The first workshop on systematic reviews was conducted by JANCOC (Japanese informal Network for the Cochrane Collaboration) in conjunction with the Australasian Cochrane Centre in Tokyo on 3 December 1995. It was held to coincide with the ten year anniversary of TIP (The Informed Prescriber) , which is a Japanese member of ISDB (International Society of Drug Bulletins) and the Japanese counterpart of Australian Prescriber.
The workshop, guided by Dr Herxheimer, Chairman of ISDB and formar consultant of the UK Cochrane Centre, and Dr Caroline Crowther, Deputy Director of the Australasian Cochrane Centre was attended by 28 Japanese, including physicians, pharmasists, bio-statisticians, consumers and others. It was appreciated by most of the participants, although some expressed language problems. It was conducted in English, but was a good model for future plans to conduct similar workshops in Japanese. The Japanese consumer group that attended the workshop joined the Collaboration's Consumer Network after the workshop.
When the Japanese found that Japan was in the "territory" of the Australasian Cochrane Centre in 1994, a few of them felt that this was the other Australian invasion of Japan next to wool and iron ore.However most Japanese have a good image of Australia.
Not much collaboration has been developed in the medical field between Australia and Japan but this workshop was considered a good starting point for noy only the Cochrane Collaboration, but general collaboration, information exchange, and mutual understanding in the medical field between two countries across the equator. There are differences in health service systems in the two countries. For example, it was surprising for the Japanese to know that Australian Prescriber is supported by the government of Australia. TIP is sometimes regarded as an anti-establishment newsletter in Japan.
One piece of good news is that recently it was reported that a small grant for travel to Australia will be given to Japanese by the Australia-Japan Foundation which was endorsed by Professor Chris Silagy, Director of the Australasian Cochrane Centre. At least one Japanese will definitely participate in the 4th Cochran Colloquium in Adelaide in October 1996. We are now encouraging more Japanese to participate.