Hiroshi Taneichi, MD, PhD
Congress President
The 52nd Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Spinal Surgery and Related Research
Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Dokkyo Medical University

 The 52nd Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Spinal Surgery and Related Research (JSSR) will be held under the theme of “Grasp the essence of spine surgery and take steps forward!” from April 13 to 15, 2023 at the Sapporo Convention Center. The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery of Dokkyo Medical University is deeply honored and grateful to have the opportunity to organize this edition of a prestigious annual meeting that has been convened for more than half a century.
 Today, Japan’s population is aging at a very rapid pace. In order for this country to remain a vibrant, robust society in the years ahead, action must be urgently taken to extend the healthy life expectancy, or the average number of years that people can enjoy healthy, independent lives. The health of the body’s motor system—comprising the muscles, bones, and nerves—is fundamental to independent living and accordingly must be a key focus of the drive to increase the healthy life expectancy. In particular, the spine and the spinal cord are integral to ensuring the motor system’s functioning, and spine/spinal cord surgery plays a vital role in maintaining their functions and recovering them from damage.
 The theme of our meeting derives from the Japanese idiom kakuchi nisshin, which means striving to increase one’s knowledge by grasping the essence of things, and in doing so enhance one’s capabilities day by day. The healthy life expectancy cannot be extended without providing the public with highly effective medical care. To do this, we must endeavor to grasp the essence of pathological conditions and therapeutic principles, and use the insights gained to steadily take steps forward in the advancement of spine and spinal cord surgery.
 Guided by that theme, the 52nd Annual Meeting will feature symposiums and discussions covering basic research that zeroes in on the essence of pathologies, spine and spinal cord surgical practices grounded in the principles of therapy, new educational approaches for fostering high-quality surgeons, and innovation for realizing highly effective medical care. In addition, we will explore many related topics, including the physician workstyle reforms that the Japanese government will implement next year, patient safety practices for guaranteeing high-quality medical care, and medical research ethics and regulations. The program will also include activities that have become part of the meeting’s regular lineup, such as the Research initiate by JSSR2023 and the English Presentation Session, which is aimed at increasing the Annual Meeting’s international reach.
 The 52nd Annual Meeting will be convened in Sapporo, which is located on Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido. Although the COVID-19 pandemic poses some uncertainties for how the meeting will be run, we are preparing it as an on-site event to enable participants to gather under one roof and engage with one another face to face. Mid-April is early spring in Sapporo, a time when the cherry trees have yet to blossom but other flowers such as Asian skunk cabbages and giant butterburs adorn the landscape. My team and I are working together to prepare a meeting that we hope will be a productive and rewarding experience for all participants.