part of our daily lives, enabling communication and information gathering without being bound by physical distance or time. To not let go of the unexpected benefits we have gained, we have decided to make this conference a hybrid event, allowing online participation as well. Hybrid events are recommended for future conferences as one of the initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in academic societies. In this conference, poster presentations are limited to on-site participation only, but determining the balance between the convenience for presenters and the audience, as well as the costs and efforts involved, remains a challenge for the future.

In organizing the program for this conference, securing the judging slots for our second trial of the Student Excellence Presentation Award was given the highest priority. We plan to consolidate student presentations in the initial time slots of each oral presentation session. Furthermore, to enhance the discussions, the time allocated for general oral presentations has been extended to 15 minutes per presentation. Due to these circumstances, the conference will span a full three days from the morning of the first day. On the preceding day, September 10th (Sunday) afternoon, we will also hold a hybrid public symposium titled "Plant Resources and Biotechnology in Daily Life" at the same Chiba University Nishi-Chiba Campus.

We hope all of you will also join us for this event. The organizing committee members are eagerly looking forward to the participation of many attendees."

Masami Hirai (RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science)
Chair of the Organizing Committee for the 40th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Plant Biotechnology (Chiba)