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January 16, 2019

2019 Japan Prize Honors Japanese and American Scientists in Fields of Chemistry and Agriculture
Yoshio Okamoto established the groundbreaking concept of asymmetric polymerization; Rattan Lal pioneered no-tillage agriculture and methods to sequester carbon in the soil

TOKYO (January 16, 2019) – Central to its deep commitment to honor the most innovative and meaningful advances worldwide, The Japan Prize Foundation today announced the laureates of the 2019 Japan Prize, who have pushed the envelope in their respective fields of “Materials and Production” and “Biological Production, Ecology”. Two scientists are being recognized with the 2019 Japan Prize for original and outstanding achievements that not only contribute to the advancement of science and technology, but also promote peace and prosperity for all mankind.

Dr. Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. is being honored for his work in identifying technological options adapted to various ecosystems through his intensive basic and applied research on processes and factors of soil degradation caused by inappropriate biological production, as well as in evaluating recommended agricultural practices which reduce risks of soil degradation and of anthropogenic climate change while improving the environmental quality and addressing the critical issues of feeding the earth's population, which is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050.

Dr. Yoshio Okamoto, Professor Emeritus at Nagoya University in Nagoya, Japan has contributed enormously to the development of basic science and industry by establishing the groundbreaking concept of asymmetric polymerization for the creation of a helical polymer and developed the results into a practical separation method for optically active drugs.

To honor Drs. Lal and Okamoto, the Japan Prize Foundation will host an award ceremony on April 8, 2019 in Tokyo. Each laureate will receive a certificate of recognition and a commemorative gold medal. A cash award of 50 million Japanese yen (approximately $450,000 USD) will also be given to each prize field. The Japan Prize is highly competitive: the nomination process ends in February, and, every year from March to November, the Foundation considers the nominations of 15,000 prominent scientists and researchers from around the world.

Currently, the Foundation is in the initial stage of the nomination process for the 2020 Japan Prize, and is asking its selected nominators across the globe to nominate candidates whose achievements they believe to be deserving of the prestigious international prize in the fields of “Electronics, Information and Communication” and “Life Science”. The submission deadline is February 28, 2019.

About the Japan Prize Foundation

The Japan Prize is awarded to scientists and researchers, regardless of nationality, who have made significant contributions to the progress of science and technology, as well as society, to further the peace and prosperity of mankind. While the prize encompasses all fields of science, two fields are designated for the Japan Prize each year. Since its inception in 1985, the Japan Prize Foundation has awarded the Japan Prize to 96 laureates from 13 countries. For additional details about the Japan Prize Foundation and its activities, please visit

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