Supporting Endoscopic Surgeon Training Program
in Emerging Countries


Rapid economic growth in Asian emerging countries has produced an unexpected byproduct-increasing lifestyle-related diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.
Together with international cooperation organizations and medical associations in Japan, Olympus supports training opportunities as a part of our corporate citizenship activities that make the best of our strengths.

Endoscopic surgery is less invasive compared to open surgery and is an advanced medical treatment that can shorten the recovery time. It is expected that the Quality of Life (QoL) of patients will be increased as the number of endoscopic surgeons increases.

Our intention is to contribute to improving healthcare standards in emerging countries by spreading Japan's advanced medical technologies and services, which is related to "SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages," which is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) suggested by the United Nations to transform the world towards a sustainable future.

This Featured Stories introduces Olympus Corporate Citizenship Activities and international support focusing on the medical training activities that we have conducted over two years in Thailand since fiscal 2015, and includes comments from the people involved in these activities.


Message from the CSR Division Manager :
Contributing to healthcare development in emerging countries by offering our expertise gained through medical business

Masahito Kitamura
Division Manager of CSR Division, Executive Officer,Olympus Corporation

Olympus has been running medical businesses for over 60 years, since we developed the world's first practical gastrocamera in 1950. Since its birth, our endoscope has been developed and improved based on advice from doctors and medical professionals. We believe that our expertise concerning medical needs and regional conditions across the world accumulated over a long period of time is deep and wide-ranging.

Our Corporate Citizenship Policy gives priority to three areas: "Contributing to the solution of global social issues, realizing our responsibility as a global company"; "Contributing to effective solutions to social problems through activities relevant to our business"; and "Conducting awareness-raising activities and providing education and training support to new generations of leaders by leveraging our technologies and know-how."
Our Endoscopic Surgeon Training Program in emerging countries is based on this policy and we believe this is a contribution unique to us that utilizes the know-how we have gained through our medical business.

The training is a result of collaboration between industry, government, and academia with help from individual physicians, medical associations, and international cooperation organizations, such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the National Center for Global Health and Medicine (NCGM). We believe that it is also unique to us to build such specialized partnerships.

We hope to help increase the number of endoscopic surgeons in emerging countries, so that they can provide operations in a less invasive and more accessible manner in the treatment of increasing diseases, such as cancer.
We also hope that our efforts will contribute to healthy and happy lives in these countries.

Message from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) :
We expect Olympus to be a drive for development of innovative solutions to address major health challenges in emerging countries

Takashi Baba
Director, Private Sector Partnership Division Private Sector Partnership and Finance Department, JICA
* Titles are as of the time when the interview was held.

Export of Japanese medical technology and system to emerging countries, such as, advanced treatment, disease prevention, less invasive treatment, staff training program, and public healthcare insurance, seems to be effective and crucial not only to improve medical service level in those countries but also to support the Growth Strategy under the Japanese government.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is a sole organization to provide Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) to developing countries. My department,Private Sector Partnership and Finance Department has strategic partnerships and collaborations with Japanese private sector to support dissemination of Japanese goods and services to developing countries to address unmet local needs. When forming a partnership, we value the following three points. First,the business should address local needs. Second, the business should align with Japan's Growth Strategy. Finally, the business should be sustainable. The endoscope project under which we are collaborating with Olympus, satisfied these three criteria in Thailand and Indonesia;
• Olympus products meet with needs of those nations which are facing increasing non-communicable diseases, such as cancer;
• Olympus products are competitive to provide the safest and most patient-friendly treatment;
• Olympus has a marketing and after-sales network in both countries that ensure high quality service to healthcare professionals.

JICA expects that collaboration program with Olympus will promote better understanding about good quality of such products as well as importance of proper usage of endoscope among local physicians, and then will contribute to improvement of patients' QOL as well as to more efficient medical economy through decrease of hospitalization period.

In addition, JICA expects that this program will increase corporate value because it includes professional education and training for local medical associations, which will contribute to improve local medical level. Such contribution will be recognized by a wide-range of stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, business partners, and customers. In accordance with recent trend where the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into corporate management is growing momentum, such recognition will lead better understanding and evaluation about Olympus, delivering better business. I hope that Olympus continues this program to bring about win-win relationship between the emerging countries and Olympus itself.

Project in Thailand

Endoscopic surgery can be a new treatment to tackle
the rise in cancer patients in Thailand

Training in endoscopic surgery

Thailand is now experiencing the rapid growth of its economy. It is also becoming an aging society where 10% of the total 67 million population are aged 65 or older, a figure expected to reach 14% by 2030. At the same time, the second cause of death in Thailand is cancer at 17%, and colorectal cancer is particularly increasing due to population aging and changes in diet as in other advanced countries.*1 Colorectal cancer treatment has a 95% or higher success rate if the disease is detected and treated at an early stage.*2 Endoscopic surgery is one of the most common modalities of treatment for early-stage colon cancer in advanced countries (see Illustration). Compared to conventional open surgery, endoscopic surgery is less invasive and thereby could improve the QoL for patients and help the medical economy by shortening the hospitalization period. However, endoscopic surgery is still not a major treatment in Thailand and other emerging countries.

Training in endoscopic surgery

In light of this medical background, Olympus has been providing the Endoscopic Surgeon Training Program for colorectal cancer since fiscal 2015, under the auspices of JICA. The program is provided in collaboration with Siriraj Hospital of Mahidol University and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, under the instruction of Japanese experts recommended by the Japan Society for Endoscopic Surgery. The two-year program has trained approximately 100 physicians, of which six were also specially trained to work as local instructors.

*1 Source: WHO 2012 and 2014

*2 Source: Cancer Statistics 2013; Foundation for the Promotion of Cancer Research

Training in endoscopic surgery

Collaboration among industry, government, and academia in Japan to endoscopic surgeon training program in emerging countries

Example of Endoscopic Surgery

Commissioner: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Collaborating hospitals: Oita University Faculty of Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine; Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol
Project period: June 2015 to May 2017 (2 years)

Collaboration among industry, government, and academia is indispensable for endoscopic surgeon training in emerging countries

Masafumi Inomata
Professor, Department of Gastroenterological and Pediatric Surgery, Oita University Facultyof Medicine

I have been working as the course director in the Japan-Thailand Collaboration Program (JTCP) for Advanced Endoscopic Surgery Training Course hosted by JICA for over two years, and have trained approximately 100 Thai physicians, of which six have themselves become local instructors. The keys to success in training endoscopic surgeons in emerging countries are having programs that are designed to suit both the physicians and the medical conditions in the target country, the quality of the trainers, and a support structure and environment to provide the programs. These have been realized by a collaboration among industry, government, and academia. We have gradually refined the program contents by tailoring them to the experience and skills of the trainees, which we gained through providing lectures and hands-on training sessions. The quality of trainers is maintained at a high level by assigning experts that have been board certified by the Japan Society for Endoscopic Surgery and those selected by the Thai medical association. It is often the case that high costs can be an obstacle when a physician studies a new medical technique. However, this issue was alleviated by a Japanese subsidy through JICA. Further, the locations and equipment necessary for the training were supported by Siriraj Hospital and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital in Thailand, and by Olympus. Hands-on training, in particular, requires both local staff members who have substantial knowledge about the conditions of medical operations in the target country and are capable of handling smooth communications with local physicians, and Japanese staff members who support the Japanese trainers and liaise with local staff members. Olympus took this role under the commission of JICA, and this was certainly a great help to us.

This is a large scale project that crosses a number of countries, and I enjoy my responsibilities and the challenges I face in my role. Physicians who have received our training will gain more experience in the future and this experience will enable them to train other physicians. There will then be more endoscopic surgeons in Thailand, and patients can have more opportunities to receive less invasive operations. I think this is truly a beneficial project for everyone.

Comments by Thai instructors and trainees

Pawit Sutharat

I studied laparoscopic and endoscopic surgery in Japan. I have also attended this JTCP Training Course as a trainee several times in the past. I learned a lot every time I participated in this program, from basic knowledge to advanced skills and techniques, and I am honored to be part of the program this time as an instructor for the first time. I am devoting myself to contributing to the dissemination of advanced endoscopic surgery and I hope that the procedures we learned will become a global standard in the future.

Pawit Sutharat, MD
Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Chiangmai University
Assistant Professor

Teeranut Boonpittanapong

I have attended this training courses five times. In the field of laparoscopic colorectal surgery, Japan is the top in the world. The program is very useful, starting from the very basic lectures on anatomy, instruments and so on, and then covering hands-on training. In these training courses, I received answers to questions I have in the field.

Teeranut Boonpittanapong, MD
Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University,
Department of Surgery Assistant Professor in Colorectal Surgery

Ekkarin Supatrakul

I found this training course very useful and fruitful. It starts from lectures on anatomy and techniques to training for laparoscopic surgery. This is my second time and I think my skills are progressing. Next time I want to provide a clinical case report so that I can discuss the techniques with the instructors and other trainees.

Ekkarin Supatrakul, MD
Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Chiangmai University

Olympus staff members who support endoscopic surgeon training program

I contribute to improving patients' QoL by liaising between Japan and Thailand

Takaharu Yamada
Head of GIR Business,
Asia Paci f ic Medical Sales Division,
Olympus Corporation of Asia Pacific Limited

After working in endoscope sales in Japan, I have managed medical sales in Olympus (Thailand) Co., Ltd. for seven years. Thai staff members are lively and keen, and proud of their medical work. When Japanese experts teach medical techniques correctly to Thai surgeons, it is critical to have an understanding of the languages and the differences in medical practices. Our Thai staff members liaise between the two parties to fill in any gaps in an appropriate manner. Thai surgeons now have complete trust in them.

Olympus has been working on spreading safe and secure endoscopic treatment over many years and I feel that our devoted approach has been inherited by our overseas staff members. It is our honor to be given this challenging role being deeply involved in disseminating endoscopic surgery through collaborative power of industry, government, and academia to contribute to medical improvements in emerging countries. It is also a role where Olympus can utilize its real strengths. Through its forte and working together with local staff members, we aim to continue to pursue our contribution to the improvement of medical services in emerging countries other than Thailand and to a better QoL for all patients.

I am proud of contributing to medical development in Thailand


Medical Affairs Manager
Olympus (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

Since joining Olympus (Thailand) Co., Ltd. in 2004, I have always been involved in the medical business. My current job is promoting correct usage of Olympus products through planning and operating training programs, workshops, and events targeted at medical professionals. Olympus products are developed utilizing the latest technologies through collaborations with medical professionals across the world. However, training in handling the products is indispensable for safe usage. It is very exciting to contribute to the technical improvement of young Thai physicians through providing such training programs. As there are insufficient numbers of endoscopic surgeons in Thailand, open surgery is still a common method of operation. Our training programs should increase the number of endoscopic surgeons and thereby improve Thai patients' QoL. It is not an easy job to meet all the demands of the Japanese experts, including preparing equipment for training, but I always do my sincere best to offer attentive support so that both instructors and trainees are satisfied with the outcome of the training.

I believe that our activities lead to improvements in medical standards in emerging countries

Daisuke Miyamoto
CSR Department Olympus Corporation

While I was studying economics at university, I visited several emerging countries in Asia and saw the economic disparities when compared with advanced countries with my own eyes.
I joined Olympus hoping to work on social and economic development in such emerging countries. After experiencing overseas sales and planning and administration for our medical business, I was appointed to a position to promote international contributions in Thailand and Indonesia in 2015. For this role, it is indispensable to have communication skills to be able to liaise between people in Japan and in the local areas, and the ability to make decisions as local situations require. It is often the case that things do not proceed quite as you expect in foreign countries, however, the enthusiasm of local staff members and the Japanese doctors always drives me forward. I am also inspired by the highly motivated local staff members from day to day-it is truly exciting to work in these lively emerging countries. I hope that our twoyear efforts will lead to raising quality of healthcare and patients' QoL in these countries, and I will continue to focus on my work thinking of the words of an economist I admire in my mind: "Cool heads but warm hearts."

Column Initiatives in different emerging countries

Endoscopic Surgeon Training Program


Indonesia, where the population of the country has reached 255 million,*1 the fourth highest in the world, is maintaining constant economic growth. At the same time, the country is experiencing rising demand for more advanced medical services. Cancer is the second highest cause of death (13%) among the Indonesian population, and among men, urological cancer (prostate, bladder, and kidney) is the second leading cause of death*2 with an incidence rate higher than that in neighboring countries.

In response to this medical situation in Indonesia, Olympus started the Japan–Indonesia Collaboration Program for Urological Laparoscopic Surgery Training Course, under the commission of JICA and in collaboration with the Japanese Society of Endourology and the Indonesian Urological Association. We hope that this initiative will be a trigger to spread endoscopic surgery, which can improve patients' QoL and shorten the hospitalization period, thereby contributing to improving the overall medical environment in the country.

Endoscopic Surgeon Training Program

*1 Source: Statistics Indonesia 2015

*2 Source: WHO 2012 and 2014

Commissioner: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Collaborating medical associations: Japanese Society of Endourology and Indonesian Urological Association
Collaborating hospital: Cipto Mangunkusumo National General Hospital (Jakarta)
Project period: November 2015 to October 2017 (2 years)

Endoscopic Surgeon Training Program


As lifestyles in Vietnam change along with its economic growth, the most common diseases are changing from infections caused by parasites and bacteria to non-infectious diseases, such as cancer and myocardial infarction. Cancer is the second highest cause of death in Vietnam (18%), and 14% of these are stomach cancers, which represent the third highest cause of cancer death.*3

Endoscopic Surgeon Training Program

To address this medical situation in Vietnam, Olympus conducted the Endoscopic Surgeon Training Program particularly for gastric cancers under a commission from the National Center for Global Health and Medicine (NCGM) and in collaboration with the Japan Society for Endoscopic Surgery and the Vietnam Association of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. We hope that this initiative will help spread endoscopic surgery, which can shorten the hospitalization period and reduce the quantity of medicine to be administered, and contribute to improving the medical environment in Vietnam.

*3 Source: WHO 2012 and 2014

Commissioner: National Center for Global Health and Medicine (NCGM)
Collaborating medical associations: Japan Society for Endoscopic Surgery and the Vietnam Association of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Collaborating hospital: Viet Duc University Hospital (Hanoi) and University Medical Center (Ho Chi Minh)
Project period: August to December 2016 (5 months)