Mega-Congress Comes to Tokyo
The 22nd IUNS-ICN International Congress of Nutrition was successfully delivered at Tokyo International Forum from the 6th to the 11th of December 2022. The international Congress of Nutrition has been held every 4 years since 1946. This was the second time this distinguished congress was held in Japan and the first time in 47 years. It was originally planned for 2021, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was delayed by one year and 3 months before being held in an in-person format (part of the poster session was held online). Participation of the eagerly awaited Tokyo congress surpassed the 2017 event, with about 3,500 delegates from 112 countries attending the significant gathering. The theme of the Congress was "The Power of Nutrition: For the smiles of 10 billion people", and true to this theme, ICN drew smiles all around for a multitude of reasons.
A Wealth of Programs and a Lively Venue of a Long-Awaited Reunion
The opening ceremony made for a spectacular start, with the honor of an appearance from Her Imperial Highness Crown Princess Akishino and the attendance of the governor of Tokyo. After that, the world's top researchers delivered cutting-edge presentations in the field of nutrition, followed by productive discussions spanning six fruitful days, consisting of 124 symposia, 8 plenaries, a variety of special lectures, and more. There was also an exhibition brimming with excited participants. Adding to the richness of the program, activities such as a school lunch inspection at an elementary school lunch center (a uniquely Japanese system), an educational tour including a visit to Marunouchi TANITA Shokudo, a cafeteria famous for its healthy menu, and a fascinating Japanese "fermentation seminar" also contributed to high participant satisfaction with the Congress. All this was particularly heartening after the long wait to make the Congress a reality.
An Unwavering Commitment to Sustainability
To manage Covid-19 infection risk and reduce food loss, delegates were supplied with meal coupons as an alternative to gathering for lunch. This new and innovative system allows delegates to eat what they want around their own schedule, ensuring food is well-spent. To meet demand, coupons were valid at establishments in the Tokyo International Forum and many nearby eateries. This also served as a great chance for participants to explore the local area, discovering much of what Tokyo offers and enriching their stay. Further initiatives towards sustainability included no coffee provided during breaks, no physical program books, and no congress bags, all reducing the event's environmental footprint.
Organizers Who Eagerly Waited for an In-person Event
In the wake of the pandemic, the organizers postponed the 2021 event for more than a year because of their strong desire to hold an in-person event. As in-person interaction and networking are the heart of an international conference, the uncertainty of the event format was the biggest challenge in bringing ICN to realization. The return of visa-free travel to Japan on October 11, 2022 was instrumental in making the in-person format a reality and saved the organizing committee the considerable expense of supporting visas for overseas participants. Upon delivery, dynamic in-person presentations from around the world, vibrant networking, the exchange of ideas, and the educational benefits for nutrition students and conference staff demonstrated the uniquely valuable opportunities an in-person international conference can provide.
Support from TCVB Utilized in Attracting and Hosting the Event
The organizing committee said that the TCVB's assistance in the lobbying stage, with bid paper preparation, was hugely significant in bringing the event to Tokyo. They also noted that regarding the subsidy provided by TCVB, financial support for the hybrid event was of particular help, and the in-kind half-day sightseeing tours of Tokyo and the Japanese cultural programs were very well received by delegates.
Tokyo as a Premier Business Events Destination
As the first international conference of this scale held in Tokyo since the beginning of the pandemic, both organizers and participants really appreciated their time at the event. Tokyo was widely praised for its people's responsiveness and world-class safety, receiving comments like "Japan is a very well-organized country, people strive for high quality, cleanliness is outstanding, and the national and local governments are very strict about hygiene so that we could come to Tokyo with peace of mind." Other comments included, "Coming to Tokyo was easy. Communication with the organizing committee was smooth, there is good access and the choice of dining options and hotels is abundant."
The Congress venue's location meant participants were highly motivated to attend the after-convention events. They not only went to Marunouchi Nakadori Avenue and Ginza to see the Christmas lights at night but also enjoyed Japanese culture and food at many of Tokyo's top attractions. The proximity of Tokyo Station allowed participants to easily travel to other areas of Japan during their stay. These are just some of the many reasons that Tokyo is a destination delegates worldwide would like to visit for an international conference.
Business Events Tokyo will continue promoting international conferences in Tokyo, along with our city's countless attractions.